Missing God when He speaks happens to everyone. We think we're ready to listen, but we don't always get the message. 1 Kings 19 is a perfect example of listening being a problem.
This is the story of Elijah. But we're going to get some background first.
Elijah (1 Kings 18) had just proven God's power and dominance over Baal on Mount Carmel when the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the offering and altar at Elijah's God-led request. It's a powerful story, and we'll revisit it another day.
Immediately after this victory, Elijah fled for his life, sat down under a juniper tree and asked to die. (1 Kings 18: 4) That's a big leap from supernatural victory to suicidal discouragement.
An angel fed him and let him rest before running off to a cave.
God found him. Duh.
God asked him, "What are you doing here?"
Answer? "I was zealous for You because your people had abandoned Your Covenant and torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets. I'm all alone now, and they want to kill me."
God told him to go STAND on the mountain, and things began to happen.
And that's our focus today -
- Wind - To me there are a couple of things about wind. (a) When I'm sheltered, sometimes I can still hear the wind howling outside. It's a distraction. Just like the TV being turned up too high in the next room. I can't focus. (b) If I'm outside, a mighty wind can blow me over if I'm not anchored. It destroys. Just ask any Oklahoman who's survived tornado season.
- Earth - In 2017, Oklahoma had 1,145 earthquakes. I've felt some of them. It's disorienting to have things around you rock and sway. I can't imagine being out on a mountainside when the ground started shaking.
- Fire - Fire destroys and wounds. When MIL's house burned, everything changed. When our shed caught fire, we lost stuff. Replaceable stuff. Some things were treasures.
Hmm, pardon me while I show my age here, but that's Earth, Wind and Fire...
Anyway, God asked Elijah to stand THROUGH all these things. And He wasn't in any of them.
- God wasn't in the bombardment of noise from the wind or the rocks it displaced.
- God wasn't in the unsettling earthquake.
- He wasn't in the blaze.
God spoke in a whisper.
Here's some good news: God hasn't changed. And here's some bad news: God hasn't changed.
He still speaks in a whisper. Why? Ask yourself this: why does anyone whisper? -to keep a conversation private? -ensure someone's complete attention? -to draw the listener closer? -all of these?
Then why don't we hear God?
- Wind- There is just too much noise going on around us. When was the last time you sat still in a silent room? As I type this, even my office isn't silent. I'm listening to Miles Davis at the moment. In my life, silence is a luxury. And I don't splurge often enough. How about you? "BE STILL, and know that I am God." The knowing comes after being still. I think that says a lot.
- Earthquake- Circumstances shake us up all the time. It's easy to let life rattle us. Some things can even shake our very foundation of faith. But if we let the things of this world do this, we're letting the enemy win. We've lost God's voice.
- Fire- Loss. Being consumed by something. Even if it seems to be a good thing, if we put our passion into something else and lose our fire for God, we will lose His voice. Our hearing cannot be split.
So what do we do?
Stand still on the ledge where God put you and draw near to Him. Then stop talking, and LISTEN.