God’s Still Small Voice
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“Still Small Voice” 1 Kings 19:11-13; Psalm 46:10
We sometimes have a fear of being alone. We disguise this fear with the noise of TV, radio, texts, twitter, Facebook, email, phone calls. It is probably more uncommon for people in our society to be alone and be quiet than any other society in the history of the world. For some people who are popular, who are handsome or beautiful, who people delight to be around, they feel lost for their identity is wrapped up in the acclaim of others. Others are used to being alone and isolated and they see being alone as a prison cell. Elijah was a guy who was used to being alone. He had been alone by the brook during the drought. But he had just accomplished something great. He had prayed in the midst of the drought and very loud thunder and lightning came out of nowhere and consumed his sacrifice, and then he publicly prayed and the rains came and ended the drought. This was amazing. Everyone knew his name. But the queen who worshiped Baal was jealous and was trying to kill him. Elijah ran away into the wilderness by himself. He would have been a great boy scout. He he was exhausted from running, he was hungry and he was lonely. He told God that he had “enough.” He had done everything God had said but he was the only one left in the land who was faithful to God. God sought to comfort Elijah. Before these verses God specifically provided for Elijah in his physical and mental exhaustion. Have you ever been that tired? Have you ever been so tired and weary you get sad and depressed? I find it in some way comforting that Elijah got depressed. The weakness of the heroes of the faith encourages me, for it makes them human. I. WHERE GOD WAS NOT- In our day we expect God to show up in the human-made spectacular. So let God show up in the Superbowl. Or let God show up at the Oscars when all the glitzy- rich, famous, and beautiful are there. God is not impressed with our money- all we see is His and beyond what we see. Just this past week (2/8) there was a discovery of 1/3 more galaxies than we had seen before (now we are up to 883 galaxies). God is not impressed with our sparkly dresses or our newest gadgets or the polls of how popular we are. God was not in the blowhard wind. He was not in the earthquake. God is not impressed by how steady we can make our lives nor is He impressed with our ability to destroy life. He is not impressed by how we can rock someone else’s world. I wish some of our politicians could understand this. He was not in the fire. In our world that values passion, we have forgotten that truth is more valuable than passion. Fire and energy and heat are certainly important thing for our comfort but the Lord is beyond that. Elijah had just seen God work through lightning consuming his sacrifice in answer to his prayer. God speaks to us through many means in creation. But He speaks clearly in the whisper of His Word.
- GOD IN THE STILL- The other day the sky was just a brilliant orange as I was driving over the dam looking toward the west. The lake was perfectly still- didn’t see a boat or a wave on it- and it mirrored the beautiful orange sky. I said out loud to the Lord- “Yes! Thank you Lord!” Saints have throughout the centuries sought to get alone with God. Jesus sought to be alone. As soon as he was baptized he went out into the desert to pray. When his cousin and friend John the Baptist was killed Jesus got in a boat to get away from the crowds- and 5,000+ followed him to the other side. Moses was alone in the desert. Paul went to the desert for three years after he was converted and before he began his ministry. John the Apostle was alone in the cave on top of Patmos Island in the Mediterranean when he experienced God. I want to encourage you to not be afraid to be alone. I want to in fact, encourage you to seek times to be alone. Times to walk on the beach by yourself. Saints of old used to talk about quiet times- times alone to pray and read scripture, listen and think. So David said, “Be still and know that He is God.” We often realize God when we stop and are alone. I remember reading of John and Charles Wesley’s mother, Susanna, who had so many children (19), and she wanted to be alone to pray some- she would take her apron and cover her face and the children knew to leave her alone. Kay used to go to the bathroom and close the door to find her space when the kids were old enough to look out for themselves. III. GOD IN THE SMALL- The smallness of the voice of God, I think is important. We value the big the rich and value them as important. The efforts to promote them or tear them down because they are big and rich still shows the value of what they have. But God values the small. He showed that by how He came down to earth- to a humble woman in a backward small place the size of Chapin that was despised. Nathanael said, “Can any good come out of Nazareth.” Bethlehem was just a small village. It is not always the flashy that is important. I can remember the word of the Lord to Zechariah when the people were weeping that the Temple wasn’t bigger. The word was, “Do not despise the day of small things.” Sometimes it is the small whisper of God that strikes right to the heart of us. If you want to impress your girl on Valentines- bring flowers or chocolates or a special gift. But it you want to make your relationship work- it is in the every day small things that you do that will count. I know a lot of guys who get in hot water all the time- and try to get out by a special impressionable gift. It might work a few times. Some ladies are saying, “I wish he would just try it once!” Others are saying, “I’d like a little more impression.” Yet There are times when God wants to impress us with His power. But generally, it is in the faithful listening and heeding of His Word that we will find His love and presence.
People have often asked me when I heard the call of God to become a minister. I think a lot of these verses- especially on Boy Scout Sunday. I was at Camp Barstow- probably about 12 years old. There was a horrible bunch of tornadoes that came through together. We were staying in three sided adorondaks- and I was on a top bunk. The wind was howling under the tin roof which was shaking, and lightning was everywhere. I remember being pretty scared with every other boy in my cabin except one who snored through the whole thing. One boy (not me) was crying for his mother- but I refused. We heard other boys in other shelters yelling. I quietly told God (out loud)- “Lord, if you’ll get us out of this I’ll do anything- even become a preacher.” I never forgot that I said that. When it struck home, however, was after the storm left and we got up the next morning to look around. There were downed trees everywhere. The scoutmasters confirmed at least one tornado- and probably three had come through the camp. Right outside my adirondak was huge oak tree that had fallen. If it had fallen a foot closer it would have fallen on our adirondak. So I could say I came into the ministry through the boy scouts. God calls and speaks to us in different ways. Do not be afraid to be alone and to listen to God’s still small voice.