Still Small Voice – Man as Chaplain

 And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.  -1 Kings 19:9-12 NKJV
Have you ever been discouraged? We all have. But have you ever felt so discouraged to the point of despairing of life? No doubt some of you have. Maybe you are feeling that way right now. If so, you are not alone. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah became so depressed he wanted to die (see v. 4). But God spoke an encouraging word to His prophet that refreshed and renewed him.
Remember, the bold and courageous prophet Elijah had just been at one of the highest points of spiritual victory this side of heaven. In a national showdown, the God of heaven had powerfully and miraculously demonstrated His superiority over the false god Baal for all to see. Elijah prayed, and God answered with fire from heaven, which convinced the people that Yahweh was God and confirmed Elijah’s authority as God’s spokesman. As a result, the rival pagan prophets and priests were executed. Then, when Elijah prayed for rain, God answered again; the rain came and ended the drought. All was right in Elijah’s world, or so it seemed.
After this amazing victory over the evil King Ahab and his 850 pagan prophets and priests, Queen Jezebel issued a death threat on Elijah, and he tucked tail and ran. By the time Elijah reached Beersheba on the southern border of Judah, he was physically spent, emotionally exhausted, and spiritually depressed. So much so that he wanted the Lord to take him home to heaven. Yet God showed up in Elijah’s life at this low point, just like He shows up in ours, caring for us at the point of our need. God graciously provided food and rest, and when Elijah was refreshed and renewed, he went on another 40 days until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. This is the same place where God made the covenant with Israel and gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. So if there was a physical location where Elijah was going to hear a much-needed message from God, it was there.
God did not disappoint. While Elijah was in a cave, God asked His discouraged prophet, “What are you doing here?” Elijah recited his pitiful circumstances: “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (vv. 10, 14). God commanded Elijah to come out of the cave and hear His word. After a display of God’s might and majesty on the mountain, God spoke. However, His word didn’t come through the fierce wind, the violent earthquake, or the raging fire. Instead, it came via a still, small voice (v. 12).
In 1971 at Fort Benning, Georgia, I heard the Lord say to me in a still, small voice: “I have a plan for your life.” That’s when I stopped running from the Lord and gave my life to Him completely. My life has never been the same since. I pray and read His word, and He guides me and gives me direction. As chaplains and spiritual leaders, we are to provide that spiritual direction for others.
The new mission God gave Elijah involved anointing three successors: Hazael to the throne of Syria, Jehu to the throne of Israel, and finally, Elisha as Elijah’s replacement as the lead prophet of God (vv. 15-17). Then God reminded Elijah he was not alone (v. 18). Those final words must have come as a relief to the beleaguered prophet. Not only did God have a Battle Buddy for Elijah in Elisha, who would one day take over for him, but God had many other faithful servants. But the effect of giving Elijah another mission breathed new life into this discouraged prophet, enabling him to finish strong.
Men, when you become discouraged (and you will), allow the Lord to refresh and renew you. Tune in and listen for the voice of the Lord as you walk with Him in His Word. Allow Him to speak to you. Then salute Him when He gives you a command that involves a new mission. Many times, it comes in a still, small voice.
  • How do you handle discouragement? Do you react like Elijah and run or maybe even hide? What are some ways God has provided for you in those low points that can be an encouragement to count on Him the next time you are discouraged? 
  • Are you spending enough time with God in His Word to hear His voice, to get His guidance and direction? How can you build more margin into your day to make sure you spend quality time with Him? How are you taking what God tells you and sharing that with those in your spiritual care as chaplain? 
  • Ask God to train you and help you tune into His voice