Tag Archives: Elijah

God’s still, small voice

I Kings 19:9-13:  “…and, behold, the word of the Lord came to [Elijah], and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?  And he said…the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.  And he said, Go forth [from this cave], and stand upon the mount before the Lord.  And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind:  and after the wind was 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 still, small voice.  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave.  And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”

At this point Elijah repeats his story of the unfaithfulness of Israel and the plot on his life.  God then gives him instructions about where to go and what to do, and informs him that there is yet a remnant of seven thousand souls in Israel who are not worshippers of Baal.

There is very little I can add here that the receptive mind will not already perceive, but I do have one specific comment. 

This passage immediately puts me in mind of the basic fallacy behind the noisy, me-centered worship in many churches today.  Instead of treating God’s house with reverence and dignity and waiting quietly for His great Spirit to speak, many Christians today are treating church as merely another entertainment:  the music is loud and worldly (often with vague, self-centered lyrics about “feelings” instead of sound doctrine), the atmosphere grotesquely chatty and casual and geared toward creature-comforts (jeans and flip-flops and a latte bought in the lobby), and preaching which values showmanship over substance. 

How can anyone hear the still, small voice of God amid all this clatter?  Church should be a refuge from the busyness and confusion of the world, not an extension of it.  Besides, I think it is pretty clear from this passage that if there’s any great show of force to be made, it will be by God, not by us.  We can jump around and turn our amps up and wave our arms and  shout “Amen” till the cows come home, but it is merely a puny, self-pleasing display, lacking in both humility and reverence.

Christians, grow up and stop demanding to be entertained.  Listen for the still, small voice.

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