Rib Mountain, Elijah, and the Stillness of the Voice of God
In my life, I try to visualize how the prophet Elijah might have met with God on Mount Horeb.
Here in Central Wisconsin, my Mount Horeb is Rib Mountain. I am awed when I hike its trails to realize how much solitude is available in this park on this mountain in Wisconsin.
It may not be a real mountain, but it is real enough for many of us in Wisconsin. Elijah was seeking a place of peace where God would strengthen him that he could go back and proclaim the true faith. In 1 Kings 19:9–18, Elijah flees to Mount Horeb to talk to God after feeling burnt out as Ahab’s soldiers would slay many of his fellow prophets.
In this passage, God is not heard in the roaring fire or the rushing wind but in the quiet stillness. Rib Mountain State Park has these places where one can take in the quiet stillness. I can identify with Elijah in the frustrations of modern life and the need for a still, quiet, place. In a quiet place, we are free to think to clear our heads and, even our hearts. We can purge our minds from all of that which is troubling us. Elijah had a lot of troubles as people seemed to have forgotten God and killed all the prophets.
In the quiet place, God speaks to Elijah and Elijah gets turned around. God puts him back on course and he grooms his successor Elisha to take on the task.
Here we see the autumn beauty on the southern slope of Rib Mountain. Elijah found it on Mount Horeb. I experience it on Rib Mountain.
Rib Mountain is a place so close as a part of the Wausau area and yet removed from the hubbub and the bustle of the city. Even in winter, away from the ski slopes on the north side, there is tranquility there. It is a thriving state park with over 1400+ acres. You cannot get lost in because everywhere you go is either up or down. You can argue whether it is a true mountain or not, but for us in Central Wisconsin, it is our mountain. You cannot get lost with God. He is always there.
Elijah would go back down and anoint a new prophet to replace him. A man named Elisha would take his mantle and continue the walk to proclaim the word of God. Elijah would ride off into the heavens on a winged chariot.
As I read and listen to reports from various other parts of the world and hear of wars and rumors of wars which sometimes lead to man’s ultimate inhumanity to man, I want to ask “where is God in all of this?’ I dig back to my college years and the Cold War. I remember once walking on campus with a friend, and I thought how angry Jesus would be if the missiles started flying and the bombs exploded. My friend said something very profound. But it simply, Jesus would weep.
In that stillness, I can hear the voice of God.