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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Quiet Voice

The world is a noisy place. In between the clanging mumble of moments we call life, it helps to remember that the still, quiet voice of God is best heard in solitude. And it’s an important voice to find for many reasons. Whether we’re considering which direction to take amid many choices, struggling against temptation, or in between projects, the fact that God’s voice comes to us in this form can help us distinguish it from the din of earthly alternatives. In discerning God’s will, it does help to consider all the things God is not.

After successfully defeating for God the false prophets of Baal, Elijah’s life was threatened by Queen Jezebel. The great prophet ran for the wilderness of Beersheba in Judah, praying God simply take his life and that he be done with his earthly work. But God had more plans for Elijah, and so He came for a talk.

“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. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’" 1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV)

God’s voice was neither in the violent wind nor the raucous earthquake, although He certainly has the power to use such mediums when delivering a message. The same God who had answered Elijah’s prayers for fire before royalty and false prophets alike chose to speak with him alone in the wilderness. God knows us everywhere and anywhere.

And it’s good to keep this in mind as loud voices try to coerce us one way or the other. As Jesus Himself warns us, not all who attempt to persuade us are of pure intent.

“He replied, ‘Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them.” Luke 21:8 (NLT)

How will we know the truth when we hear it? How do we distinguish false threats from reality? Elijah was not fooled by false prophets, and he knew God’s voice when it spoke to him. This familiarity is born of time spent together, and it’s in the quiet of solitude which we nurture that relationship. Angry voices are not those of God, nor are those which cajole us into paths we know are wrong. And in those times when we’re most frightened or angry ourselves, it’s good to seek a silent wilderness where His voice can come and be recognized.

Copyright © 2016 Brian M. Boyce. Used by permission.

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