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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Still, Small Voice

In the ultimate encounter of Elijah with the prophets of baal, and after fire fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the stones and licked the water out of the trench Elijah had built, the evil Queen Jezebel said she would kill Elijah in kind for his having the hundreds of prophets of Baal slain. Elijah could not believe what he was hearing. He fled into the wilderness in hiding.


He was so discouraged that he asked God to let him die. Elijah thought he was the only one in Israel who heard from God. The Almighty assured this troubled prophet that there were an additional 7000 who had not bowed their knee or kissed the demonic god of Baal.


In the encounter of Elijah with the Angel of the LORD who had prepared a meal for the troubled Prophet, he again fell into a troubled sleep. The Angel awoke Elijah again, fed him and sent him on his way to Mt. Horeb. At the Mount, an interesting event occurred that is still studied by Bible scholars. It can be interpreted in several ways. Here are some thoughts I had today while musing over the event as recorded in Scripture. May God forgive my misinterpretation if there are any:


Elijah was hiding in a cave. The Angel of the LORD again came to him and asked him what he was doing there? He was instructed to go forth and stand upon the mount before the LORD. ( 1 Kings 19) The LORD passed by and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the mountain and rocks; but the LORD was not in the wind.


An earthquake occurred but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. Then, out of no where, a still, small voice. The voice of the LORD! This is the only passage of Scripture where this Hebrew word for "still " is used in the entire Bible. It means, a calm, silent, quite voice. Can you even imagine the contrast of just experiencing a strong wind that tore into a mountain, an earthquake and then a fire? How jarring to the soul of Elijah this voice must have been!


The Hebrew word for "small voice" means a very little thing, very thin. Almost a whisper, it seems. The only other time this word for "small" is used in the Old Testament is found in Leviticus 16:12, on the and this word for small represented the incense of the Priest being full of sweet incense beaten "small", to bring it within the veil of the Holy of Holies once a year. Incense represented the prayers of the saints.



And the other occurrence of the word "small" is found in the Book of Exodus in a description of the manna that fell from heaven for the Children of Israel in their wilderness travels. Exodus 16:14 says, " And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the Wilderness there lay a "small" round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground..." It was manna.


Christ said that He was the manna that fell from the heavens that sustained the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings. This manna was only as thick as the layer of frost that covers the ground on a chilly morning. The incense of the High Priest was beaten so fine that it was only a layer in his hands as he entered the Holy of Holies.


This still, small voice that Elijah heard is the same voice we hear on a daily basis if we are serious about following Christ and meeting His need to use our arms, legs and body on this earth. We are His representatives on this troubled planet. Matthew Henry, who lived many hundred of years ago and devoted his life to the Hebrew and Greek scriptural interpretations said that this "still, small voice" Christ spoke of is our conscience.



If we stay tuned to the sound of His voice, the voice of the Spirit, we can learn whether to go to the left or go to the right, as Christ said. He did not leave us as orphans; He sent another to take His place to assist us. We must stay tuned to His channel! It is not an easy or casual exercise. Christ said quite often, "He who has an ear to hear, let him hear...." He was serious!



Getting back to Elijah and his bout with feeling he was the only one; God told him to anoint another to take his place. He found Elisha plowing a field with twelve oxen. Elisha was standing behind the twelfth oxen. He was not in front expecting the oxen to follow him; he was overseeing the entire plowing team from the last oxen to the first. To me, this is a sign of humility. He was concerned for the entire team that they operated in unison. And I feel that God was teaching Elijah a very important lesson; you are not the only one!! I can appoint and raise up another at My will.


Still, in an act of intimate kindness and graciousness, on the day of Elijah's departure, God from the heavens sent fiery horses and a chariot to take His prophet home! What a picture of the Rapture for all Believers. No wonder Christ said, Look up! For your redemption is near!

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