We have all heard over and over the story of Elijah, in a cave on the mountain. God speaks to Elijah in a still, small voice (v 12). We know that we need to quiet ourselves, our own inner voice so to speak, in order to hear His still, small voice. Elijah was in a place of discouragement while in the cave, feeling as though he were the only one left serving God. While in these moments of despair, we know that it is all too easy to listen to the wrong voices. We know we have to intentionally tune out that noise, and focus on what He is saying to us. But have we ever gone past that, and stopped to consider WHY God chose to communicate to Elijah in that manner? We can see in the previous verses that, while he was up on the mountain, the Lord passed by and there was a windstorm, an earthquake, and a fire. It’s repeated clearly that the Lord was NOT in the windstorm, NOT in the earthquake, and NOT in the fire. These mighty acts are where we expect God to show Himself to us. After all, He had just displayed His Awesome Power on Mount Carmel! Instead, God spoke to Elijah quietly. The New Living Translation calls it a “gentle whisper”. Is it possible that God chose this manner of communication not only to remind us to attune ourselves to His voice, but also because he is NEAR? When you are sitting beside someone, shoulder to shoulder, do you shout at them? No! In those intimate conversations with our loved ones, we speak quietly, acknowledging the physical nearness of the other person. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:13 that the blood of Jesus has brought us NEAR to Him! Because He died, we have the privilege of not just worshipping and serving Him from afar, but of having a close, intimate relationship with Him. A relationship in which God does not need to display powerful acts and show us mighty signs to communicate with us, but rather a still, small voice – a whisper – to show us how near He truly is.
Remember how Elijah was feeling down and discouraged and all alone in the cave? God was NEAR to Him in those moments. In those times, it isn’t always easy to feel God close to us. In fact, often it feels like He is farthest away when we are in a place of discouragement. But it is then that God has reminded us he is close (Psalms 34:18). He is right there beside us, so close in fact that He can so much as whisper and we can hear Him speak.
The ability to tune out distractions and the noise around us is important in order to hear God’s still, small voice. But may we also be encouraged, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, of social distancing, the unknown, loneliness, fear, worry, anxiety, stress, and perhaps even sickness for many – that the Lord has never stopped drawing near to us. Even when we are not gathering together as a church body, or hearing from the man of God as often as we are used to, God is still speaking. He is NEAR enough for us to hear Him when He whispers! All we need to do is listen.