Still, Small Voice
We often expect to hear God in one way, or see him in a particular place, but then he surprises us, by revealing himself in a different way. Elijah heard the still, small voice of God, the gentle whisper of the divine, after he hadn't recognised or perceived the Lord in the dramatic.
Then he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19 v 9-13
You can read this story for yourself in 1 Kings 17-19. For the sake of this blog post, I'm going to summarise what had brought Elijah to this point in his story.
King Ahab was not a good king and his wife Jezebel is notoriously bad. She was from Lebanon and worshipped Baal, who among other things, was the god of rain. The prophet Elijah came to Ahab and said there would be no rain in the land until he said so.
Over three years later he returned to the king and told him to summon all the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. The king had no choice but to obey the prophet, and so one of the most dramatic demonstrations of Almighty God to Israel was prepared.
There was a sort of contest between the prophet, Elijah and the 150 prophets of Baal. They agreed The God who answers by fire - he is God. Needless to say the true God won. Then Elijah predicted the rain, and the drought finally ended with a tremendous downpour.
After these extraordinary events, Queen Jezebel sent word to Elijah that she was going to kill him. It seems strange that after such a powerful demonstration of the fire of God that Elijah should be afraid of the queen, but he was.
Such events can be draining, and Elijah was human. He ran away.
As he ran, he felt all alone. He had had enough. He didn’t feel any better than his forefathers. He wanted to die. Sometimes we can get that depressed.
The first response from the Lord is interesting - to give him food.
Then God gave him a journey to go on, a direction, Mount Horeb.
When he arrived, the Lord asked him, What are you doing here?
Elijah needed to articulate what he felt was wrong, before God could show him a different perspective or before he chose to change the situation. And before that could happen Elijah needed a fresh revelation on who God was.
The Lord said that He would pass by.
The Holy Spirit can come in a mighty wind, but this time the Lord wasn’t in the wind.
Sometimes God does shake the earth, but this time His presence wasn’t in the earthquake.
At Pentecost the Spirit came in tongues of fire, but not this time.
God wasn’t in the fire.
As humans we are impressed by the dramatic, the miraculous. We want to see a sign in the sky - something flashy, neon and bright. Maybe like the vision of a sailing ship in a habour, which I had a vision of, and later saw in the flesh.
(You can read about this in Visions)
However in my own experience, the Lord speaks to me mostly in a gentle whisper, directly into my heart or through the Holy Bible, the Word of God.
The Lord Almighty often comes in a gentle way,
without a drum roll,
into the quiet places in our lives.
But our lives can be so full of noise, that the gentle voice of Our Lord is drowned out.
There are so many things demanding our attention, that we don't notice Him.
The lock down has given us an opportunity to pause, reflect and reconsider our priorities, our lives and our relationships. It has given many of us an opportunity to spend more time in prayer, worship and contemplation.
It's our choice.
to switch off the chatter
to turn away from the clamour and froth
to not follow every new trend
to turn to Jesus
to fix our eyes upon him
to actively listen for Him
It's our decision.
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith
from Hebrews 12 v 1&2 NKJV
Still small voice
This is not a lullaby to rock us to sleep, rather to encourage us to ever listen to his still, small voice, and to encourage us on our own personal inner pilgrimage.