What makes it difficult to hear God’s voice?
We get busy, distracted, overwhelmed, enamored, we find ourselves too tired, angry, lonely or hungry, we get depressed or disinterested…
In 1 Kings 19:3-12 we read a story about Elijah depressed, afraid and running- after experiencing a high, a victory, an undeniable experience… After seeing God clearly, Elijah experiences the anger and threats of Queen Jezebel and it’s like air out of a balloon. What goes up must come down; and he did, hard.
“I’ve had enough”
Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, atown in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life…” – 1 Kings 19:3-4
Have you ever been there?
When was the last time you said “I’ve had enough” -How did you feel? Elijah was overwhelmed by fear, he was afraid. He also let himself get to hungry, too angry, too lonely & too tired.
Then he lay down and slept under the broom-tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.- 1 Kings 19:5-6
God sent an angel to minister to him. Basic needs were taken care of; Elijah slept, he ate, he drank. He was also encouraged by the kind words of the angel.
What does this tell us about the character of God?
God is concerned about Elijah’s basic needs. Those were first, then other things. We often think we are left alone, forsaken, but here’s a great example of God’s care. Like Jesus said “Don’t think about what you’ll eat or drink- your Father knows all your needs…”
So he got up and ate and drank, and that food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. – 1 Kings 19:8-9
Now catch what is said here: Elijah ate and drank and “that food gave him enough strength to travel 40 days” – This is no doubt one of those places that influenced Tolkien’s “elven bread” in the LOTR series. This was not just natural food for Elijah but spiritual food as well, supernatural food.
God finds us, feeds us, & brings us back to a place where we can hear Him!
Elijah had allowed himself to get in a place where he felt alone, cut off from God, unable to hear God’s voice. But God ministered to him where he was and gave him strength to get to where he needed to be- in the presence of God, to a place where he could hear God; Mount Sinai,where Moses heard the voice of God.
But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”- 1 Kings 19:9-10
We let other things keep us from hearing God
He felt alone, abandoned, he was disheartened at all he saw before him- a nation gone astray from their God. He’d seen many friends and contemporaries put to death under an evil king and queen. Often we feel God is far away and wonder why He doesn’t speak or show up. But the problem is we often let our circumstances, our fear & our condition speak louder and drown us from hearing.
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. (V 11-12)
Sometimes we think God will speak to us in some big way but that was not Elijah’s experience.
…And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper, a still small voice. (V 12)
What does Elijah’s story tell us about hearing God?
When do we find it difficult to hear God? When is it more easy?
Once God had refreshed Elijah, he sought to be in God’s presence, to be connected to God by going to a place where His presence could be found, in this case Mount Sinai. Still, quiet, listening for God and seeking His presence- Elijah was able to hear; Unafraid, at peace, at home with God.