Sunday February 9, 2020 | Osheta Moore
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.
When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that
he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread
baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the
journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 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 his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
This past weekend in Osheta’s sermon, “Everyday Whispers of Encouragement” we take a deeper look at “the still, small voice” of God. We focus on the story of Elijah hearing God in a whisper, and how this passage can give us guidance today on how we can tune our ears in order to have ears to hear.
In this sermon, Osheta addresses how we can better listen to God’s “still, small voice.” This is based on the story about Elijah in 1 Kings 19, where we read about Elijah’s encounter with prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. It was basically a cosmic showdown to determine whose God was true and powerful. There are two altars, one for Baal and one for Yahweh. The prophets of Baal called on their God, but nothing happened, even though they expressed themselves with great fanfare. On the other hand, Elijah offered a simple prayer, and the fire of God consumed the offering on the alter.
It is on the hills of this encounter where we read about God speaking in a still, small voice. Elijah was on the run in fear of his life because of the threats of Queen Jezebel. In the midst of fear for his life, he was needing the comfort of God, which Jesus tells us is the comfort of the Holy Spirit. In John 14, we read: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26 KJV)
In the encounter between God and Elijah, we see four specific things:
1. When we’re ready to Listen Up, the Spirit comes alongside us to remind us to take care of ourselves. This is seen in God’s command to “get up and eat.” The Lord provided sustenance to take care of Elijah’s needs and he continues to do this for us today. We must simply get up and receive what God has offered.
2. When we’re ready to Listen Up, the Spirit invites us into the wilderness to give up distractions. Many see the wilderness as a problem, but actually this is a space and time when we can lean into God and allow him to minister to us.
3. When we’re ready to Listen Up, the Spirit comes alongside us to invite us to process our deepest pain. Sometimes, God listen’s first. We see this in God’s question to Elijah when he asked, “What are you doing here?” This is God invitation to pay attention to what is going on inside us.
4. When we are ready to Listen Up, the Spirit comes alongside us to hear the voice of God. This is when we hear the “still, small voice.” Each person has a unique word that the Spirit is offering to meet a specific need.
At the end of this sermon, Osheta introduced the practice of Lectio Divina as a way of listening to God’s still, small voice through Scripture.