Elijah lived in a time of great wickedness. The king had married Jezebel, who followed the priests of Baal. The king and queen lead the people to idolatry. The desecrated the temples, and took town the alters in the mountains where people worshiped Jehovah, and turned these places into sites to worship Baal.
Elijah had finally had enough. He told the king to gather the people together. He proposed a test to determine who is God. He invited 840 priests of Baal to call down fire from heaven to burn their sacrifice. They struggled with this all day. However, no matter how hard they tried, they could not call down fire. Elijah mocked them, maybe your god is busy elsewhere?
Elijah made himself an alter of twelve stones representing the tribes of Israel . He built a fire pyre using the left over wood. He built a trench around he alter. He then covered his alter with water, not once but three times. So much water that the trench was filled.
King 18: 36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
After this display, the people took the priests of Ball and slew them. When Jezebel heard what happened she was angry, and vowed to take vengeance on Elijah in the form of his life. Elijah fled to a cave. He became very discouraged. Elijah approached the Lord in fasting and prayer. While he was there an angel of the Lord visited him and he heard the voice of the Lord.
Kings 19: 9 ¶And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
It is interesting the Lord's voice is not the big and powerful voice, but the still small voice. Boyd K. Packer described it this way:
Henry B. Eyring in this manner:
Henry B. Eyring in this manner:
The Lord told Elijah to get busy. He gave him several assignments to carry out. The Lord can guide and direct us when we are down, and he will sometimes remind us of our duty and tell us to move on.