My blog posts this month are about listening to God.
He speaks to servants who listen.
But sometimes God whispers.
Why is that?
GOD’S WHISPER IS PERSONAL
When did you last whisper to someone?
Chances are, it was someone you love. We don’t whisper in the ears of strangers. God whispers to those he loves too.
Scripture records God’s whispered voice in 1 Kings 19. This is one of the most touching passages in the Bible.
Elijah’s experience with God took place after his public stand against the prophets of Baal. The Lord had shown himself to the people when Elijah’s altar was consumed by fire from heaven. Everyone witnessed the power of God, and the prophets of Baal were defeated and killed. But, when Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life, the prophet was afraid and fled into the hills.
Elijah traveled for forty days and ended up in a cave on Mount Sinai. Some commentaries suggest it could have been the cave on Mount Sinai, the cave where Moses had met with God. When God wanted to whisper to his prophet, he took him to a place where he knew Elijah would listen.
When God whispers, his words are personal and private. They are his message to you, before they become a message for others.
GOD’S WHISPER HAS A PURPOSE
There have been countless sermons and books from this passage about Elijah. The prophet was afraid, dejected, depressed, and alone, and this is soon after he had prayed for fire from heaven. The people who saw the miracle recognized the power of God, but the prophet was still afraid of Jezebel’s threats.
Elijah has always been considered the great prophet of Israel. It is just like God to provide his people with a story like Elijah’s so that every generation would learn from his example. People tend to look for greatness in other people, in other things. Every prophet, from Elijah to today, is simply a human being whose greatness is a product of God’s.
Elijah was in a cave when an angel of the Lord came to him and said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord” (1 Kings 19:11). God wanted to speak a personal message to Elijah, meet his needs, and direct his path. God was going to whisper to the prophet, and he wanted Elijah to listen.
God still whispers his purpose and plans to his people today.
GOD’S WHISPER IS POWERFUL
Elijah stood before the Lord, and “he passed by.” Scripture says that “a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke 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” (1 Kings 19:11–12).
Everyone has needed to alter their life this past year. I have masks in my car, in my purse, and in my home. A lot of God’s people, myself included, have looked at this past year and wondered if the Lord were speaking to our American culture. My only answer to that question is maybe.
On the other hand, if I stand on the mountain with Elijah, I see things differently.
Are we supposed to look for God in a virus, in the news, in the government, and in the storms? What if God wants us to seek his voice in the quiet?
After the wind, the earthquake, and the fire, there was “the sound of a low whisper” (1 Kings 19:12). The Bible says, “when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out” (v. 13).
God’s voice was most powerful when it was most personal.
God’s words to Elijah were whispered because the prophet was close and listening. That’s why Elijah covered his head. God was so near that the prophet was careful to be reverent. In that moment, nothing else mattered except hearing God’s quiet voice.
When God whispers to us, it is for our ears only—and we should strain to catch every word.
GOD’S WHISPER IS OUR PEACE
God spoke directly to Elijah’s needs. Elijah felt alone and dejected. As a prophet, he was supposed to convince people of their need for God and help them return to faith and obedience. But, when Elijah called fire from heaven, giving proof of God’s existence, he only made Jezebel more of an enemy. Elijah needed to measure success differently.
God told Elijah to return and anoint new kings over Israel and Judah. God also told him to anoint Elisha as the new prophet for these kings. Then God told Elijah which king would be responsible for Elisha’s death.
God didn’t whisper that everything would be fine. He told Elijah that most of the people would not change, but some would. God said, “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).
God didn’t whisper that everything would be fine. God whispered his will, and Elijah was fine.
GOD’S WHISPER IS HIS WORD
Do you expect God will whisper to you?
Our generation of faith is blessed to have access to his word every moment of every day. We can Google a verse, grab a Bible, or download a sermon at any time. Never in history has God’s word been more available to people. But access to God’s word doesn’t mean people will be convinced.
This is an important time in history to remember that Jesus said, “The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14). Our promise is never most. In fact, it isn’t even many. Success is measured as some, those who hear and receive the truth about salvation in Christ.
Take a moment to draw close to Jesus.
Then allow him to whisper his words to you.
Hear Jesus quietly say, “The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Allow his words to be personal and powerful and to bring you peace—if you have chosen to walk that narrow path.
Allow the whisper to remind you that you are close to his voice, and the Lord will strengthen you to walk his purpose, regardless of others’ opinions.
And listen closely for God to guide you to the people who need to hear that the Savior died for them too.
God still whispers his words to those who will listen.
God’s whisper is his word to you.
Draw close—and listen.