God Is Near

Yesterday, I wrote something very cliche. I gave you a standard interpretation of a passage of Scripture. But, as I looked back over the passage in my head, I realized that I may have been missing one of the most important details in the passage. I actually think that I was missing the point entirely. And I think that many others are missing the point as well. Let’s refresh our minds as to what passage of Scripture I am referring to.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:11-12 TNIV)

So many devotionals and pastors focus on that last idea: that God’s words were heard only after all the noise faded and all that was left was a gentle whisper. Now, this idea is a very true idea. All too often we are so busy making noise that we can’t hear God speak because He is waiting for us to just be quiet. He isn’t in the winds or the earthquakes or the fires of life, but, rather, He is in the gentle whispers. The quiet moments. The calm after the storm.

As true as this is, it is not the point of this passage.

There is one little detail that makes this clear, and it is found at the beginning of verse 11, when the writer states,

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.

Notice: The Lord is not in the wind. Why? Because the Lord is already present. He is standing with Elijah on the mountain. God is not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire because He is standing right there.

This is the point. God isn’t in anything. He just is; hence His name: I AM. He exists. He is. This little story is reminiscent of an event in the Moses narrative when Moses demands of God, “Show me Your glory!” In all this time, Moses has been talking to God and then he demands to see Him. Yet all Moses sees is the place where He was. He doesn’t actually see God.

The same thing happens to Elijah. The Lord is standing right there and yet he starts looking for God in the wind and the earthquake and the fire and then he catches on as he feels the breeze left as God has “changed position.” But God wasn’t somewhere else and then He came by and then He went away. No. God was right there the whole time.

And this is the reality for us today as well.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ (Act 17:24-28 ESV)

In the Creator God we “live and move and have our being.” God is “actually not far from each one of us.” He is with us. We don’t really have to seek God, we just need to acknowledge that He is there.

Stop looking for God in the winds and the earthquakes and the fires and the gentle whispers and on the mountains and just acknowledge His presence in all things. He is right here…if we only have eyes to see.

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