Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord —he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!” (1 Kings 18:38-39 NLT)
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper (KJV: still small voice). When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13 NLT)
I have been a Christian for well over 40 years and as we enter 2017, I believe that it will be a year of uncertainty unrivaled in my lifetime. I have sought the LORD diligently to try and understand what is going on, especially as far as the Christian realm is concerned. I am particularly concerned with what has happened in the Pentecostal/Charismatic sector. I have seen many adherents derailed or going down the wrong track and I believe many of the answers can be summed up with a study of Elijah. I keep on being drawn to the accounts of him and the valuable lessons and insight there are in these portions of Scripture.
Many today are drawn only to the dramatics of the earthquake, wind, and fire. But notice a few things about the Scriptures above. When fire came down and consumed the sacrifice, the people were truly impressed. The problem was, because it was not in the people’s hearts, there was no lasting effect. This bummed Elijah out. The LORD was merciful and revealed to Elijah that His presence was not in the drama of the earth shaking events. Rather it was in His gentle whisper (still small voice).
Do not get me wrong. I pray for and believe 100% in miracles and healings. I have witnessed and been the recipient of them. But I also realize that they are only the results of our great God’s power, not His essence. I must make sure that it is His essence that is my ultimate quest.
I see many that identify themselves as Pentecostals and Charismatics travel from meeting to meeting to satisfy their addiction to God’s manifestations. They crave for the goosebumps and hype. But just like a drug addict they come down afterwards.
When you seek God’s essence first and foremost, you will be truly sustained and fulfilled. For sure, I want to pray for and see miracles, healings, the earth trembling, and fire breaking out. But to cover my face in awe as I experience His power, not the results of His power, will undoubtedly have a lasting effect that can’t be easily shaken. It will be a power that permeates body, soul, and spirit. It will instill a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Let’s not forget that when Isaiah 53:5 states, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed”, that the absolute is our spiritual healing from sin and it is not an absolute for physical healing. Many want to forget the part of the ‘Our Father’ where it states, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The LORD is our Father, not our genie. Yes, many things we don’t have is because we simply don’t ask for them or we ask amiss. But when we do ask in faith and sincerity and don’t receive, we can rest assured that He does what He thinks is best for us in light of His kingdom. There is no doubt that our Father is eager and able to bless us beyond our imagination. It’s our job to ask and put our trust in Him for the best results.
I write these things so that as we enter the uncertainties of 2017, we keep things in perspective and balance no matter how crazy things get!
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
(Hebrews 13:5-6 KJV)
I will leave you with this question: “Are you yearning for and receiving the Lord’s whispers in your life?”