Be still and know that I am God. – Psalms 46:10
1 Kings 19:11-13
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Active listening involves more than just hearing someone speak. In involves fully concentrating on what is being said. It is quite natural to hear without really listening. Active listening redirects one’s focus away from their own thoughts to the words and thoughts of the one speaking. Our full attention is given to them. The goal is to comprehend, and retain what is being said. Then respond and act accordingly.
How often do children of the King seek to hear their Father’s voice? And when we do want to hear, what is our expectation? Sadly for many, very little communication actually takes place and we hear nothing. How does the Father speak?
“Only in the rarest of circumstances, and then usually in judgment, does God display His glory in blinding flashes impossible to ignore. Most of the time, we meet Him in the quietness of our hearts” (Stanley).
Psalms 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.
The Hebrew word translated be still or cease striving is raphah. Raphah generally has the sense of to slacken, relax, decline, drop, let go, refrain, cease (NIDOTTE). We might say in modern colloquial English cool it or loosen up.
Raphah could well be translated, stop fighting, cease, be inactive, desist, do nothing, or drop your weapons (UBS). The traditional Be still is widely misunderstood as a command to be reverent and meditate on the blessings you have received (UBS).
The Hebrew word translated know is yada. Yada is used in the sense of acknowledge, recognize, admit, confess. Know that I am God can sometimes be translated “learn that I am God” or “see that I am God.
The Father desires that each of His children learn to hear Him when He whispers.
1 Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
Gentle whisper has been translated various ways: gentle blowing, low whisper, soft whisper, and a still small voice.
REFLECT & PRAY
Quietness is essential to listening. If we are too busy to sit in silence in His presence; if we are preoccupied with thoughts or concerns about the day; if we have filled our minds for hour upon hour with carnal interference and aimless chatter – then we are going to have difficulty truly listening to that still, small voice of God (Stanley).
Father, enable me to develop and maintain an attitude of active listening before You. I want to be able to hear softest whisper.
Elijah had been through a great deal of stress. He was discouraged and wanted to give up. He had run for his life. He was in hiding and despair. But the Father was gracious as always, He knew exactly what Elijah needed.
“All Elijah needed to get renewed for service was a fresh vision of the power and glory of God. First, the Lord caused a great wind to pass by, a wind so strong that it broke the rocks and tore the mountain, but no divine message came to the prophet. Then the Lord caused a great earthquake that shook the mount, but nothing from God came out of the earthquake. The Lord then brought a fire, but it, too, gave Elijah no message from the Lord.”
“What was God trying to accomplish in Elijah’s life by means of these awesome and frightening object lessons? For one thing, He was reminding His servant that everything in nature was obedient to Him (Psalms 148) – the wind, the foundations of the earth, the fire.”
“The wind, the earthquake, and the fire are all means that the Lord has used to manifest Himself to mankind. . . The pagan nations saw these great sights and worshiped the powers of nature, but when the Jews saw them, they worshiped the God who created nature. (Judges 5:4-5, Psalms 18:16-18, Habakkuk 3).”
“After this dramatic display of power, there was ‘a still, small voice,’ . . . When the prophet heard that voice, he stepped out of the cave and met the Lord. The mighty power and the great noise of the previous exhibitions didn’t stir Elijah, but when he heard the still, small voice, he recognized the voice of God.”
“God was saying to Elijah, ‘You called fire from heaven, you had the prophets of Baal slain, and you prayed down a terrific rainstorm, but now you feel like a failure. But you must realize that I don’t usually work in a manner that’s loud, impressive, and dramatic. My still, small voice brings the Word to the listening ear and heart. Yes, there’s a time and place for the wind, the earthquake and the fire, but most of the time, I speak to people in tones of gentle love and quiet persuasion.’”
“In this day of mammoth meetings, loud music, and high-pressure promotion, it’s difficult for some people to understand that God rarely works by means of the dramatic and the colossal. When He wanted to start the Jewish nation, He sent a baby – Isaac; and when He wanted to deliver that nation from bondage, He sent another baby – Moses. He sent a teenager named David to kill the Philistine giant, and the boy used a sling and a stone to do it. When God wanted to save a world, He sent His Son as a weak and helpless baby; and today, God seeks to reach that world through the ministry of ‘earthen vessels’ (2 Corinthians 4:7). Dr. J. Oswald Sanders states that ‘the whispers from Calvary are infinitely more potent than the thunder of Sinai in bringing men to repentance’’’ (Wiersbe).
When you ask to hear from the Father, what are your expectations?
Set aside times to “wait upon the Lord” in silence. You may find that late night or early morning is a good time of solitude and quiet for you. A noonday walk in the park may be a time when you can quiet your soul before the Lord. Ask the Lord to reveal to you a time and a place where you might turn off the cares and worries of the world for a few moments and listen to Him.
So often we spend our prayer time by talking to the Lord, without spending any time just waiting in silence to see what the Lord might have to say to us. Take time to intentionally be in silence before the Lord. Empty your mind of all other thoughts. Concentrate on His Word and His presence with you. Ask Him to speak to you (Stanley).
Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.