“So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.” (Exo 33:22)
After facing the crisis of God’s wrath for worshipping the golden calf, Moses asked the Lord to show him His presence to know whether He was still with the Israelites in the wilderness. God graciously granted Moses’ request and assured him, “I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand.” It shows God’s tender love and intimate relationship with Moses.
Elijah fled to Mt. Horeb when his life was threatened by the evil queen, Jezebel. He hid in a cave. At this moment of crisis for Elijah, God was about to pass by. God brought His presence before Elijah, but first, to show where He was not. The LORD was not in the wind; He was not in the earthquake; He was not in the fire. God whispered to Elijah with a still small voice.
On this same mountain, Mt. Horeb, God showed His presence to both Moses and Elijah when they were in great distress. Though we don’t know whether the cave that Elijah hid in was the specific ‘cleft of the rock’ where God appeared to Moses. It must have been a great comfort to Moses to hear the Lord guarantee: My presence will go with you and I will give you rest. With a still small voice, God reinstated Elijah with a fresh direction and fresh instructions. God revived Elijah and gave him work to do. It is at our lowest, that God can be nearest.
“You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah” (Ps 32:7)
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee” (lyrics of Hymn “Rock of Ages”). Serving the Lord may not be always smooth. We may encounter difficulties and challenges. We may become weary and discouraged in our souls. It is futile, perhaps even harmful, to try to vent our frustrations or to endlessly justify ourselves to others. Heb 12:15 reads, “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” When Elijah hid in a cave on Mt. Horeb, God asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” God knew the answer to this question, but He allowed Elijah to speak freely and vent his frustrations. God is a hiding place in that He protects us from trouble. We do well if we seek God’s presence through prayers in the Holy Spirit and listening again to the still small voice of God. Don’t worship and serve God, the longer the farther from God, but the longer the sweeter.