3.12.2016

1 Kings 19: 9-18

ppt

When God speaks in a still small voice
Reading: 1 Kings 19: 9-18
Additional reading: Psalm 62: 1, 5, Psalm 131
Blanks: before, whisper, return
K-hymn: 97

Have you heard about Mount Sinai?
It might look like this.
This is where Moses heard from God at about 1500 BC. (Exodus 19)
So Moses wrote about what God has told him.
That is what we see in the first 5 books of the Bible.

Then about 600 years later, that is, about 900 BC, the prophet Elijah came to this mountain to hear from God. (1 Kings 19)
At that time, Elijah was really in need of hearing God.
He was spiritually in crisis.

You know he is a prophet.
So he could roughly hear from God.
But at that moment, that was not enough.
He needed to really meet God and really understand what God was thinking about everything happening in his life and in his nation.

But at this moment he could not hear God well because there was too much going in his head.
He was burn out.
He was stressed out.
He was fearful and worried.
He had too much arguments in his head.
He also had some inner bitterness.
It seemed that it was a psychological problem.

He was lonely.
He also had a difficult time forgiving someone.
He was overwhelmed.
He thought that it was too much for him.

Then because God also saw that this was a spiritual crisis, God seemed to calling Elijah to this mountain.
God wanted to talk with him.
So Elijah went to a cave there to hear God.

Then he saw these things happening.
There were a strong wind.
There was a heavy storm.
There were earthquakes.
There was a fire.
But God was not there.

It seemed these strong weathers only show what was going on in Elijah’s heart.
It seemed to show the agitated mind of Elijah.
You know, Elijah was angry and confused and tired and so on.
And his spiritual life was shaken violently.
These wind and storm seem to show his agitated and restless mind.

Or Elijah might have thought that God is like that:
He might have thought when God speaks, these things happens.
But not always, especially when his servant needs to understand something deeper.

(3) Then after all these, there was a silence.
There was a gentle whisper.
So Elijah went out to meet God and hear God.
God wanted to meet Elijah in a deeper level.

So in this silence God explained to him and encouraged him.
In silence, God was able to speak to him much better.
God was able to reach down to the hidden corners of his heart.
God was able to touch the deeper hearts of Elijah’s heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Then Elijah was restored spiritually.
And he went back to serve God once more.

Like this, sometimes, God invites us into God's silence.
In silence, God speaks to us and even changes our hearts.
In silence, God shows clearly and heals our hearts.

What’s that mean?
It means, sometimes, in order to hear God, we need to stop everything.
We stop thinking.
We empty our mind.
We just wait for God to speak to us.
We give God a chance to speak to us.
This is how we may hear God.
In silence, we may become like sponges that waits for God’s water.

It may happen, when you dare to come to God's silence.
Then you may hear God much better.
There you may allow God to touch the deeper part of your hearts.

Here is an example.
Have you heard about Mama Maggie?
She is from a wealthy family from Egypt.
She was a professor teaching intelligent young people.

But she felt that God called her to take care of the poor children.
She saw Jesus in the face of those children.
So she ended up leave everything to follow Jesus.
And now, she is continually helping the poor children in Cairo, India.
She is known as the Mother Teresa of Cairo.

Now in terms of listening to God’s voice, this is her advice.
She said something like this:
When we silence our body, our mind, our heart, and our soul, then we may be able to listen to God.

But then there can be a time when we cannot be quiet.
We may have a difficult time quieting down our worries.
We may feel that there are too much noises in our head.
But we could not quiet down those thoughts.

(3) We may feel like there is a storm in our head.
This storm is making a lot of noises.

(3) Maybe that storm is like the storm that the students of Jesus faced in Galilee.
At that time, the students of Jesus was scared of this storm.

But then Jesus was sleeping in the boat.
So they waked him up.
Then Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea.
(3) Then there was God's silence among them.

So when we have that kind of storm in our head, we can also ask Jesus to help us: (Mark 4:35-41)
We may ask Jesus to speak and quiet down the storm in our head.
Jesus can give a silence in our souls so that we can hear God better.

But then some people may want a storm.
Some people want excitement.
Some people, or most people, feel uncomfortable in silence.
Some people may be even fearful of silence.

But sometimes God invites some of us into God's silence so that some of us may really hear what God is speaking to us today.
God may call some of us to God’s silence because then God can speak to us much better.

I am not saying that God only speaks in silence.
God may answer our questions in many different ways, because we need to meet and experience God.

But then we can also give God a silence as an offering to God.
Our silence can be our offering to God.

Psalm 65:1 says:
(3) "Silence is praise to you, O God." (MSG)

What does it mean?
It means that we offer a silence to God as praise.
We give this silence as our offering to God.
This can be our holy moment.

I am sure that you have given God a time of silence.
I am sure that you have worshiped God in silence.
So I encourage you to praise God in silence.
May we all meet God in silence.

Here is one of ways that you may present ourselves to God in silence.
We turn off whatever noise, words or distraction.
There is no words, or no thoughts from our part in this.
Then we calm down.
Then we may say:
(2) "Jesus, I am here before you.
Speak to your servant.
Your servant is listening."

Then we wait for Jesus to teach us.
Then in that silence, Jesus may come and heal us and transform us.
Jesus comforts us.
Jesus fills us with God’s unconditional love again.
Then we are restored.
Then we can love like God again.

There our inner self is listening and welcoming God's words in silence.
Our inner self understands and accepts God's words in a deeper level.

If we hear God's words, our job is to recognize it.
It was not like:
"Oh! That was a great experience."
I have done that, too.
Big mistake.
We need to remember that and live accordingly.

(3) It seems that David also learns this.
So later David wrote something like this: Psalm 131:2:
He said:
"I have calmed and quieted my soul.
I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother."

David is saying:
“I have learned to calm down and be in silence, like a child that is resting in God the Mother’s arms.
I learned to calm down and receive God’s comfort.

“I knew this is the safest place.
There I have no worry, no anxiety, no thoughts.
So I do not say any words.
I do not have any inner discussions.
I do not say anything to God.

“I just wait for God who comfort me.
There I learn of God who loves me.
There I learn to trust in God again.
There I learn to hear God’s thought and God’s small voice.
Then I have a strong inner conviction according to God’s will.
Then I have a greater inner peace from God.”

Now why don’t we try to come to God in silence from time to time?
From time to time, try to meet God in silence.
You may hear much better.
You may learn much, much better.
You may learn more about God.
You may learn more of God.

Let's pray:
Jesus, thank you for speaking to us in silence.
Help us to give you our offering of silence so that you may speak and change our life.
In your name we pray.
Amen.