“Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD was passing by! … the LORD was not in the wind. .. the LORD was not in the earthquake. … the LORD was not in the fire. (1 Kings 19:11,12)
“God displayed before the prophet’s eyes a succession of breath-taking and spectacular exhibitions of divine power: a mighty wind, an earthquake and then a fire. Impressive as each dramatic display was, it had in it a deficiency to which the Lord himself repeatedly draws attention. Three times over we are told that ‘the LORD was not in’ these things.
The lesson to be learnt from this remarkable passage of Scripture is clear. … What, after all, is the highest expression of God’s greatness and glory? It is not his outward displays of vast energy in the material world, wonderful as these are, but his inward acts of grace, performed silently in the hearts and lives of men.
It will repay our time and effort to reflect a little on what the grace of God is. … The grace of God is his infinite power used gently and for eternal good. There is something overwhelming about an infinite, all-powerful Being acting with infinite gentleness. Elijah felt it to be so. ‘He wrapped his face in his mantle’ [1 Kings 19:13]. This he did, not when he heard the rending and convulsion of rocks, but when he heard the ‘still small voice’ of God. …
Perhaps it is one of the besetting sins of fallen human nature that we all put too much store by the dramatic, the sensational and the impressive. … The feeling which comes naturally to us is that God cannot be doing anything important if it is not done according to the noisy standards which we set for him. It is all too easy for us to equate ‘life’ with excitement and bustling activity. … On the contrary, the most important acts of God’s power are those which, all unnoticed by man, touch the secret springs of his soul and heart. Regeneration, sanctification, repentance, growth in grace—all are the product of divine omnipotence acting with marvelous gentleness and love upon a man’s inner being. … But the most vital and central aspect is not that which results in much noise but in much delight in God for his own sake.” (Roberts, Maurice. The Thought of God, 19-20.)