Posted by: missionventureministries | August 2, 2018

LISTEN TO GOD BECAUSE HE SPEAKS IN A STILL SMALL VOICE – 1 Kings 19:12

“And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:19)

Elijah ran and was hiding for his life, even though God had spectacularly answered his prayer with fire from heaven. Jezebel, however, had not been intimidated by Elijah’s victory and swore she would kill him. And because of this Elijah fell into such depression that he wanted to die. If Jezebel could not be impressed with fire from heaven, how could Elijah ever hope to defeat her and her armies?

So, what happened to Elijah?

In many areas of life, great victories are often followed by times of doubt, discouragement, and depression. Emotional stress, physical fatigue and other factors can sometimes combine to bring on depression.

People committed to God are not immune to being human, because, emotions are part of that humanity. That is why using our human emotions as a guide for our spiritual condition is hazardous. Feeling good and being happy are not always good measures of our commitment to God. Likewise, feeling depressed, discouraged, anxious, doubtful, are not necessarily signs of spiritual decline.

Elijah had given up. He left his country in the north and traveled south. When he got to the border of Israel at Beersheba, he left his servant there and kept going alone and finally after walking a whole day into the wilderness he sat down under a bush and prayed to God to take his life, then exhausted he fell asleep.

We need to understand that God does not give up on us nearly as easily as we give up on Him! God came to Elijah in the desert in the midst of his anguish when an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.”

The word translated “angel” in the Hebrew simply means messenger (v. 5). Often the bible uses messenger as a way to describe the presence of God himself (Judges 2:1; Isaiah 63:9).

Now after gaining his strength, as Elijah journeyed toward Horeb he still had not fully recovered from his emotional state; but he was moving, which was good. We cannot always expect a “quick fix” to our discouragements, the healing may be slow but beginning the process is a good start.

Now we read what happened to Elijah and God’s revelation to him in verses 1 Kings 19:9-18.

Here is the heart of the story. In these verses, the story moves beyond Elijah and his personal needs to that deeper level that addresses the question of how God works. God had not given up working with Elijah and we see God’s persistent questions gently pushing Elijah toward a faithful response.

Mount Horeb, where Elijah found himself after his long journey through the desert, was the very mountain where Moses had encountered God in the fire of a burning bush (Exodus 3:1). It was at that mountain, also called Mount Sinai, that God had given the law to Moses amid fire, smoke, and thunder (Exodus 19:16-18).

By God’s divine grace and providence, Elijah was sustained for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb the mountain of God and found shelter in a cave. This reminds us that “Forty” shows up in the Bible in such places as the 40 years in the wilderness for the Jews; 40 days of Moses on the mount receiving the Law, Jesus’ 40 days in the desert and His temptation by Satan, and there are many other accounts of 40 days in the Bible.  

Now while there, we read that “a great and strong wind,” was sent and “after the wind an earthquake” and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12). But the Lord was not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire. God finally reached Elijah with “a still small voice,” and that voice assured him that God was well in control of all circumstances.  

In our human impatience, we think God should always move immediately in great strength. Unless there are things happening immediately, we grow discouraged, like Elijah. But God more often speaks in a still, small voice and works in a quiet way. Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; . . .And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left (Isaiah 30:18, 21). The Holy Spirit will never tell us to do something that violates and disobeys God’s Holy Word.

Once we learn to be still and wait on the Lord and our spirit has quieted down, we are encouraged to talk to God about what’s going on in our life and to listen because:

  1. God’s voice is often quiet. At times, unless we are skilled in recognizing God’s voice, we might mistake it for a passing thought. I believe that God would like to talk to us often, but many times we aren’t listening. Or there is so much “noise” and commotion going on in our life and so little quiet time with Him, that God’s gentle voice goes unheard.

We know that God is fully capable of getting our attention if He needs to; but that He would rather have us listen to Him because we love Him and know that He loves us and wants the very best for us.

  1. God’s voice can guide us in what to do. After listening to God, He gives Elijah an assignment to anoint three men, two kings and his prophetic successor.

God’s voice was there to clarify direction for Elijah and He does the same for us.

  1. God’s voice can provide comfort when we are anxious. Elijah was fearful and exhausted, depressed and hopeless. God comforts him by giving him a new work to do, a new assignment. Jesus comforts and restores Peter in a similar way, he restored him by gently pointing out the job He had for him to do, by asking him three times to care for His lambs and His sheep.

God also reassures Elijah by pointing him to a spiritual companion, Elisha, who will learn from him, and eventually succeed him so that his life’s work will continue after his passing. What a blessing!

  1. God’s voice can bring rebuke. Sometimes, we need God to set us straight, to correct our errors of thinking. Elijah had been complaining, “I, only I, am left.” God informs him that 7,000 people have not compromised their faith in Him.

There was Elisha, a young man that God was preparing and 7,000 other men who had not bowed to Baal. It showed Elijah that his ministry had not been in vain and that God’s Word does not return void no matter how bad things may look to us. The nation would not be totally exterminated and there were those who would carry on the work of the Lord.

The Bible is called the Word of God because it is His voice, not in audible sounds, but in words written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And when we hear it preached and taught in spirit and in truth, we are hearing the voice of God that effectually works in those who believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

So when in distress always remember what the inspiration of the Holy Spirit told the psalmist to write:

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

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