1 Kings 19:12
And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
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19:9-13 The question God put, What doest thou here, Elijah? is a reproof. It concerns us often to ask whether we are in our place, and in the way of our duty. Am I where I should be? whither God calls me, where my business lies, and where I may be useful? He complained of the people, and their obstinacy in sin; I only am left. Despair of success hinders many a good enterprise. Did Elijah come hither to meet with God? he shall find that God will meet him. The wind, and earthquake, and fire, did not make him cover his face, but the still voice did. Gracious souls are more affected by the tender mercies of the Lord, than by his terrors. The mild voice of Him who speaks from the cross, or the mercy-seat, is accompanied with peculiar power in taking possession of the heart.A still small voice - literally, "a sound of soft stillness." The teaching is a condemnation of that "zeal" which Elijah had gloried in, a zeal exhibiting itself in fierce and terrible vengeances, and an exaltation and recommendation of that mild and gentle temper, which "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." But it was so contrary to the whole character of the stern, harsh, unsparing Tishbite, that it could have found no ready entrance into his heart. It may have for a while moderated his excessive zeal, and inclined him to gentler courses; but later in his life the old harshness recurred in a deed in reference to which our Lord himself drew the well-known contrast between the spirits of the two Dispensations Luke 9:51-56.
And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire,.... As he was when he descended on this mount, and spake to Moses, Exodus 19:1, the Targum, and so Jarchi, interpret all these appearances of angels, and not amiss; the wind, of an host of angels of wind; the earthquake, of an host of angels of commotion; the fire, of an host of angels of fire; see Psalm 104:4, these ministers of the Lord went before him, to prepare the way of his glorious Majesty; which emblems may represent the power of God, the terribleness of his majesty, and the fury of his wrath, which he could display, if he would, to the destruction of his enemies; and could as easily destroy the idolatrous kingdom of Israel, which Elijah seems to be solicitous of, as the wind rent the mountains, and broke the rocks, and the earthquake shook the earth, and the fire consumed all in its way; but he chose not to do it now, but to use lenity, and show mercy, signified by the next emblem:

and after the fire a still small voice: not rough, but gentle, more like whispering than roaring; something soft, easy, and musical; the Targum is, the voice of those that praise God in silence; and all this may be considered as showing the difference between the two dispensations of law and Gospel; the law is a voice of terrible words, and was given amidst a tempest of wind, thunder, and lightning, attended with an earthquake, Hebrews 12:18, but the Gospel is a gentle voice of love, grace, and mercy, of peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation by Christ; and may also point at the order and manner of the Lord's dealings with the souls of men, who usually by the law breaks the rocky hearts of men in pieces, shakes their consciences, and fills their minds with a sense of fiery wrath and indignation they deserve, and then speaks comfortably to them, speaks peace and pardon through the ministration of the Gospel by his Spirit; blessed are the people that hear this still, small, gentle voice, the joyful sound, Psalm 89:15.

And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.In this disturbed state of mind he lay down and slept under a broom-tree. Then the Lord came with His power to the help of the despairing man. "An angel touched him (wakened him out of his sleep), and said to him: Arise, eat." And behold he saw at his head עגּת רצפים, a bread cake baked over red-hot stones, a savoury article of food which is still a great favourite with the Bedouins (see at Genesis 18:6; Genesis 19:3), and a pitcher of water, and ate and drank, and lay down again.
1Ki 19:4-18. He Is Comforted by an Angel.

4-18. went a day's journey into the wilderness—on the way from Beer-sheba to Horeb—a wide expanse of sand hills, covered with the retem (not juniper, but broom shrubs), whose tall and spreading branches, with their white leaves, afford a very cheering and refreshing shade. His gracious God did not lose sight of His fugitive servant, but watched over him, and, miraculously ministering to his wants, enabled him, in a better but not wholly right frame of mind, by virtue of that supernatural supply, to complete his contemplated journey. In the solitude of Sinai, God appeared to instruct him. "What doest thou here, Elijah?" was a searching question addressed to one who had been called to so arduous and urgent a mission as his. By an awful exhibition of divine power, he was made aware of the divine speaker who addressed him; his attention was arrested, his petulance was silenced, his heart was touched, and he was bid without delay return to the land of Israel, and prosecute the Lord's work there. To convince him that an idolatrous nation will not be unpunished, He commissions him to anoint three persons who were destined in Providence to avenge God's controversy with the people of Israel. Anointing is used synonymously with appointment (Jud 9:8), and is applied to all named, although Jehu alone had the consecrated oil poured over his head. They were all three destined to be eminent instruments in achieving the destruction of idolaters, though in different ways. But of the three commissions, Elijah personally executed only one; namely, the call of Elisha to be his assistant and successor [1Ki 19:19], and by him the other two were accomplished (2Ki 8:7-13; 9:1-10). Having thus satisfied the fiery zeal of the erring but sincere and pious prophet, the Lord proceeded to correct the erroneous impression under which Elijah had been laboring, of his being the sole adherent of the true religion in the land; for God, who seeth in secret, and knew all that were His, knew that there were seven thousand persons who had not done homage (literally, "kissed the hand") to Baal.

Stand upon the mount before the Lord - God was now treating Elijah nearly in the same way that he treated Moses; and it is not unlikely that Elijah was now standing on the same place where Moses stood, when God revealed himself to him in the giving of the law. See Exodus 19:9, Exodus 19:16.

The Lord passed by - It appears that the passing by of the Lord occasioned the strong wind, the earthquake, and the fire; but in none of these was God to make a discovery of himself unto the prophet; yet these, in some sort, prepared his way, and prepared Elijah to hear the still small voice. The apparatus, indicating the presence of the Divine Majesty, is nearly the same as that employed to minister the law to Moses; and many have supposed that God intended these things to be understood thus: that God intended to display himself to mankind not in judgment, but in mercy; and that as the wind, the earthquake, and the fire, were only the forerunners of the still small voice, which proclaimed the benignity of the Father of spirits; so the law, and all its terrors, were only intended to introduce that mild spirit of the Gospel of Jesus, proclaiming glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will unto men. Others think that all this was merely natural; and that a real earthquake, and its accompaniments, are described.

1. Previously to earthquakes the atmosphere becomes greatly disturbed, mighty winds and tempests taking place.

2. This is followed by the actual agitation of the earth.

3. In this agitation fire frequently escapes, or a burning lava is poured out, often accompanied with thunder and lightning.

4. After these the air becomes serene, the thunder ceases to roll, the forked lightnings no longer play, and nothing remains but a gentle breeze.

However correct all this may be, it seems most probably evident that what took place at this time was out of the ordinary course of nature; and although the things, as mentioned here, may often be the accompaniments of an earthquake that has nothing supernatural in it; yet here, though every thing is produced in its natural order, yet the exciting cause of the whole is supernatural. Thus the Chaldee understands the whole passage: "And behold the Lord was revealed; and before him was a host of the angels of the wind, tearing the mountains, and breaking the rocks before the Lord, but the Majesty (Shechinah) of the Lord was not in the host of the angels of the wind. And after the host of the angels of the wind, there was a host of the angels of commotion; but the Majesty of the Lord was not in the host of the angels of commotion. And after the host of the angels of commotion, a fire; but the Majesty of the Lord was not in the host of the angels of fire. And after the host of the angels of fire, a voice singing in silence," etc.; that is, a sound with which no other sound was mingled. Perhaps the whole of this is intended to give an emblematical representation of the various displays of Divine providence and grace.

19:12 A still voice - To intimate, that God would do his work in and for Israel in his own time, not by might or power, but by his own spirit, Zech 4:6, which moves with a powerful, but yet with a sweet and gentle gale.
1 Kings 19:11
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