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Listening for the Voice of God

Listening for the Voice of God

by Tim McKnight
- Bible Reading, Bible Study, Devotional, Holy Spirit, Prayer, Quiet Time

I love the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-46). God manifested His power in a mighty way. He sent fire from heaven to consume the offering that Elijah laid on the altar. He showed that He is the one true God and that Baal is just a powerless idol. 

Elijah’s response to God’s miraculous work was to flee to a cave at Mount Horeb so that he could hide from Jezebel. While in the cave, God spoke to Elijah, telling him to get out of the cave and stand in the Lord’s presence. Then a powerful scene unfolded.

Then he said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.” At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs 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 there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. 1 Kings 19:11-13 (CSB)

I’m struck by the fact that God spoke to Elijah in a whisper. He didn’t speak in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. Instead, He spoke in a still small voice. 

Whenever I read this story, I’m struck by the reality that I could fail to hear the voice of God speaking into my life. Now, I’m not talking about an audible voice, but about the illumination of the Holy Spirit and His guidance in my life. Primarily, God’s still small voice is heard when we spend time with Him in Bible intake and prayer. He speaks through His Word. 

As we read the Word of God, the Holy Spirit fulfills His role as the Great Teacher who leads us to all truth. He illuminates the Word of God and helps us to apply it to our lives. But, we’ve got to be listening for that still small voice as we read and pray.

It’s important that we separate our time with God from any of the other things we do in the day. We often can become so busy with tasks that we allow the noise of our business to drown out the voice of God. 

We need to set time aside to read the Word of God daily and pray. In order to concentrate, it might be necessary for us to go to a quiet place where we won’t be interrupted by the noise of the day. We need to separate from the cell phone or the home phone and focus upon Scripture and prayer.

As we read the Bible and pray, God speaks through the still small voice of His Holy Spirit to teach, guide, and counsel us as we seek to follow Christ. 

If we want to live like Jesus, we need to have that daily quiet time of Bible intake and prayer.

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