“and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.”
I once heard someone translate the final phrase of this popular passage as “sheer silence.” Another intepretation of this passage uses “soft whisper” and others “a gentle breeze.” I couldn’t find an official version that uses sheer silence but the phrase raises an interesting perspective. We marvel that God did not appear in the fire, wind or earthquake mentioned in the verses previous to verse 12. He doesn’t always make a dramatic entrance. Have we ever stopped to actually consider the sound of sheer silence, though? Real silence, not a soft whisper. Have we really ever heard sheer silence? No chirping birds. No crickets. No sound, period. Maybe we should.
I have to sleep to the sound of a fan, or my iPhone playing white noise. For me the sound of silence is louder than the sound of actual noises. According to 1 Kings 19:12, silence is where God is! Maybe that’s why we don’t experience God like Elijah did. We try and fit God in amongst all of our clutter. It’s alright to talk to him with the world at our door. However, we should honor him from time to time by devoting our full being to him… in silence. Maybe we’d hear him better then!