“Then Elijah was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.” A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper” (1 Kings 19).
Here we sit around a warm fire some 11,000 feet above sea level. The evening is quiet as the breeze has died down for our evening devotions. God sits in with us for the conversation; for God loves this particular topic and is glad we have chosen this story tonight. The topic is “Hearing from God” and the story is of Elijah.
We live in a noise world that worships the five natural senses of taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. The problem arises when we rely on these natural senses when approaching the supernatural. The world is brimming with the presence of God and his invisible angels. But this much is clear: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
So, as we sit around this fire and read this story of Elijah in dire need of hearing from God, we are reminded that God does not reveal himself in ways we might wish he would. Faith exercises a sort of “sixth sense” that transcends the natural senses. Oh, how we wish God would just show Himself plainly in a powerful wind, a mighty earthquake or a blazing fire. God has indeed resorted to burning bush appearances and fiery, mountain shaking theophanies.
But Elijah discovers the all-too-true reality of God’s presence and voice. God’s presence usually comes without pyrotechnics, great fanfare and visible signs. He whispers to our hearts through inaudible words of assurance. We sense his quiet presence through inexplicable inner nudges. We “hear” God’s voice much as we feel strong convictions in our soul and internalize truths that set our hearts on fire and move us to action.
Tonight we lift our eyes to the stars and ask God to speak to us in that quiet, inaudible whisper. We need no outward sign tonight. The stars speak plainly enough to his unsurpassed majesty. The gentle breeze on our skin is enough to feel his grace. The rain drops pattering on the tent as we fall asleep remind us that he is a God who makes things grow and flower.
Lord, quiet our hearts and silence the noise of our anxious thoughts so we can hear your quiet whisper tonight.