Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 19

The wind, the earthquake, and the fire

1 Kings 19:11

On the mountain called Horeb, Moses saw God’s glory (his splendid beauty) as God passed by him (Exodus 33:18 to 34:7). There, God told Elijah also that he (God) would pass by Elijah.

However, first Elijah would see some truly great and powerful events. God wanted Elijah to distinguish these impressive events from the way in which he (God) would pass by Elijah.

The first of these events was the most powerful wind that Elijah had ever seen. It broke great rocks from the mountain. Those rocks fell a great distance down the mountain, where they broke apart into many pieces. It was truly frightening to watch.

At the end of the storm, Elijah knew in his spirit that God had not yet passed by. God was teaching Elijah that his work did not depend on these impressive events. Sometimes God uses them for his own purposes – but often, God works without them.

So, Elijah continued to wait for God to pass by. After the wind, there was an earthquake – the frightening event when the ground shakes. After that, Elijah saw a fire. It is a strange kind of fire that can burn in a desert – there is so little to burn there. However, Moses saw a fire on Horeb in Exodus 3:1-4, and it astonished him – in fact, God spoke to him from it.

However, God did not speak from the fire that Elijah saw. These impressive and strange events – the wind, the earthquake and the fire – had happened, and Elijah still waited for God to pass by.

Next part: God's voice: a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12-13)


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