“At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering the cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance to the cave. 1 Kings 19:11-13.
Two of the most basic questions people ask about God is “where is He and why doesn’t He speak to me?” We all struggle with these questions at some point or another, regardless of our spiritual state. When we don’t hear God’s voice in our lives, while others around us seem to be having no problem doing so, we begin to wonder why we can’t hear Him.
Perhaps it’s because we’re listening for the wrong things.
In the text, Elijah is hiding out in a cave. He’s hiding there because he had just defeated 450 prophets of the false god Baal in a contest on top of Mount Carmel. The contest was to prove to Israel who’s god was real: the Lord God of Israel or the god, Baal. Elijah proved that the God of Israel was indeed the true God, and the crowd of people that witnessed the contest killed the 450 prophets of Baal.
But that created problems for Elijah. Jezebel, the wicked queen of Israel at that time, worshiped Baal, and she was not going to let Elijah get away with killing prophets of her god, nor was she pleased with his very repeated and outspoken disgust of her and the worship of Baal in Israel. To Jezebel, Elijah was at the top of the most wanted list; he was public enemy number one. She was bent on killing him. So, Elijah fled to the mountains and hid in a cave.
Elijah was feeling sorry for himself. He was wondering why things were going so badly for him, despite the fact that he had faithfully followed God and done everything God had asked him to do. Since God had not spoken to Him for a while, Elijah felt as if God had deserted him. Then God did speak to Elijah and told him to go to the entrance of the cave. Elijah then witnessed great and powerful forces of nature: a powerful wind, a mighty earthquake, and a raging fire. But God wasn’t in any of these events; God was not speaking through these mighty acts.
Then, there came a soft voice– a whisper so quiet that it very easily could have been missed. Elijah heard the soft voice and knew instantly that was God.
Too often, we make the same mistake that Elijah made. We look for God to speak to us through great and mighty acts; we expect Him to give us tangible signs and directions about whatever situation we are facing. More often than not, we expect God to speak loudly enough so that it is impossible for us to miss His voice. But God’s voice, quite often, isn’t loud; it is almost always that same soft whisper Elijah heard. Yet, all the while we go about demanding God to speak to us, we have our headphones in and our music playing loudly, we are entranced by the newest and latest gadgets we have, and we are so wrapped up in our own lives that we wouldn’t hear God if He literally yelled in our faces. And we wonder why we can’t hear God? We wonder why He isn’t speaking to us? He’s been speaking all along, we’re usually too distracted to realize it. We must rid our lives of all the excess noise and distractions and tune our ears to hear His voice. We are His creation and His servants; it is our job to focus and listen for Him, not to listen to Him when we want to.
You want to hear God’s voice? Then listen.