Today’s Thought and Text of Encouragement:
“ForI the Lord your God hold your right hand: who says to you, ‘Fear not; I will help you!’”
Isaiah 41: 13 Amplified Bible
“Don’t try to hold God’s hand; let Him hold yours. Let Him do the holding, and you do the trusting.”
H. W. Webb-Peploe
Today’s Study Text:
“And He (God) said, ‘Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, 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 sound of gentle stillness and a still, small voice. When Elijah heard the voice, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him.”
1 Kings 19: 11-13
“God’s Still, Small Voice”
“Speak, Lord, in the stillness,
While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen
E. May Crawford
Have I ever heard God’s still, small voice speaking to me in the quiet of my heart?
Does my everyday life give me the opportunity to hear God if He were speaking to me?
“God is a tranquil Being, and abides in a tranquil eternity. So must thy spirit become a tranquil and clear little pool, wherein the serene light of God can be mirrored.” Gerhard Tersteegen
“’Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him.’ In Hebrew, ‘Be silent to God and let Him mold thee.’ Keep still, and He will mold thee to the right shape.”
For just a moment, I invite you to let your imagination take you to one of the most serene and quiet places you have ever known in your life. Maybe it was a beautiful, crystal clear lake. Or possibly, in the middle of the night, you went outside and looked up into a starry sky and the quiet of the evening penetrated deep into your heart.
I ask you, “How does it feel to bring back a recollection of a time of quiet stillness…a moment of tranquility when your entire being felt at peace?”
For the prophet Elijah, his life, at least the portions of it we have been able to witness in Scripture, contained times of immense solitude. Think about the Brook Cherith for a moment or life in the mountainous region of Gilead. But once back in the center of the Spiritual and physical battle with the prophets of Baal and their very devious ringmaster, Jezebel, life for Elijah was chaotic, to put it mildly.
After finding himself on the run from Jezebel’s fury, Elijah went to Horeb, called the Mount of God. And it was here, if I had been in Elijah’s position and state-of-mind where I might have thought I would find some quiet serenity.
As we noted in the past few days, Elijah, at this point in time, did find himself alone -- at least from a human standpoint. But thankfully, as with each of us in times when the road ahead seems blurry and we cannot clearly discern what the future holds, God had not deserted Elijah. In fact, He came right to Horeb with His servant where we find a display of God’s presence that is striking enough to “take your breath away.”
In a powerful revelation of nature at its grandest, the Bible states God called to Elijah and instructed him to, “stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord,” for He told Elijah He was going to “pass by” (1 Kings 19: 11, N.I.V.).
Now I thought about this statement. What would I have done if God came to me and said, “Dorothy, I’m going to pass by you.” First, this information would certainly get my attention. But second, I believe I would wonder, ”Just how will God ‘pass by’ me? In what way will He come to me?” I figure you might have some of the same questions and probably Elijah wondered also.
He didn’t have long to wait for the Bible says that all of a sudden a “great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord.” But the spectacular display was not over yet. The destructive wind was followed by an earthquake and then fire erupted. It would be at this point I would ask myself, “What’s next?” Especially when I combine this question with the important detail found in the Bible which states that God was not evident in any of these visual and physical acts of nature’s upheaval.
Let’s remember, before the wind, the earthquake, and the fire, God had promised Elijah that He was going to “show you My presence.” Yet, we are clearly told, God was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire.
But after these explosive exhibits from nature, Elijah, who obviously was listening intently, heard, “a gentle whisper” or what has been frequently noted as, “a still small voice,” which the Hebrew defines as a “quiet, thin, peace and light calling.” Don’t you just love it? A peaceful whisper with the lightness of a feather quietly drifting down to your heart and mine from our Father’s throne of grace. This is God’s still small voice. Picture it in your mind for a minute. And this is when Elijah recognized his heavenly Father. It is how we will recognize Him, too. In those moments when we step back from the noisy sounds of earthly living; at those times when we choose to stop doing all the talking and with patient rest, in silence we listen for that soft voice that lightly taps us on the shoulder and whispers, “I am here. I am with you. I will never leave you or forsake you.” It’s the still small voice of our Father’s love.
I find such great inspiration from the words of Mother Teresa. Please remember, she spent much of her life in the bustle of the city of Calcutta, India. Pressed beyond belief, with the needs of poverty–stricken orphans staring her in the face on a daily basis, she offered this profound wisdom to all who long for a heavenly connection with the still, small voice. As she observed in her own life, “God is the friend of silence.” But then she offers this insight. “We need to find God and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. See how nature, the trees, the flowers, the grass grow in perfect silence -- see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence. Silence gives us a new outlook on everything…Jesus is always waiting for us in silence. In that silence He will listen to us, there He will speak to our soul, and there we will hear His Voice.”
Indeed, it was in the silence where Elijah heard the voice of God, the tender voice that called out to Elijah’s lonely heart. And it is the same voice that calls out to us, if we will just commit to moments of time and quiet to hear our Father speak to each of us.
The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Christian believers in the church at Thessalonica, a seaport trade center, penned these words in his first letter to the believers. “Study to be quiet” (1 Thessalonians 4: 11), he wrote them. The author A. B. Simpson observes that God’s heavenly dew, “never comes to the restless soul.” Then he continues by giving an example which I think we can all relate to: “We cannot go through life strong and fresh on constant express trains with ten minutes for lunch; we must have quiet, secret places of the Most High, times of waiting upon the Lord…the best thing about this stillness is, that it gives God a chance to work…when we cease from our thoughts, God’s thoughts come into us. Beloved! Let us take His stillness.”
Like Elijah, do you long to hear that still small voice? I know I do. For as Ruth Barton so beautifully writes, “We are starved for intimacy, to see and feel and know God in the very cells of our being. We are starved for rest, to know God beyond what we can do for Him. We are starved for quiet, to hear the sound of sheer silence that is the presence of God Himself.”
During the rush of each of your busy days, I encourage you to take some time, maybe just at dawn’s breaking light or possibly at the setting of the sun or in the darkness of night and silently, yes quietly, listen for the soft hush of God’s loving voice which comes to us anytime and anywhere when we will wait, rest, and listen in silence.
“Still, still with Thee, when
purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the
Fairer than morning, lovelier
Dawns the sweet consciousness,
I am with Thee.
Alone with Thee, amid the mystic
shadows, The solemn hush
of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee in breathless
In the calm dew and freshness
of the morn.
Still, still with Thee!
As to each newborn morning
A fresh and solemn splendor
still is given,
So does this blessed consciousness,
Breathe each day nearness unto
Thee and heaven.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe
“All is silent
In the still and soundless air,
I fervently bow
To my Almighty God.”
“Teach us, O God, that silent language which says all things. Teach our souls to remain silent in Thy presence: that we may adore Thee in the depths of our being and await all things from Thee, whilst asking of Thee nothing but the accomplishment of Thy will.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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