Wasn’t in the lightning, wasn’t in the strong wind
Wasn’t in the mountain that crumbled to the ground
Wasn’t in the earthquake that shook the hillside
Just a still small voice turned this man around.
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are.”
1 Corinthians 1:27-28
This verse was really brought to life for me earlier this year as I was reading the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings. Elijah called fire down from heaven and for the first time in three and a half years, it rained. But instead of the spiritual revival that was needed in the nation, just as badly as they needed the rain – Queen Jezebel threatened Elijah, leaving him to run for his life. One hundred miles later, he petitioned God to end his life…but the Lord had something different in mind. The Scripture says that, “The angel of the LORD came…and touched him, and said, ‘Arise and eat.’” Food and sleep was the prescription the Lord gave Elijah’s weary soul. Unfortunately, it didn’t improve his attitude. For, the next time we see Elijah, he is sitting in a cave, and when the Lord asked him what he was doing there, he whined, “I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” C. H. Mackintosh writes of this, “This was the strain in which the disappointed prophet spoke from his cave on Mount Horeb. He seems to have looked upon himself as the only one that had done, or was doing, anything for God.”*
What we see next, is the Lord doing something to woo Elijah back to Himself, and what He uses, is remarkable.
11- And he (God) said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks 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.
13- And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”
Before we go any farther I want to point this out, when the Lord told Elijah to go stand before Him on the mountain side in verse 11, Elijah didn’t do it – he disobeyed. (We know this because Elijah didn’t go out of the cave until verse 13.)
So what was it that finally urged Elijah to obey and stand before the Lord? – The still small voice. What causes him to wrap his face in his mantle? – the voice of God. The Scripture states specifically that the LORD was not in any of the other things: the wind, earthquake or fire. I find this ironic, because in the world’s eyes, those things would be considered impressive. They would be considered things worthy of our time to notice. On the other hand, the world scoffs at Believers who listen for the still small voice. Anything small, isn’t worth our time, says the world. Yet, we see an interesting phenomena with Elijah – not one of those impressive things spoke to the anguish in his heart, the frustration in his voice or the desperate situation he found himself in. But the voice of God did. I see our Lord using the philosophy of this verse in 1 Corinthians to teach Elijah a lesson. Calling fire down from heaven is a massive feat indeed, yea, impressive. But fire can’t bring souls to God, only His voice can. Elijah was depending on one solitary action to bring a nation out of idolatry and into a walk with the Almighty. But what the Lord is saying is, “Elijah, miracles and a show of power is great, but what people need more is Me.” Then the Lord put Elijah in a position where he could respond to the shows of power or God’s voice – and he picked the voice. He picked one of the “weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” The earthquake was mighty, but God’s voice was small. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that we don’t have a mighty God, because we do! But He knows our weak frames, and that sometimes, we don’t need something mighty, rather, a small, gentle voice that is unmistakably His.)
What I’m trying to say is this: we don’t need to fill every seat in the auditorium at the next concert for the Lord to speak to someone. We don’t need to have the pews full every time the church doors are open (though that would be nice!). We don’t have to worry about the size of the next revival or crusade. Nor count the every person who comes to the altar. We don’t need to the world to say, “Hey! Look at what they’re doing over there…hmmm, very impressive.” The only thing we need for any of the activities mentioned above to be a true success – is the voice of God. The plagues didn’t make the Egyptians believe in God. Calling fire from heaven didn’t change Ahab ’s heart. The miracles on the mountain side didn’t make Elijah obey – but as this song says, “Just a still small voice turned this man around.”
That small voice is still turning men and woman around today!