Adapted from Hebrew scripture (I Kings 19:11-12).
Read or tell the story.
There are many stories from Hebrew scripture and Jewish tradition about a prophet, Elijah. Elijah believed there was one, single god when many others believed that there were a number of different gods, one stronger or more powerful than another. One of the popular gods of the time was called Baal. Elijah challenged the followers of Baal to a contest to prove whether his god or their god had more power. Elijah won. When the queen, Jezebel, found out, she was very angry at Elijah. He fled into the wilderness to escape.
After a day's journey, Elijah rested under a juniper tree. He felt afraid, and tired, and very much alone. As he dozed, an angel came to him and said "Wake up, and have something to eat and drink." When Elijah opened his eyes, there was cake and water for him. He ate and drank, and then dozed off again.
After a while, the angel returned and woke Elijah again to eat and drink, saying Elijah would need his strength because he still had a long distance to travel. Elijah continued on, to a mountain called Horeb, where his god was said to be. He found a cave in the mountainside and went inside.
While Elijah sat in the cave, he heard a voice ask him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He believed the question came from his god, so he answered, "I am not sure what I am doing here, except that I'm very scared and frustrated. I defended you and won a contest that proved you were the one, true god, stronger than the god Baal. Even so, there are still many people who do not believe in your power, and many who refuse to keep their covenant with you. And Jezebel the queen is after me. She's angry that I won the contest. Now I'm afraid for my life, and I do not know what to do."
The voice spoke to Elijah again. Because he believed the voice belonged to his god, Elijah did what it asked him to do. He came out of the cave, and stood at the mouth of the cave, atop Mount Horeb, hoping he might feel his god's presence and understand what to do next.
Suddenly, while Elijah stood there, a great, strong wind whipped around the mountains, breaking off pieces of rock all around which went crashing down. But Elijah did not hear the voice of his god in the wind.
Then an earthquake shook the mountain up and down, with a terrific rumbling, but Elijah again did not hear the voice of his god.
Then came a fire, sweeping across the rocks and brush outside the cave. But Elijah knew his god was not in that fire, either.
After the fire, it was quiet. And then, in the calm, Elijah heard the still, small voice.
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Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.
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