1 Kings 19:11-12 - Keeping In Tune With God's Still Small Voice.
1 Kings 19:11-12 - Keeping In Tune With God's Still Small Voice.
1 Kings 19:11-12 (NKJV) Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the
mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great
and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in
pieces 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; 12 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 (NIV) 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.
1 Kings 19:11-12 (CWR) The Lord said to Elijah, "Go and stand
at the opening of the cave because I'm about to pass by." Elijah
obeyed, and as he stood there a powerful wind came from the direction of
the Lord's voice and hit the side of the mountain with such force
that it shattered some rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind came an earthquake, and the whole mountain shook, but
the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came
flames of fire that scorched the mountain so badly that Elijah ran back
into the cave for protection. But the Lord was not in the fire.
Suddenly, all was still. Then he heard a quiet, gentile voice outside.
It was the voice of the Lord.
CONTEXT: The Lord Appears to Elijah: 1 Kings 19:10-18.
APPLICATION COMMENTARY With Emphasis On Verse 12:
The "Elijah complex" can rob you of power and joy, so beware!
Elijah went from victory to defeat because he started walking by sight
and not by faith (v. 3). He believed the queen's words but not God's
word, and he forgot how God had cared for him for three and a half
years. Fear replaced faith, and he ran for his life.
He became concerned about saving himself rather than giving
himself (Mark 8:34-38; John 12:23-28). Note the sequence: "your life"
(v. 2), "his life" (v. 3), "my life" (v. 4). If he had said, "Take
my life," as an act of surrender to God, the Lord would have worked
in power; but his "Take my life" was a confession of pride and
defeat. Beware when you think you are the only faithful one left!
God taught Elijah that He does not always work in the dramatic
big events, such as the contest on Mount Carmel, but that He often
works by means of a "still small voice," ministries that are neither
big nor loud. Elijah was not forsaken, for God was with him. He was
not alone, for seven thousand people had not bowed to Baal. His work
would go on, for God had a young man ready to take his place.
We need to obey these words: "Do not be afraid; only believe"
(Mark 5:36). [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren Wiersbe re
ASPECT OF DEPRESSION
Sometimes we feel so depressed about our work and ourselves that
we wish God would call us home. Of course, had Elijah really wanted
to die, Jezebel would have gladly accommodated him. But Elijah was
not the only one to feel that way. Moses wanted to die (Num. 11:15),
and so did Job (Job 3:20-21), Jeremiah (Jer. 8:3), and Jonah (Jon.
4:3). Of course, this is not the answer to despair because it is
selfish and does not glorify God. The real answer is to die to self and
trust God to work things out. "The future is your friend when Jesus is
your Lord." [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren Wiersbe re
A book that I have suggests that "nearly everyone gets
depressed. That basic feeling of emptiness, exhaustion, and meaninglessness
is universal, crossing all borders of age, sex, and nationality."
The problem is, we sometimes don't understand our depression.
As in Elijah's case, depression can strike when everything seems to
be going extremely well. Even worse, we don't know what to do about
our depression. Is it the mark of some deep spiritual flaw? Does
depression indicate weak faith?
The story of Elijah's inexplicable bout of depression after
the victory on Carmel encourages us. If a spiritual giant like
Elijah can suffer from depression, maybe pygmies like you and I
shouldn't expect too much of ourselves.
But even more, Elijah's experience shows us how God treated
His prophet's depression and gives us clues to how we can help
When Elijah became despondent and he ran from his ministry,
God was not angry. Instead God actually provided food to sustain
Elijah while he ran (vv. 6-9). It's easy to get down on ourselves when
depression strikes. We need to remind ourselves that God is with us,
bending to sustain us rather than to condemn.
When Elijah had rested, God gave His prophet a simple task to
do (vv. 15-16). Depression often robs us of the will to act. It's
important to get up in the morning, and set out to perform our daily
When Elijah doubted and complained, God reassured him. He was
not alone, for God had reserved "seven thousand in Israel--all whose
knees have not bowed down to Baal" (v. 18). Remembering that we're not
alone in our experience can help.
Finally, God gave Elijah a friend and companion to be with him
(vv. 19-21). Having someone who cares is important, even if they
don't know what to say or do to lift our mood.
Depression is a problem for many. And there are no easy
answers. But we can lift some of the pressure on ourselves by recalling
that God still loves us, by going about our work, remembering we're
not alone, and by finding a friend who cares. NOTE: MAJOR DEPRESSION
OFTEN REQUIRES MEDICAL ATTENTION [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
Kingdom work can be challenging! You can give everything you
have to God's service and come away exhausted. This is what happened
to Elijah. God had just used Elijah to call down fire from heaven
in a spectacular display of divine power. But Elijah's exhilaration
was soon replaced by strenuous work followed by death threats,
causing him to flee for his life. Now he was alone, exhausted, and
Again, God came to Elijah. This time, He came not in fire or
in a loud, spectacular way, but in a still, small voice. God's
servant was tired, and God brought him comfort. Elijah's focus had
shifted from God to God's enemies. He had allowed his circumstances to
overwhelm him, leaving him disoriented to God and feeling alone. So God
encouraged him. God provided Elisha for him as a helper, friend, and
God removed Elijah from the activity for a time, so that he
could rest and spend time with God. When the nation next saw Elijah,
he was rejuvenated and refocused on God and His assignment.
If you are overwhelmed by kingdom work so that your focus is
no longer on God but on all that there is to do, let Him comfort
you. Listen to His gentle voice. He will encourage you and provide
exactly what you need to prepare you for what comes next. If He needs to
remove you from your work for a time, He will. He may place a friend or
colaborer beside you to help carry the load. God knows exactly how to
encourage you. Let Him do so. [Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and
Richard Blackaby re v. 14]
When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter
Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. (Acts 16:7)
What a strange thing for the Lord to prohibit, for they were
going into Bithynia to do Christ's work! And the door was shut before
them by Christ's own Spirit.
There have been times when I have experienced the same thing.
Sometimes I have been interrupted in what seemed to be guise productive
work. And at times, opposition came and forced me to go back, or
sickness came and forced me to rest in some isolated place.
During such times, it was difficult for me to leave my work
unfinished when I believed it was service done in the power of His Spirit.
But I finally remembered that the Spirit requires not only a service
of work but also a service of waiting. I came to see that in the
kingdom of Christ, there are not only times for action but times to
refrain from action. And I also came to learn that a place of isolation
is often the most useful place of all in this diverse world. Its
harvest is more rich than the seasons when the corn and wine were the
most abundant. So I have learned to thank the blessed Holy Spirit
that many a beautiful Bithynia had to be left without a visit from
Dear Holy Spirit, my desire is still to be led by You.
Nevertheless, my opportunities for usefulness seem to be disappointed, for
today the door appears open into a life of service for You but
tomorrow it closes before me just as I am about to enter. Teach me to see
another door even in the midst of the inaction of this time. Help me to
find, even in the area of service where You have closed a door, a new
entrance into Your service. Inspire me with the knowledge that a person
may sometimes be called to serve by doing nothing, by staying still,
or by waiting. And when I remember the power of Your "gentle
whisper" (1 Kings 19:12),1 will not complain that sometimes the Spirit
allows me not to go. George Matheson
When I cannot understand my Father's leading, And it seems to
be but hard and cruel fate, Still I hear that gentle whisper ever
pleading, God is working, God is faithful, ONLY WAIT. [Streams In The
Desert By Cowman]
ASPECTS OF STRESS, ANXIETY AND PANIC
Some twenty years ago a friend gave me a book entitled True
Peace. It had an old medieval message and this one primary thought--that
God was waiting in the depths of my being to speak to me if I would
only be still enough to hear His voice.
I assumed this would not be a difficult thing to do, so I
tried to be still. No sooner had I begun to do so than complete
pandemonium seemed to break loose. Suddenly I heard a thousand voices and
sounds from without and within, until I could hear nothing except these
incredible noises. Some were my own words, my own questions, and even my
own prayers, while others were temptations of the Enemy, and the
voices of the world's turmoil.
In every direction I turned, I was pushed, pulled, and
confronted with indescribable unrest and overwhelming noises. I seemed
compelled to listen to some of them and to respond in some way. But God
said, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).Then my mind was
filled with worries over my responsibilities and plans for tomorrow,
and God said again, "Be still."
As I listened and slowly learned to obey, I shut my ears to
every other sound. Soon I discovered that once the other voices
ceased, or once I ceased to hear them, "a gentle whisper" (1 Kings
19:12) began to speak in the depths of my being. And it spoke to me
with an inexpressible tenderness, power, and comfort.
This "gentle whisper" became for me the voice of prayer,
wisdom, and service. No longer did I need to work so hard to think,
pray, or trust, because the Holy Spirit's "gentle whisper" in my heart
was God's prayer in the secret places of my soul. It was His answer
to all my questions, and His life and strength for my soul and
body. His voice became the essence of all knowledge, prayer, and
blessings, for it was the living God Himself as my life and my all.
This is precisely how our spirit drinks in the life of our
risen Lord. And then we are enabled to face life's conflicts and
responsibilities, like a flower that has absorbed the cool and refreshing drops of
dew through the darkness of the night. Yet just as dew never falls
on a stormy night, the dew of His grace never covers a restless
soul. A. B. Simpson [Streams In The Desert By Cowman]
GOD'S STILL SMALL VOICE OR GENTLE WHISPER
Inner stillness is an absolute necessity to truly knowing God.
I remember learning this during a time of great crisis in my life.
My entire being seemed to throb with anxiety, and the sense of need
for immediate and powerful action was overwhelming. Yet the
circumstances were such that I could do nothing, and the person who could have
helped would not move.
For a time it seemed as if I would fall to pieces due to my
inner turmoil. Then suddenly "a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12 KJV)
whispered in the depths of my soul, "Be still, and know that I am God"
(Ps. 46:10).The words were spoken with power and I obeyed. I composed
myself, bringing my body to complete stillness, and forced my troubled
spirit into quietness. Only then, while looking up and waiting, did I
know that it was God who had spoken. He was in the midst of my crisis
and my helplessness, and I rested in Him.
This was an experience I would not have missed for anything. I
would also say it was from the stillness that the power seemed to
arise to deal with the crisis, and that very quickly brought it to a
successful resolution. It was during this crisis I effectively learned that
my "strength is to sit still." Hannah Whitall Smith
There is a perfect passivity that is not laziness. It is a
living stillness born of trust. Quiet tension is not trust but simply
compressed anxiety. Mary Rowles Jarvis [Streams In The Desert By Cowman re
Is there any note in all the music of the world as mighty as
the grand pause? Is there any word in the Psalms more eloquent than
the word "Selah," meaning pause? Is there anything more thrilling
and awe-inspiring than the calm before the crashing of the storm, or
the strange quiet that seems to fall upon nature before some
supernatural phenomenon or disastrous upheaval? And is there anything that
can touch our hearts like the power of stillness?
For the hearts that will cease focusing on themselves, there
is "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding" (Phil.
4:7); "quietness and trust" (Isa. 30:15), which is the source of all
strength; a "great peace" that will never "make them stumble" (Ps.
119:165); and a deep rest, which the world can never give nor take away.
Deep within the center of the soul is a chamber of peace where God
lives and where, if we will enter it and quiet all the other sounds,
we can hear His "gentle whisper" (1 Kings 19:12).
Even in the fastest wheel that is turning, if you look at the
center, where the axle is found, there is no movement at all. And even
in the busiest life, there is a place where we may dwell alone with
God in eternal stillness.
There is only one way to know God: "Be still, and know." "The
LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him"
(Hab. 2:20). Selected [Streams In The Desert By Cowman]
The Lord calls us to silence and inactivity if we want to know
Him intimately. If it were not necessary, He would not admonish us
to do it. The language is so simple and direct and yet we continue
to rattle off non-stop chatter as we rush along the fast-track
going our own way! Why do we do that? It takes self discipline and
the help of the Holy Spirit to be silent. Even if we close our
mouths, our minds race from one thing to another: the unexpected
meetings; the unending errands; the unwritten letters; and the unreturned
phone calls. When is the last time you set aside everything else to be
still before God? If you sincerely want to know Him intimately, you
will schedule some time soon! How about today? [In His Time; Walk
We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every
other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the
silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. He bids us,
"Be still, and know that I am God." Here alone can true rest be
found. And this is the effectual preparation for all labor for God.
Many, even in their seasons of devotion, fail of receiving the
blessing of real communion with God. They are in too great haste. With
hurried steps they press through the circle of Christ's loving presence,
pausing perhaps a moment within the sacred precincts, but not waiting
for counsel. They have no time to remain with the divine Teacher.
With their burdens they return to their work. These workers can never
attain the highest success until they learn the secret of strength.
They must give themselves time to think, to pray, to wait upon God
for a renewal of physical, mental, and spiritual power. They need
the uplifting influence of His Spirit. Receiving this, they will be
quickened by fresh life. The wearied frame and tired brain will be
refreshed, the burdened heart will be lightened. ED260,1
Sometimes we can only hear God speak when we are quiet. Elijah
knew that the sound of the gentle whisper was God's voice. He
realized that God doesn't reveal himself only in powerful, miraculous
ways. To look for God only in something big (rallies, churches,
conferences, highly visible leaders) may be to miss him, because he is often
found gently whispering in the quietness of a humbled heart. Are you
listening for God? Step back from the noise and activity of your busy
life, and listen humbly and quietly for his guidance. [Life
Quietness is essential to listening. If we are too busy to sit
in silence in His presence, if we are preoccupied with thoughts or
concerns about the day, if we have filled our minds for hour upon hour
with carnal interference and aimless chatter--then we are going to
have difficulty truly listening to that still, small voice of God.
So often we spend our prayer time by talking to the Lord,
without spending any time just waiting in silence to see what the Lord
might have to say to us. Take time to intentionally sit or kneel in
silence before the Lord. Empty your mind of all other thoughts.
Concentrate on His Word and His presence with you. Listen to His gentle
whisper as He speaks to you. [Life Principles SB By Charles Stanley re
EXCELLENT MINI-VIDEO ON THIS PASSAGE:
Making Time for Quiet Reflection: