January 21 – Discerning God’s Voice

1 Kings 19:11f

1 Kings 19:11-13

Introduction/Context: Continuation from last week.

[A still small voice] literally, “a sound of soft stillness.”

I will come back to this in the end. For now let’s discuss the other.

I. God’s Dealing with the Godly

God was now treating Elijah nearly in the same way that he treated Moses; and it is not unlikely that Elijah was now standing on the same place where Moses stood, when God revealed himself to him in the giving of the law. See Ex 19:9,16.

19:6 “And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.” So Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.”

19:16, “Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.” (NKJ)

[The Lord passed by] It appears that the passing by of the Lord occasioned the strong wind, the earthquake, and the fire; but in none of these was God to make a discovery of himself unto the prophet; yet these, in some sort prepared his way, and prepared Elijah to hear the still small voice.

Many have supposed that God intended these things to be understood thus: that God intended to display himself to mankind not in judgment, but in mercy; and that as the wind, the earthquake, and the fire, were only the forerunners of the still small voice which proclaimed the benignity of the Father of spirits; so the law, and all its terrors were only intended to introduce that mild spirit of the Gospel of Jesus, proclaiming glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will unto men. Others think that all this was merely natural; and that a real earthquake, and its accompaniments, are described:

II. Possible Pattern/Progression?

Application: Earthquakes. How about Volcano? Storms?

1. Previously to earthquakes the atmosphere becomes greatly disturbed, mighty winds and tempests taking place.

2. This is followed by the actual agitation of the earth.

3. In this agitation fire frequently escapes, or a burning lava is poured out, often accompanied with thunder and lightning.

4. After these the air becomes serene, the thunder ceases to roll, the forked lightnings no longer play, and nothing remains but a gentle breeze.

NOTE:

• However, correct all this may be, it seems most probably evident that what took place at this time was out of the ordinary course of nature; and although the things, as mentioned here, may often be the accompaniments of an earthquake that has nothing supernatural in it;

1 Peter 4:12-16, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you1. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” (NKJ)

• yet here, though everything is produced in its natural order, yet the exciting cause of the whole is supernatural.

Application: Shekinah doesn’t always man itself right away! The natural (even the hassles) are but precursors of what God might say.

Transition:

III. Properties of Revelation

• Thus, the Chaldee to whom this message is given too as well, understands the whole passage: Chaldea or Chaldaea was a Semitic-speaking nation which existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BC, after which it and its people were absorbed and assimilated into Babylonia.

“And behold the Lord was revealed; and before him was a host of the angels of the wind, tearing the mountains, and breaking the rocks before the Lord, but the Majesty (Shechinah) of the Lord was not in the host of the angels of the wind.

• And after the host of the angels of the wind, there was a host of the angels of commotion; but the Majesty of the Lord was not in the host of the angels of commotion.

• And after the host of the angels of commotion, a fire; but the Majesty of the Lord was not in the host of the angels of fire. And after the host of the angels of fire, a voice singing in silence,” etc.; that is a sound with which no other sound was mingled. Perhaps the whole of this is intended to give an emblematical representation of the various displays of divine providence and grace.

Here is the order:

1. Wind – Commotion

2. Earthquake – Shaking

3. Fire – manifestation/agitation/outcome

But God was not in those (per se): A part in it but not it!

Question: So, what was it that Moses received when he encountered God through fire and thunder?

The Law vs. Gospel?

Some might say that this also has significance:

Law = judgement, harshness, power of law

Gospel of Jesus = Grace / Mercy of the Gospel of Jesus = kindness, gentleness, beauty of stillness of completion!

IV. The Assurance in Stillness

[A still small voice] literally, “a sound of soft stillness.”

The teaching is a condemnation of that “zeal” which Elijah had gloried in, a zeal exhibiting itself in fierce and terrible vengeances, and an exaltation and recommendation of that mild and gentle temper.

But it was so contrary to the whole character of the stern, harsh, unsparing Tishbite, that it could have found no ready entrance into his heart.

In Luke 9:51-56 – Should we call down fire from heaven on them? Jesus rebuked them.

Application: Sometimes we want to “power” things through. Work harder, sing louder, come more often, get more involved, as a show/demonstration but this is not what God responds to!

When God speaks: Why In the stillness?

1. Settle us down (?)

2. Make sure we can really hear what He says.

Illustration: Any of you watch tv, have some music on while reading a book? If you have too many skillets on the fire at the same time, you might burn something.

3. Result/purpose is not measured according to the spectacular but in the result/resolution.

4. Change our way of discerning the unusual.

Conclusion: A lot of thought, possible application and opportunity to work through this passage personally. What we can conclude is that God:

1. Is ever present…and works things out.

2.

3. Doesn’t simply move in miraculous/supernatural by grandeur manifestations.

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