A Thin Silence – Scripture Dissection


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A Thin Silence - Scripture Dissection

Have you ever been surprised by a small thing that turned out to be a pretty big thing? I had that experience in my quiet time recently. Several “game-changer” ideas landed significantly as I read and pondered. Naturally, I’m eager to share these with you. Perhaps they will encourage you, too. Will you join me to explore this content about “a thin silence?”

How Do I Share This?

As I began to process what I’d read in Scripture, the first sentence I wrote in my journal was – “how do I write about this?” I remember thinking – “Why didn’t I see this before all the decades I’ve been in Scripture?”

Much of the time in life, we wish for a “thick” layer of good things, blessings, positive developments. Unfortunately, every adult figures out life doesn’t always cooperate in this manner. So we are left feeling quite “thin.” Incidentally, we also hope for a nice “thick” padding of protection – a margin or buffer zone against the unfairness of life. Instead, we live behind a “thin” layer of defense and hope for the best.

What I discovered in my reading was striking. I want to talk about a thin silence – that place where we seem to live.

First, some backstory.

Backstory Preceding Today’s Scripture

  • In the portion right before 1 Kings 19:9-18, an incredible contest proves God’s claims. After that contest, Elijah finds himself depleted, worn out, discouraged, and tired.
  • Plus, Jezebel wants to kill him – just like her husband, King Ahab, had tried for three years before God ended the famine.
  • Incidentally, Elijah runs for his life when he hears Jezebel is now after him, too!
  • When he’s a safe distance away, Elijah lays down – exhausted – under a broom bush and wishes to die. (v. 4)
  • God steps in personally to care for His servant and friend. God knows Elijah needs rest, food, water, and deep renewal.
  • An angel literally taps Elijah on the shoulder to wake him from his sleep God provides. The angel rouses him to eat a prepared meal. This happens twice.
  • Then Elijah travels 40 days and nights on that sleep and food (maybe rest and food from Heaven?) “until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.” (v. 8)


Now For Today’s Passage –1 Kings 19:9-18

  • Elijah spends the night in a cave.
  • And guess who visits him! Listen to this – “The Word of the Lord came to him.” (v. 9) We’ll explore this fascinating point in “What Does It Say?”
  • The Word asks him – “Why (do you think) you are here?” (v. 9c)
  • Elijah responds – “After all [I’ve been through], I’m the only one left, and they’re coming after me to kill me!” (v. 10)


Thankfully, There’s More 

  • Subsequently, as his losses and exhaustion are exposed like a nerve, God perches Elijah on His mountain to watch a dynamic demonstration:
    1. First, a wind so strong it shatters rocks. God is not in this.
    2. Next, an earthquake truly convincing. God is not in this.
    3. Then, a fire rages. God is not in this.
  • Finally the climax – a real-time demonstration of – a thin silence! (That’s what the Scripture passage footnote says. Some translations say a “gentle whisper.”) And guess what! God is in this.
  • Instinctively, Elijah’s response is to cover his face.
  • God tell Elijah to go back and anoint two different kings over separate territories, and to anoint his successor – Elisha.
  • God also tells Elijah about a remnant of people He’s preserving – those “whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (v. 18)


Now Let’s Dissect – A Thin Silence

As we mentioned in Tear Into It – our introduction article to Scripture dissection, we will always engage four focuses. Again, I encourage you to go back to that material to see how we plan to tear into Scripture and bring out practical lessons for every day.

  1. What Does It Say?
  2. What Does It Mean?
  3. Make It Personal.
  4. Make A Commitment.


1. What Does It Say?

Elijah is afraid, fatigued, and discouraged. This famous contest winner – 450 (Baal prophets) against 1 (him) on Mt. Carmel – is running for his life with Jezebel after his head! It was bad enough when Ahab hunted him for three years. (Check out God’s Timing and God’s Humor Scripture Dissections.)

Unexpectedly, a unique visitor comes while Elijah’s holed-up in a cave. The Word visits him. As we’ve discussed often, The Word is the name of the Son of God before He becomes human and is named Jesus. So – Jesus visits Elijah on Mt. Horeb.

Jesus starts a process to help and heal tired, discouraged Elijah. The first question of His counseling session: “Why (do you think) you are here?”

Elijah considers his strong commitment to God, remembers all the evil he’s confronted, and then hits the root. His answer – “After all this, I’m the only one left, and they’re coming after me to kill me!”

Then – after an incredible, front-seat demonstration of earth, wind, and fire – Elijah finds God’s presence, stunningly, in a “thin silence” – a gentle whisper.

And finally, God wants Elijah to anoint his replacement. He also inspires hope for Elijah because He’s selected a remnant of faithful people who will keep serving Him – people “whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (v. 18)

This is most assuring to a prophet whose main responsibility is to proclaim God’s purposes to His people.

God assures Elijah he’s not a failure. His labors have been worth it.

2. What Does It Mean?

How would you describe a thin silence. In this situation, the “gentle whisper” is significant. Compared to everything else (the contest, the evils of Baal, running for his life, fear/fatigue/discouragement, shattering wind, earthquake, and fire), God’s whisper is as piercing as a scream. His whisper is a message of strong love, unstoppable powerful, deep assurance, peace, calm.

The Word, Jesus, cares deeply about you. And He offers personal, renewing care when you need it. Additionally, He threads His power into your life in practical ways as you put your trust in Him.

Plus, God always preserves a remnant of faithful people for Himself.

Everything God demonstrates to Elijah, He intends as an offer to you. 

3. Make It Personal

So, God sees you as His servant and friend. He knows when you need a thin silence, a gentle whisper, in such a noisy world.

  • In your thundering losses, you need a loud, thin silence of God’s loving presence.
  • When the world’s winds shatter your heart, you need God’s gentle whisper.
  • As daily challenges create an earthquake against your foundation, your only hope is God’s unending love.
  • When fiery trials rage and threaten to undo youwait for it – God’s thin silence is the most comforting, safe, renewing, and joyful place to be.


God’s simple thin silence is all around you. Essentially, it’s your comfort when you feel “thin” in life – your safety when you only have a “thin” layer of defense. Thankfully, you can train yourself to enter His calm and quiet presence even in the middle of your difficulties.

The invitation of God is famously – “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (Jas. 4:8) It’s His invitation into a thin silence. And incidentally, it’s the offer to let you see more of His inner heart.

God’s gentle revelations help and heal. The Son of God shows up in a thin silence – a gentle whisper to pull you closer.

With this incredible offer, why would you not respond with a definite “yes?” His thin silence is more powerful than a ripping wind, a shattering earthquake, a destroying fire. The Word wants to help and heal you from the inside out.

4. Make A Commitment – Application Thoughts & Questions

The right response to God’s thin silence is to humble yourself and accept His love! His gentle whisper is right near you!

  1. Will you accept God’s personal, amazing care and renewal?
  2. Further, will you accept His invitation to come near? To heal. Ex. 15:26c says, “I am The Lord who heals you.”
  3. When God asks – “What are you doing here?” – tell Him you –
    • Are rising up from your weakness into His strength.
    • Accept His deep, intimate, thin silence of mercy and love. Though circumstances may not change, you can change! 
  4. As God raises a remnant of faithful followers – “. . . all the knees that have not bowed to other gods, and every mouth that has not kissed lies and deception.” – will you choose to be part of that remnant?
  5. Why not accept Jesus’ thin silence and let it penetrate into your needy soul? Let Him fill you with His thick love in all your sufferings.
  6. Have you opened your heart to the help and healing of The Word (who is Jesus)?



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