Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Language of God: Still small voice

Here is a series you might enjoy: The Language of God. In the bible, God spoke in a number of ways to His people, or to announce His presence, or His displeasure. Weather was one of the ways He spoke. Since God is the same today, yesterday and forever, it stands to reason that He might be speaking in some of the same ways today. But do we hear Him through the clutter? Do we listen for Him to speak in these same ways? The world has changed, but He has not. Here are previous entries in the series-

The Language of God: Thunder
The Language of God: Earthquakes
The Language of God: Lightning
The Language of God: Fire & Brimstone
The Language of God: Hail

Today we will examine the Language of God: The Still Small Voice!

It is a given that God is powerful. He has spoken in a number of ways that are loud! Thunder, hail, lightning, earthquake and fire are very noisy. You can't miss hearing those! In addition, Psalm 29 shows us from His own Word more ways He speaks:

Psalm 29, various verses--

The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful, The voice of the LORD is majestic.

The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire.

The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; The LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve And strips the forests bare; And in His temple everything says, “Glory"

The cedars of Lebanon were sturdy trees up to 130 feet tall. It would take a mighty voice to break those!

But then there is this voice: "Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces 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 a still small voice." (1 Kings 19:11-12)

The LORD breaks rocks! He topples cedars! He quakes the earth! The LORD is mighty, there is no doubt about that. But He is a personal God, too. He is not remote, dwelling on Olympus remotely and capriciously messing up men's affairs for their own entertainment's sake.


He is with us, that is His name: Emmanuel, God with us! When He wants to speak to our soul, to our heart, He speaks in a still small voice. He is loving of all humanity and He seeks to speak to us in the quiet of our hearts via the scriptures. To "hear" Him when you study, a person should be quiet themselves. "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)

Though we pride ourselves these days on multitasking, we are really overdue for a de-cluttering. God comes in second oftentimes.


All that noise drowns out God's still, small voice by distracting us from His word. When we start listening to other things besides God then the still small voice that penetrates the clutter will be satan's, hissing, "Hath God really said...?" Once our ears are plugged up with secular, pagan noise, then our eyes are taken off God and we drift away from the straight and narrow path.

Get your attention away from the tumult of the natural and unnatural world, and carve out a quiet space to listen to God by reading your bible. One way we do that is in the prayer closet. When you pray, you talk, but then how much do you listen for a response? Do you stay in a pose of quiet contemplation, focusing on the attributes of God while you wait on Him? Or is there music going on in the background? Television? Is your cell phone on?

Another way to hear His still, small voice is by reading the Word. Again, make sure the tumult is off. Read, and when you feel an impression, or when it seems that you want to ponder a verse for a while, it may indeed be the still small voice of the Holy Spirit calling attention to a deeper truth He wants to impart to your mind by conforming you to Christ from what He has already revealed on the page.

I'm amazed by the speed and noise of our world today. When I was little, 40-35 years ago, the number one television program was Little House on the Prairie. If you watch it now, it seems unbearably slow and too stodgy and quiet. That is because it isn't fast-paced, it didn't have jazzy music and the editing preferred long slow scenes instead of quick cuts. But 35 years ago was not that long ago. Nowadays if something isn't happening on the tv, DVD, Playstation, Wii, cell phone or Twitter it seems like life has stopped. Our brains have gotten used to faster and when we study the Bible life at that moment should be slower.

Our God is a personal God. He speaks to us in the quiet of our studying the Word. Shhh.


5 comments :

  1. I definitely needed to read this. Thank you!

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  2. “Get your attention away from the tumult of the natural and unnatural world, and carve out a quiet space to listen to God by reading your bible. One way we do that is in the prayer closet. When you pray, you talk, but then how much do you listen for a response? Do you stay in a pose of quiet contemplation, focusing on the attributes of God while you wait on Him?

    Huh?? ???? Are you suggesting that God speaks to us outside His Word in that still small voice? If yes, isn't that what the Be Still video with Beth Moore is teaching as well?

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    1. No. I am not teaching that.
      I did say "listen to God by reading your bible."

      I also said in the next sentence: "Another way to hear His still, small voice is by reading the Word. Again, make sure the tumult is off. Read, and when you feel an impression, or when it seems that you want to ponder a verse for a while, it may indeed be the still small voice calling attention to a deeper truth He wants to impart from what he has already revealed."

      And in the next paragraph- "He is loving of all humanity and He seeks to speak to us in the quiet of our hearts via the scriptures".

      In the 3 examples I drove the prayer warrior to the bible, not to hearing a voice. If I'd said 'He seeks to speak to us in the quiet of our hearts' and left off 'via the scriptures', I could see where your confusion would enter in.
       
      As for the response from God regarding prayer, my point was, to focus on what we are doing, which is speaking to Holy God and not to multitask. To be 'watching' and seeing where God answers so that we can praise Him.

      Here is GotQuestions on prayer. It is answering the question of what did it mean when Jesus said "Watch and pray" so many times?

      Jesus warned us that we are too easily distracted by the physical and will be caught unaware if we do not continually discipline ourselves. In the Garden of Gethsemane, sleepiness overcame the disciples. Their physical need overpowered their desire to obey Him. He was grieved when He saw this, knowing what was ahead for them. If they did not remain spiritually vigilant, in tune with Him (John 15:5) and ready to deny the flesh, they would be overcome by the evil one (1 Peter 5:8).

      Jesus’ disciples today must also watch and pray. We are easily distracted by this world, our fleshly needs and desires, and the schemes of the enemy (2 Corinthians 2:11). When we take our eyes from Jesus and His soon return, our values begin to shift, our attention wanders, and soon we are living like the world and bearing little fruit for God’s kingdom (1 Timothy 6:18–19). He warned us that we must be ready at any moment to stand before Him and give an account of our lives (Romans 14:12; 1 Peter 4:5; Matthew 12:36).
      -----------------------end GotQuestions------------------------

      THAT is what I meant by be still. I hate that the false ones have co-opted be still as much as the gay lobby has co-opted the rainbow. When Jesus prayed, he didn't stand in the midst of the throng and throw up a prayer to God. He always sought a quiet hill or a spot away from everyone. This is what it means to tune out the distractions and settle down into a prayerful attitude of mind, body, spirit all devoted to one thing: worshiping God in prayer.

      Here is GotQuestions on what is a prayer closet

      Some have taken the admonition literally. They set aside a room or a quiet corner in their homes, furnish it with a comfortable chair, table, Bible, and maybe a notebook, and use that corner for a regular prayer time. That’s certainly appropriate, but the fact that the room Jesus referred to most likely meant a pantry gives us a little more flexibility. A “prayer closet” might be a daily commute, a bench in the back yard, or the kitchen table. John Wesley’s mother is said to have sat in a chair and thrown her apron over her head as a sign to her kids to leave her alone. Jesus usually went to a secluded hillside. The point is that the “closet” is free from interruption, distraction, and listening ears.
      --------------------------------end GotQuestions--------------------------------

       If you have read my blog for very long you know for sure I never advocate that people seek a personal Divine response, nor that it's normal to hear directly from God.

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    2. Phew. Thanks so much, Elizabeth, for clarifying this subject. I couldn’t imagine after reading other entries that that’s what you were saying but sometimes a little clarity is needed. When I discovered your blog, I was delighted to find good, solid commentary and teaching and I have been parked here for the whole summer. When I happened on to the "The Language of God Series" and read that section my heart literally sank. So many Christians today claim, God told me this and God told me that. I can’t say how many times I have heard others say that one should sit quietly during prayer and listen to see what God will tell you. (My pastor’s wife for one!!)

      My husband and I have been in ministry now for well over 30 years. He is an elder and associate pastor in our local, non-denominational church. We have been in this church for 23 years now and have battled the error that has tried to slip in. It is growing harder and we are both growing weary! God has faithfully removed wolves from our congregation but it has left some scars. I literally stand amazed at how the Lord has answered our prayers in this area. He is jealous for the truth and we must guard it with all perseverance. But isn’t it amazing how innocently error creeps in? We love our brothers and sisters in our fellowship and desire that they be taught in truth. It breaks my heart that anyone would fall into error and be deceived.

      In the area where we live, there is a large dearth of good, solid teaching of the pure Word of God. Our whole town has bought into the church growth/ purpose driven model. The most attended church in our area is one which gives away prizes and advertises on billboards with hip ads and catchy slogans. Our own senior pastor has been tempted to buy into some “new things” and my husband has gone head to head with him over the Biblical lack of evidence for such a way to do ministry. A few years ago another church was hosting Mark Virkler and our own pastor and his wife were going to see him. In fact, there was an announcement in our bulletin about it, inviting our congregation to go as well. (If you have never heard of this man, he is the worst of the worst. He tends to fly under the radar but is truly a wolf!) Praise God, again that was stopped and our people protected. He is faithful.

      Now that you know from wince I come, you can imagine that I am rather “touchy” about what I read and who I read and listen to. It’s getting harder and harder. The apostasy is growing. I believe that one of the ways that we Christians can get caught up in error is to “listen” to that small voice inside us. I have been serving God faithfully for over 45 years and I can honestly say I have heard a voice that I know was God only once! It was in reference to my marrying my husband. And that did come to be. So can God speak to us personally that way? Yes. But not generally. I fully hold to Hebrews 1: 1-2! I would never follow and obey some voice in my head! He speaks loudly to me through His Word!!!

      So God bless you Elizabeth as you continue to fight the good fight. This sister in Christ is with you and as the Day approaches, let us not grow weary in doing good. –Tammy

      PS: I praise God for some wonderful preaching on the internet. John McArthur and Mike Fabarez are two of my favorites.

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    3. Hello Tammy,

      I am so sorry for using language that gave you a fright, and I can completely understand why: I wasn't clear. Thank YOU for asking.

      Thank you also for your good fight, your lengthy ministry, and for submitting to the Lord for His strength and wisdom. It's hard to stay the course, I know. That you have is a testament to His faithfulness.

      I apologize again for my unclear language, I certainly do not want to confuse anyone. Thank you for sharing. :)

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