There is so much noise around us, so many opinions that are clamoring for our attention. Social media, news outlets, friends at the coffee shop … you name it, they all seem to say “look this way, take our side, join our cause – because we are right! Don’t you want to be right also?” Sometimes it may be one of the many circumstances and situations that arise in life that seem to demand our response and can so often seem to overwhelm us. We can become so weighed down by all the conclusions that seem to be presented before us with a demand to pick one and run with it. To trust it as truth and rely totally on it. Truth is not truth because it is just the loudest, truth is truth because it is reality – it is Jesus! So many are looking out over this sea of rhetoric and searching for the truth. One thing we must realize is that this is nothing new, it’s has been happening since the beginning of time. There is a voice of truth, but it is not found in all the noise.
Let me relate a story to you of a prophet in the old testament. His name was Elijah, you’ve probably heard of him. You may very well be familiar with this story of events as I recall them from scripture. They are found in 1 Kings and recorded in the 18th and 19th chapters. Elijah had a showdown with the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. It was a great display of the power of God and the reality of His word and truth over all the false voices. God showed Himself powerful over the false god Baal and over the deception of all those false prophets! Let’s just say that Elijah was certainly stoked after such a display of God in their midst. It says in 1 Kings 18:39 that when all the people saw it they fell on their faces and they said, “The Lord, He is God; The Lord; He is God!” What a jaw dropping display of the Lord. Elijah’s ministry was certainly going to take off from here. His new business cards could sport the slogan, “The Prophet Who Brought Down Baal;” His itinerary would be booked for sure, maybe even a book deal and a TV ministry would open up. I hope you know I’m being a little humorous, there is nothing wrong with any of this if the Lord does it and directs it (well except for that crazy slogan).
But none of this was the case. No, after such a great display of the Lord’s faithfulness and power the king at the time, Ahab, told his wife, Jezebel, what had occurred. Let’s just say that Jezebel was not happy and she vowed to do to Elijah what had happened to all the prophets of Baal. She sent word to him that it was lights out, his demise was eminent. So now Elijah who was strong in the Lord during the showdown, suddenly was afraid of the word of Jezebel and ran for his life. He stopped off in the wilderness under a juniper tree and wanted to die. The Lord was faithful and fed him there and he got up and went forty days to Mount Horeb and hid out in a cave.
The word Carmel means “fruitful garden” and the word Horeb means “arid; desolate; to be in ruins”. It seems Elijah had gone from a fruitful place to a desolate and dry place. The “mighty” prophet was now hiding out in a cave. Elijah had run from the fear of his pending circumstances and he had run from God. It was not elation that filled his heart but depression and fear, he felt forsaken and alone. But something happened. Something powerful took place there on Mount Horeb in that cave. It was really something just as powerful as what happened on Mount Carmel – the Lord spoke to him. He heard God, and he heard Him in a way he was not expecting.
“What are you doing here Elijah?” And Elijah said, “I have been zealous for the Lord and all of Israel have forsaken you, I am the only one left and they want to take my life.” Discouragement and depression result when we set our eyes on us and not on the Lord. Then something that would change Elijah’s perspective took place. The Lord passed by and there was a great wind, but the Lord was not in the wind. Then there was a great earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. Oh, let’s see this saints, this is powerful, because next there was a gentle whisper, a still small voice. Why did God whisper? Why didn’t God shout, scream and yell? Because you don’t have to yell and make a lot of noise when you are close. Elijah had run from his circumstances and from God, but God had not forsaken Elijah. You have to be close to hear a whisper and God was close – He was right there with Elijah!
And He is close to us, Christ resides in us through the Spirit, you can’t get any closer than that. It’s not all the noise around us, but the gentle whisper within us that leads us. But may we not confuse God’s gentle whisper with a lack of authority or power though. His whisper can in fact shake everything around us while it calms our fears and drives out depression with such peace. His whisper is a sign of intimacy, a realization of just how close He is! His whisper speaks louder than the noisy threats of Jezebel. In the midst of all that seems contrary to our peace and well being, the gentle whisper of love from within says, “I’ve got you my child, I’ve got everything under control – rest and do not fear!”
So whether we feel like we are celebrating on Mount Carmel, or hiding out in a cave on Mount Horeb, Jesus, our loving Savior is right there with us and in us. We are not forsaken, we are not alone. May we hear that gentle whisper that comforts us and leads us – the voice of our beloved – Jesus!
Love in Jesus,