Acts, #77. Acts 20-21.
Our words can pack a wallop. In the last couple days, I spoke of the impact of our talking - that we wield the power of life and death in our tongue, (link at bottom). We can build someone up or tear them down in a matter of seconds . Then I raised the question “Does God talk…still today?” https://conta.cc/3CWhTXA - that was yesterday and now I should like to step back and consider God’s unique methods of talking to us.
We have seen in recent weeks in the book of Acts how God has spoken to Paul in various ways. How does he talk to us today? Maybe not in the way you would expect.
We have movie scenes in our heads of a booming voice, a commanding voice like that of James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman . . . surely that is what God sounds like, right? Maybe not. I should like to take you now to a cave in Southern Israel. A man runs there to hide after a magnanimous victory - a moral and spiritual victory over evil that all around knew about--from the government officials to local shepherds and farmers; the man, Elijah. You know sometimes we experience moral victories and we are the only ones who know besides God; but in this case, God let it be known that he was the only all-powerful, all knowing righteous God, and he showed up in response to Elijah’s great faith, which was on display for all to see.
Only, all too soon, the great man of God, Elijah, caved in fear when threatened by an evil woman who wanted him dead . . . and rather than turning back to God, he ran and hid in a cave. What?? I believe this bears our consideration: 1 Kings chapter 18 records this courageous showdown, ushered in by Elijah taking on a wicked king . . .in front of what had to be thousands--from the prophets of Baal, prophets of Asherah and all those looking on and up onto Mt. Carmel. He demolishes them - period.
Take a look what happens next: And then when Jezebel, wife of King Ahab, issues a threat against his life, he runs many miles and hides in fear.
There he went into a cave and spent the night.
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks 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. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. From 1 Kings 19
And this lovely rendering: And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake 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, a still small voice. 1 Kings 19.11,12 King James Version
I love how the Lord came to Elijah in the above passage--in the still, small voice or a gentle whisper, as the NIV says.
Notice that God came to Elijah when he was running from God, scared, depressed. As long as we have breath in our bodies, God will always be reaching out to us. He will always have something to say to us, but we just may need to offer him some quet in which to speak.
This song quiets me, reminds me why I want to hear God talk~please listen:
"In the Secret", Shane & Shane, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9qreZA--ks
Into our quiet, God speaks.
* - “You know what they say about sticks and stones, right?” link: https://conta.cc/3m3v81C