Mount Sinai is a place of signs and wonders. Burning bushes,
dark clouds, thunder, wind, and fire. We will see many times in Scripture where
God speaks in the imposing voice of Nature’s power.
Israel would be led through the wilderness with a pillar of
cloud by day and pillar of fire at night.
Elijah would be the fiery prophet witnessing the destruction
of Baal’s prophets on Mount Carmel. He would leave the world at the end of his
days in a chariot of fire—a tornado of fire that would take him away.
The death of Christ at Calvary would include an eclipse
darkening the sun and an earthquake tearing the Temple veil.
The Upper Room would have the sound of a hurricane and the
appearance of fire overhead.
But you can see the signs and wonders and still grow
disillusioned. You can witness many miracles and become disheartened. You can
be part of something huge and struggle with feelings of exhaustion and
On Mount Sinai, we find another story that schools us in the
ways of the Lord.
Following the Mount Carmel sequence where God sent fire from
Heaven to consume the sacrifice and the priests of Baal were executed, Elijah
comes down from that experience and enters into a state of depression and
exhaustion. God takes care of Elijah and eventually sends him on a journey to
Elijah knew about that place. He knew the history and how
God had appeared to Moses and the people.
Elijah was in a broken state of exhaustion when he arrived. As
Elijah rested and brought his frustrations to God in the cave, there would be
three manifestations of Nature power that would take place. God told him to
stand on the mountain and that God would reveal himself.
First, there was a hurricane, but God was not in the mighty
wind. Then there was an earthquake, but it was not God. This was followed by a
great fire, but God was not in the fire.
Finally, there was a gentle whisper of wind and Elijah hid
his face because God was in the whisper.
Mount Sinai teaches us that God can show up in powerful
displays but also in the quiet voice. God speaks to the exhausted Elijah with a
question. What are you doing here Elijah? From here there would be a
recommissioning and preparation for what would come next.
If we find ourselves in a state of exhaustion and
frustration, God has not abandoned us. But He might approach us in a different
way than what we have been accustomed to.
The Lord was showing that he is not only present in the
magnificent manifestations of Sinai, where no one can mistake his appearing,
but he is just as present in the smallest things of life and often accomplishes
his purposes through ordinary, unobtrusive means.
Anger at God’s people caused Moses to break the Law that God
had graciously supplied. But God’s mercy calls Moses to come back and receive
it again for the people.
Elijah’s anger and zeal would lead him to a breakdown where
he is disillusioned with the state of the nation. But fire and power were not
God’s modus operandi for this encounter. Elijah needed God’s tender approach to
be able to discern the path ahead.
Let’s not let our past experiences determine how God will
move in us today.
God does show up in special places but never assume to hear
the same-old-same-old. God is consistent in His character but creative in his
expression. The signs and the wonders that follow those that believe are always
appropriate in bringing us to see the Kingdom of God unfolding.
 NIV Grace And Truth Study Bible ©2021 by Zondervan.
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