The Seven Filters – Ch.3 Part 3 The Still Small Voice

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore 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 the sound of a low whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11–12, ESV)

In my life, I have experienced some loud talkers and some who barely whisper. Sometimes, you will be in a restaurant and on the other side of the dining area, you will hear a table of loud people talking. Their voices are unmistakable and discernable. When I am there, I will often have an inclination to shout out, “Inside voice please.” However, being a Christian, I understand that they do not realize what they are doing and forgive. Yet, there are others who speak so softly that you can barely hear them even when they are right in front of you. To hear these, we need a quiet place and an attentive ear. It is the same with the Lord. Sometimes He speaks loudly (the grandiose) and yet other times, we need to be attentive to the “still small voice” (v12, KJV).

Through the Grandiose– Elijah stands in the mouth of the cave and the Lord passes by. There are three grandiose manifestations: a wind that tears a mountain, an earthquake, and a fire. Yet, Elijah does not hear from the Lord in these. While at times, the Lord does speak through the grandiose, the miraculous, that is the loud voice. This normally happens when there is an imminent problem, and He needs to get our attention immediately.

Imagine is someone in front of you and not paying attention to where he is going. You might softly say, “Hey watch where you are going.” However, if then you see they are about to walk in front of a bus, your voice will change. You will yell loudly, “Watch out! Stop!” These are two types of situations and two voice levels. It is that way with the way the Lord speaks to us. The Lord will speak loudly, when his children are about to walk from the path of righteousness to a dangerous path of sin. The voice may be like this, “Don’t take that. It is stealing!” “Don’t cheat on your taxes!” Sometimes, it may be, “You are on the wrong path! Repent!” Here, I am speaking of that inner conviction that happens when we may be tempted to walk off the path of righteousness. Yet at times, the Lord can also use the providential circumstances of life to get our attention. The loud voice.

Through the Soft and SubtleHowever, normally the Lord speaks to us in a “still small voice” as we seek him in His word. Elijah did not experience the Lord in the three great manifestations. However, then he hears the “sound of a low whisper.” When he heard the sound of the “low whisper,” he responded, knowing that it was the Lord. The KJV translates this phrase as “a still small voice.” While the Lord does speak through the grandiose, the norm is that He speaks in a “still small voice.

As previously mentioned, He often speaks loudly when we are about to wander from the safe path to that of unrighteousness. It is what I would label the wake-up call. It is to prevent us from experiencing the danger of sin. Yet, the Lord usually speaks in a softer voice when we are seeking Him for direction in life or answers to specific issues. Elijah here had a very specific issue with which he was dealing.

“What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (1 Kings 19:9–10, ESV)

Elijah is in a state of distress. He felt like he was all alone, the lone surviving prophet and true follower. He seemed uncertain about his future, and he does not know what to do. Can you sense the frustration in his voice? It is the answer to this dilemma that he hears through the “still small voice.

Many times, when we are looking for answers in life, we need to hear that voice. It comes as we meet the Lord in a tranquil place apart from the noise of life. It is when we commune with Him in prayer through His word. As we sit, pray, read and study the Bible, we will gain insight from God through His word. This insight comes in our thoughts via the “still small voice,” God by the ministry of the Holy Spirit applying the truth of the Scriptures to our hearts.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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