Have You Heard a Still Small Voice?
by Tom Stewart
August 14, 1999
When Elijah confronted the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel,
he boldly stood alone to challenge the nation of Israel to return to the Living God. "And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How
long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then
follow him" (1Kings 18:21). Agreeing with the assembled
people that the God "that answereth by
fire" (18:24) to kindle the sacrifice of Baal's prophets
or of Elijah's, "let him be God" (18:24). The LORD prevented Satan from kindling a fire under the 450 prophets'
sacrifice, while Elijah's water drenched offering was magnificently consumed "that this people may know that Thou art the LORD God,
and that Thou hast turned their heart back again" (18:37).
The people responded in awe, "The LORD,
He is the God; the LORD, He is the God" (1Kings 18:39).
Elijah then directed the people to kill the prophets of Baal. "Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And
they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there" (18:40).
If the story ends there, Elijah has just succeeded in turning the people of Israel back to the Living God from the worship of Baal. But, Elijah receives a threat from the wicked Queen Jezebel, that she would have him killed "by to morrow about this time" (1Kings 19:2). Elijah succumbs to fear and flees for his life into the wilderness. Certainly, the LORD is not pleased with Elijah's fear, but He is gentle in restoring him to faith. The Angel of the LORD ministers to Elijah's physical needs, i.e., "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee" (19:7). Then, the LORD interrogates Elijah. "What doest thou here, Elijah?" (19:9). Arguing that he has been jealous for the LORD, Elijah insists, "I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away" (19:10). The LORD responds with a strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire (19:11-12) to show His Power, but He chooses to speak through "a Still Small Voice" (19:12). Though Elijah repeats his defense, the LORD commissions Elijah to anoint a new king of Syria, a new king of Israel, and Elisha-- to be his replacement (19:15-16). Then the LORD-- the Still Small Voice (19:12)-- proceeds to take away the last vestige of Elijah's fear of being all alone. "Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him" (19:18).
Later in Israel's history, the prophet Isaiah also dealt with the waywardness of the nation. "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of Me" (Isaiah 30:1). After threatening the nation, the LORD woos them with the graciousness that He offers to bestow upon them. "And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of Judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him" (30:18). Then, the LORD alludes to the promised Spirit of the New Covenant. "And thine ears shall hear a Word behind thee, saying, This is The Way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (30:21). Like Elijah's Still Small Voice (1Kings 19:12), Isaiah's "Word behind thee" (Isaiah 30:21) is the Voice of God to His people.
Today, we have multitudes of people that claim to be hearing the Voice of God. And, to many, the LORD repeats that they have heard a word, "but not of Me" (Isaiah 30:1). Recently, I encountered an older gentleman, a retired military officer, who explained the concept of his Christianity with expletives. Though I pointed out to him that the New Testament was clear that our speech was not to be profane, i.e., "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by Heaven, neither by the Earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation" (James 5:12), he proceeded unscathed to elaborate a prophetic scheme that would culminate in the return of Jesus Christ in 2003 to 2005 AD. Astonished that this seemingly irreligious man would have that much of an opinion about prophecy, I enquired how he arrived at this conclusion. "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?" (Isaiah 8:19). He then informed me that he heard a voice speaking to him in the morning hours, and that he felt himself transported through time and space at immense speeds. I, then, referred him to the Scripture that guards us from communing with demons. "To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no Light in them" (8:20). Even the demons are aware that the time is short.
It is no mystery that the LORD Jesus Christ is the Living Word that "was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). He promised and gave His people the Holy Spirit of the New Covenant. "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever" (14:16). That Holy Spirit is the Divine Means to instruct the True Saints of the coming events of prophecy. "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come" (16:13). By simply comparing the known Word of God to whatever anyone professes to teach us, we may determine the validity of any teaching. "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with Spiritual" (1Corinthians 2:13). Whenever any proposed teaching disagrees with the known Scriptures, we must reject the teaching. "The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). And, when Scripture seems to contradict Itself, then we must lean upon the Spirit to show us the resolution. "41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose Son is He? They say unto Him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in Spirit call Him LORD, saying, 44 The LORD said unto My LORD, Sit thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? 45 If David then call Him LORD, how is He His Son?" (Matthew 22:41-45).
The True Saints should invite the Spirit of God to introduce thoughts and ideas about the interpretation of Scripture, or any matter. "Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou art my God: Thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness" (Psalm 143:10). But, we must "try the spirits whether they are of God" (1John 4:1), by prayerful consideration of any suggestion in Light of the Infallible Word of God. "With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy Commandments" (Psalm 119:10).
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