Home > Scripture Reflections, Spirituality > The “still small voice” of 1 Kings 19

The “still small voice” of 1 Kings 19


This is part of a larger paper that I wrote on 1 Kings 19

Does 1 Kings 19 teach us about how we are to hear the word of the LORD or does it teach us the importance of maintaining a focus on the ministry of the word without concern for the results of our ministry? After reading 1 Kings, should we be reminded of the apostles who made it a priority to give themselves “continually to prayer and the ministry of the word?” (Acts 6:4) Is Elijah teaching us to trust in the power of the word? (Heb 4:14-16; 2 Tim 4:2; Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:17-21)? Does 1 Kings 19 not remind us and warn us that we are not to “refuse Him who speaks?” (Heb 12:25)

Are we to understand the “still small voice” of 1 Kings 19:12 to be the primary way God communicates with us today, as many have suggested above? In order to hear God are we required to say like Samuel, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening?” (1 Sam 3:10) But, are not the sheep expected to hear and follow the shepherd’s voice? (John 10:1-10) Is it possible that we miss something of God’s character when we fail to meet with Him in stillness and quiet (Is 30:15; Psalm 46:10) Do not the withdrawals of Jesus, to lonely places, in order to pray, provide us a model for these kind of practices? Following are a few occasions when Jesus withdrew: (Lk 5:16 following busy ministry—“often”; Mk 1:35 at night; Lk 6:12 before choosing the 12; Mtt 4:1-11 in wilderness before beginning ministry; Mtt 26:36 before the cross).

When we talk about listening to the still small voice of God, is this independent from the Word of God? I don’t think so. It is the written word upon which we are to meditate and dwell upon day and night. (Psalm 1). It is the written word that is God-breathed and powerful. (2 Tim 3:16-17) We are to not to neglect even one word from God’s revelation (Mtt 5:18). God communicates to us through the sometimes loud preaching of the Word just as He does through our quiet reflection upon His words. Is it not a danger to emphasize a special way that God communicates to us apart from the written word? “Each way God communicates to us has its own special uses, but all the ways are not equally significant for our life with him. In terms of overall importance, the written Word and Jesus, the Living Word, are not even to be compared to a voice or a vision used by God to speak to an individual.” (Willard 87)

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