Verse of the Year

Below is a re-post from my guidance blog.

11 And He said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and 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.12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.[a]
1 Kings 19:11-12

Growing up, one of my favorite videos to watch was a retelling of Elijah and how he defeated the prophets of Baal. Elijah had made an altar to God and the prophets of Baal had made one, too. Only silence came from Baal, but God sent a fire that not only consumed His altar but also the prophets. The video ends with Elijah triumphantly praising God and an end to the horrific drought Israel had been experiencing for several years.

But that’s not the end of the story. Even though Elijah was on a spiritual high from God showing who was boss to the pagans, he lost it immediately when Queen Jezebel kindly informed him that he was a dead man walking. He ran off to the desert, and after wandering for forty days, he winds up at Mount Sinai, where we find him in the verses above.

He had no idea where to go from there. I’m sure that during those forty days, he was trying to figure out what God wanted him to do. So when he finally heard from God to start listening, I’m sure he was on pins and needles.

He stood at the entrance to his cave, and waited. Suddenly, a huge wind came out of nowhere and causes an avalanche of rocks. Next came an earthquake, and then a fire. Elijah was probably thinking that God was going to shout out to him with the earthquake, wind, or fire. God had already spoken through fire at the altar.

But after each occurrence (natural disaster, really) we are told that “God wasn’t in them”. Instead, there was a “low whisper”; one translation calls it a “delicate whispering voice”.

How often do we come to a fork in the road, an ethical dilemma, or a crisis, and wait for God to tell us what to do? We pray that God would give us a sign, or the preacher would speak just the right words, or for a figurative lightning bolt of inspiration.

Stories in the Bible where God communicated His will in miraculous ways—parting the Red Sea, turning water to wine, and a voice from heaven—are easy to remember. But these are the exception, not the norm. God speaks to us through His Word—it’s the divine whisper of direction.

In Isaiah 55, God says His Word “shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it”. Psalm 19 says that “the Word of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes”, and Proverbs 30 says “every Word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him”.

I’ve picked this passage as the theme for the 2013-2014 school year because I need reminding that God doesn’t always use the big stuff to help me with the big decisions. So often, I am at a loss at what to do, and I look up in the sky and ask God to give me a sign, when I really need to look down on my desk and into the pages of my Bible. It’s my prayer that when you are faced with a major decision this year, you listen to the delicate whispering voice that has enough power to part the Red Sea and send fire from heaven.

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