Thursday, April 28, 2011
Have You Heard Him Whisper?
I remember my parents listening to Bing Crosby sing "White Christmas" when I was a kid. I thought no one in the world had such a rich, baritone voice. Some of the greatest voices of all time belong to Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding. Some may even try to put Elvis on that list.
Ben Franklin wrote often about the great preacher, George Whitefield. Whitefield was a bit of a rebel in his day, choosing to preach in the open air rather than from an indoor pulpit. He would often position himself downwind so his voice would carry further. Up to 20,000 people would come to hear him preach and Ben Franklin observed that his voice could be heard up to a mile away. What a great voice!
If men can possess such voices, how great must be the voice of God? Have you ever heard him speak? The Psalmist describes his voice beautifully: "The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful. The voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon." (Psalm 29:3-4)
Have you heard the voice of the Lord lately? God doesn't often use a loud voice. God doesn't choose to compete with the noisy ambiance that surrounds us. The Lofty Almighty One would never stoop to compete for our attention. He does not fret when we ignore his voice. He is polite, he is patient and he generally speaks to us in whispers rather than shouts. If you seldom or never hear his voice it may be because you can't hear his soft whispers above the blare of the television, i-pods and the cell phones that continuously demand your attention.
Failure to hear the whispers of God in your life can leave a devastating affect. His whispers change lives. His whispers could change your destiny. If you are not attuned to the whispers of God you could miss his will. You could marry the wrong one. You could miss the right job. You could spend a good portion of your life on a rabbit trail God never intended you to be on.
After that wonderful revelation of God at Mount Carmel, Ahab came home and told Jezebel what happened. The wicked shrew was enraged. She sent a messenger to Elijah to inform him that he was as good as dead. Elijah fled to the mountains in fright. He came to Mount Sinai where he had an encounter with God.
This was the same mountain where God spoke to Moses and the people trembled at the voice and presence of God. Elijah began whining to God, "The people have rejected you. They have rebelled and point prophets to death and now I am the only man of God left and they are determined to kill me too." God told Elijah to climb the mountain and wait.
When trouble comes into our lives, when we are desperately in need of direction, when confusion seems to overcome us it is wise to climb the mountain and wait. " Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him." (Psalm 105:4)
Have you ever been frustrated trying to call someone and they just won't answer their phone. Caller id allows the receiver to identify the caller and a refusal to answer is sometimes taken as a personal affront. "I know they know it's me, why won't they talk to me?"
God had caller id before AT&T. He knows when we call upon him and he never ignores the voices of his own children.
Elijah climbed Mt. Sinai and waited for God to speak. "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. After the earthquake came the fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave." (1 Kings 19:11-12)
God's voice whispered to Elijah, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
"Lord, I'm the last prophet standing."
God assured Elijah that there were 7,000 people in the northern kingdom who were still faithful to him.
One moment, perhaps when you least expect it, the voice of God will whisper to your heart. It may happen today, it may be while you are driving to work or while you are doing house work or mowing the lawn. But it's most likely to happen when you are quiet.
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.