Yesterday, we talked about God’s voice… and how it is almost imperceptible and unnoticeable. God’s voice is not big and booming, but tender, gentle, quiet… even unobtrusive… The Bible describes it as the “still small voice.”
We find this description in an account in 1 Kings. You probably know the story…
Elijah, the prophet of God, has just been involved in cleansing the nation of the prophets of Baal and Asherah, through a mighty act of God (1 Kings 18). But Israel’s corrupt king is not happy about it – and vows to hunt Elijah down and kill him. In 1 Kings 19, we find Elijah running for his life. Tired and frustrated (sulking!), Elijah complains to God.
God decides to give Elijah a lesson in His Presence (vs. 11-12) – and tells Elijah to stand outside of the cave in which he is hiding. A mighty wind came (shaking the rocks of the mountain loose) “but the Lord was not in the wind.” Then a powerful earthquake, “but the Lord was not in the earthquake.” Then a blazing fire from heaven, “but the Lord was not in the fire.”
Finally, God’s Presence comes to Elijah – and it is in the “still small voice.” A gentle whisper.
I think this really tells us something important about God. Though God is undeniably, and infinitely, awesome, He doesn’t seek to overwhelm us. Though He deserves our complete attention – He doesn’t demand it. He greatly desires to lead us and guide us – but He will not “shout us down” or force us to go where He knows we should go. He tenderly offers His divine assistance – but He will not hinder our way.
This is so surprising. We would expect that the Almighty would be overwhelming, demanding, frightfully fearsome, even overbearing – but He reveals Himself as tender, compassionate, and gentle. He should be a terrible wind, or a powerful earthquake, or a raging fire – but He chooses to come to us as a “still small voice.”
As further proof of His nature, when He came to walk among us, He was known as “gentle and humble in heart” and He brought “rest for (our) souls.” (Matthew 11:29) He was seldom lightning and thunder. Instead, He was meek and unimposing. He was almost always drawing people unto Himself, tenderly.
This is so vital because we NEED to see God as He desires for us to know Him. He can certainly be “shock and awe” – but He prefers to be gentle, meek, and tender. He would rather shower us with His love and compassion – and He willingly chooses not smother us, or coerce us, or force us to hear Him or obey Him or love Him.
God speaks in the stillness. Maybe that is why we are advised to “BE still…” and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). In all the white noise of this life we need to hear His voice – and the only way to do that, consistently, is to quiet ourselves… quiet our surroundings… and just listen for His gentle whisper.
God still speaks today. Probably a lot more often than we hear Him. And perhaps one of the most important things we can do is to take the time to listen for Him.
Jesus gave us the key. The course of our lives depends upon “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God!” (Matthew 4:4)
In the midst of a cacophony of voices… there is One Voice that matters the most.
Prayer Focus: God, lead me to quiet my soul before You… to listen for you in the stillness… and to hear and respond to what You have to say.