“Yahweh said. ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before Yahweh. Yahweh is about to pass by.’ There was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks into pieces before Yahweh. Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but Yahweh was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but Yahweh was not in the fire. After the fire there was a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle. He went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said. ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered. ‘I have been very zealous for Yahweh, the God of hosts. The Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left. They are seeking my life, to take it away.’”
Much like Exodus, chapter 33, the appearance of God to Moses in all his glory was very dramatic, so too is experience of Elijah. Here Yahweh will pass by as in Exodus. Moses could not see the face of Yahweh. Here Yahweh is like a wind, an earthquake, a fire, and silence. However, Yahweh is not in the wind, earthquake, or fire. Like Moses, he had to cover his face. Then Yahweh and Elijah somehow repeat exactly the same phrases that began this conversation. There is that wonderful phrase, “the sounds of silence” that was a popular song in the 1960s.