Elijah had come a long way, carrying a complaint that he had to get off his chest. A complaint he carried for 40 days and 40 nights. He was about to have a divine encounter with “the god who answers by fire”, Yahweh.
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
We read in the passage that it was only when Elijah heard the gentle whisper, the voice of the Lord, he went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Elijah was waiting to hear the voice, he had to be paying close attention, he had to be listening intently? I wonder if he expected a whisper? Was he surprised that God was not in the wind, earthquake, or fire? After all, God had just demonstrated His awesome power by answering Elijah by fire.
What about you? Are you listening for that same gentle whisper? Or are you expecting the voice of God to be accompanied by thunder and lightning? In a time when the world is so noisy, where we look for wonders and signs, do we even realize that God is whispering to us?
Meanwhile, back in Exodus, God was preparing to meet with His chosen people but they chose to stay at a distance. They were afraid. They begged Moses to speak to them instead. Their fear caused them to remain at a distance.
Elijah went out to meet with God. The Israelites remained at a distance. Can you see yourself in any of these situations? Where are you? Are you like Elijah, listening for the voice of the Lord and then going out to meet with God, with a cloak over your face? Or are you like the Israelites who prefer a Moses over the voice of the Lord?
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. Exodus 20:18-21
We show how little love we have for God by preferring to listen to His servants rather than to Him. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we don’t want God Himself to speak to us. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? Perhaps it’s because we know that when God speaks we know we have only two choices: Either we will do what He asks, or tell Him we will not obey. But if it is simply one of God’s servants speaking to us, we feel obedience is optional, not imperative.Oswald Chambers
Mr. Chambers sure didn’t mince words. Ouch! “Perhaps it’s because we know that when God speaks we know we have only two choices: Either we will do what He asks, or tell Him we will not obey.”
Check Your Posture…
Priscilla Shirer says, “Position yourself to hear from God. There is power in your positioning, in your posture. . . the position of your heart has to be in a perspective, a frame of reference that is eager to hear and expects to hear the voice of God speaking to you.”
Positioning requires intentionality, we may well have to remove the distractions, get to a place where we can be quiet and still before God. What can you do to carve out time or create a space for you to listen?
May we draw near to God, to position ourselves so that we can hear the voice of God. Posture your heart with expectation. May we seek and desire His voice above all others and cultivate a heart of obedience to Him.
It is important that we get still to wait on God. And it is best that we get alone, preferably with our Bible outspread before us. Then if we will we may draw near to God and begin to hear Him speak to us in our hearts.The Speaking Voice A.W. Tozer
Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.” Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of Thy Voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking Voice. Amen. (Source)