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The Still, Small Voice

July 27, 2012

“…but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” – I Kings 19:11-12

This verse is part of the story of Elijah on Mt. Horeb, and the valuable lesson
he learned there; a lesson that most of us, I think, still need to learn. See,
Elijah had worked tirelessly on God’s behalf, performing spectacular miracles
that certainly drew everyone’s attention because of their size and scope: he
shut up the heaven’s for 3 1/2 years so that it would not rain; he was fed by
ravens, and had pots of flour and oil that never went empty to keep him from
starvation while he hid at Cherith; he raised a widow’s son from the dead at
Zarephath; and he had called down fire and destroyed the priests of Ba’al atop
Mount Carmel in an awesome display of God’s power, all in an attempt to sway
King Ahab and the people of Israel away from the false gods of Jezebel. And
yet, after all these remarkable demonstrations of the Living God’s divinity and
power, he was still a hunted man, hiding out in the wilderness and living off
the mercy of the Lord.

Finally, he reached such despair that he laid himself down under a juniper tree
and asked that he might die, thinking himself a failure, pleading: “Lord, take away my life.” Such was the depths of his misery and suffering that the prophet of the Lord had literally laid down to die. But an angel came to wake and feed him; this was enough to sustain him until he reached Mount Horeb, where God came to him and asked why he had come. Elijah explained how all the prophets save himself had been slain, and once again pleaded for his life to be taken away. But God was not finished with His prophet, and commanded him to go outside, where he witnessed the wind, the earthquake, and the fire. Yet the Lord was in none of these things.

And then the still, small voice.

See, like Elijah, we come to believe that God’s work comes in earth-shaking
miracles; and in our despair and depression, we think that because we don’t see
some awesome display of power in our lives, that God has abandoned us, or just
is simply not working; sometimes, like Elijah, we feel so hopeless we just want
to lie down and die. But the truth is that the most magnificent demonstration
of God’s love, power, grace, and majesty do not usually take the forms of such
things…usually, it is the “still, small voice” that is quietly changing things, sometimes imperceptibly, and slowly but surely bringing God’s will to pass in our lives.

Think of Christ, and all the miracles He performed while upon this earth. While
these miracles showed His divinity and love, and expanded His ministry, His
most enduring legacy is His teachings, His words, and His actions….it was
simply the beautiful way in which He lived His remarkable life….and especially in the way that He ended it. While great empires rose and fell about Him, and political giants and religious authorities manipulated events of that time, Jesus was the still, small voice of God, working His will and changing things in a way no one ever had or would again. In all the world-shattering events that were happening in that age, it is the life of the Son of Man that had the most far-reaching impact. Who do you think, living in that time, would have ever guessed that the life of that one man might have changed things more than all the other mighty events of that day or any other? Such is the way in which our God works and triumphs. Look at His death: as He hung on that Cross, the angels could have come and pulled Him down, and then wreaked vengeance upon those who had persecuted and murdered Him and His. Instead, He suffered quietly, and died there nailed to that tree. What might seem like inaction – dying meekly – was truly the biggest, most wonderful action ever taken.

The point is that God is always working….most especially, I believe, when you think He isn’t. Sometimes I think we just need to calm the despair in our hearts and reach out to Him; to consider just how He is really changing our lives…and in ways we might never comprehend.  To hit rock bottom is natural, and happens to us all at some time or another; maybe even multiple times.  Hey, it even happened to Elijah one of God’s greatest prophets.  But Psalm 46:10 says: “Be still, and know that I am God”, because sometimes we’re just too frantic to take the time to try and see and understand all that He truly does for us behind the scenes. We don’t see the air but we breathe it; we don’t see love but we feel it, and sometimes we can’t see God’s quiet influence on our lives, but trust me: it is surely there all the same.

So today, whatever it is you might be struggling with, or if you are perhaps
waiting to see God perform some astounding miracle in your life, pause and
consider this: the greatest miracle is salvation, and for those who have it, we
have His promises as well…and God always keeps His promises. Also remember that God sustained Elijah while he was in the wilderness: He will do the same for you. But the wilderness will pass, and victory lies ahead. If you are saved, then that victory is assured…if not, then find your salvation at His altar, because as His children your portion has been set aside and your measure secured. Claim it, believe it, and maybe we’ll start to see it. Be still and know that He is God, and maybe, just maybe, you will hear that “still, small voice” whispering His truth, love, and mercy into your heart, and will change your life forever.

“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make His face shine upon
thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee,
and give thee peace.” (Num. 6:24-26)


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  1. Lynda Ingram permalink

    Josh, God gave me this verse a few years ago when I was going through some really difficult things and the part that He brought to my attention was the still small voice. Even in the midst of the storm we can hear him if we listen. This is a great blog Josh. Thanks for sharing! Lynda

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