Daily Readings and Thought for August 24th. “THE SOUND OF A LOW WHISPER”
We have a contrasting set of chapters to read today. Jeremiah receives a remarkable range of prophecies about the future, the highlight being that the LORD “will not make a full end” [46 v.28] of Israel. Paul in our First Corinthians chapters reprimands the “sexual immorality” among the believers [5 v.1], a reprimand which, we pray, is not needed today.
But it is our 1st Kings chapter (19) which particularly attracted our thoughts. It is wonderful the lessons and challenges which all parts of God’s word has for us, let us not be ‘afraid’ of any of them.
We read yesterday in 1st Kings of Elijah’s confrontation with the pitiable king Ahab, who was dominated by his idol worshipping wife, Jezebel. Is there a parallel here? Not necessarily with our marriage partner, but with those we mix with, especially work with, whose ways of thinking, talking and doing may have a subtle influence on us?
One would have thought that Elijah’s strength would be at its’ peak after the events on Mt. Carmel, but when Ahab’s wife Jezebel hears of what has happened to her 450 prophets (of Baal) she “sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.’ Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life” [19 v.2,3] Elijah’s faith collapses and he asks “that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”[v.4]
Elijah’s collapse of faith is a lesson, a warning for us. But God watches over him, and when, 40 days later, he “came to a cave and lodged in it … the word of the LORD came to him … “What are you doing here, Elijah?” [v.9] This brings to mind Paul’s declaration at Athens about the one true God, that, ‘In him we live and move and have our being’ [Acts 17 v.28] Elijah, Paul, indeed all genuine believers must develop a sense of the wonder of this!
What an awesome experience Elijah now has! “The LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks … And after the wind an earthquake, ” then “a fire .. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper” [v.11,12]
“And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.” [v.13] It was no ordinary“whisper” and Elijah’s spirit is transformed, he is also reassured, being told there are “seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal…” [v.18]
Today, modern communications reassure us that there are still many, in this godless, world – who are still faithful – and while they cannot hear “the sound of a low whisper” they have God’s word they can pick up and absorb every day, even every hour if they desire. May we all be among them.