Maybe you’ve been there before, feeling hopeless. Maybe you’re there now. You find yourself trying to escape the messes you seem to keep making for yourself. Or, you just simply want your voice to be heard. Elijah can relate. He is on the run and there’s been a (biblical- time) bounty placed on his life. So now Elijah is afraid and fleeing for survival. While on the run, he sheds his servant (by leaving him in Beersheba) and continues on his now solo escape route. He travels all day, then collapses under a shade tree and begins to beg God that he might die, “I have had enough Lord” (1 Kings 19:4). But, then God sends an angel to remind him to wake up, grab something to eat and prepare to move on. So after some shut-eye and a meal, he’s on his way. On the run for 40 days and 40 nights, Elijah arrives at his intended destination, Mt. Sinai, or, “The Mountain of God.” He crashes in a cave for the night. But then something incredible takes place. Something(s) I’m guessing Elijah wasn’t ready for. God shows up and speaks up. As Elijah will soon learn, when God speaks up, it sometimes comes in the form of a whisper.
“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. 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. 1 Kings 19:11-12
Measured at just 15 minuscule decibels, a whisper (according to Google) is defined as; “to speak very softly using one’s breath without one’s vocal cords, especially for the sake of privacy.”
In fact, the Hebrew word for whisper, demamah, is the very same word used to describe the way God uses a “still small voice” to deliver us from our distress with an undeniable sense of calmness and peace.
How many of us understand that God doesn’t just have an outside voice, he has an inside voice too?
We all know inside voices carry power right? I remember as a child (and still today) if my mother would whisper the words of my full entire name, it’s time to listen up (“Dustin Christopher Cookson!) and stop doing whatever it was I was doing. Or, if my wife were to say to me in the soft but string tone, “Dusty, are you serious right now?”. I know it’s time to stop doing whatever it was I was doing at the time. But, when our 11-year old, Chloe says to me, “Dad, stop. You’re embarrassing me…”, just because, I’m her dad, and I can, I will usually keep doing that same thing!
But seriously, we know God’s voice is power. He spoke creation into existence. He speaks truth, love, mercy, grace, and the list goes on. Here’s the cool part. He’s still speaking to you and me today.
But, are we willing to listen? He’s not always going to get our attention with a mighty shout. Sometimes it comes in the form of a whisper. And when it does, we must be willing to: be still, lean in, and listen up. After all, as Joshua learned, God’s voice is heard the clearest when we are quietest.
***Based from the Mark Batterson book, Whisper.