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Sunday, August 18, 2019

posted Aug 18, 2019, 5:17 PM by Site Administrator

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A GENTLE WHISPER

 

1 Kings 19:1-21

Key Verse 1:12 

 

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

 

First, "After the fire came a gentle whisper" (1-12).

 

In the previous passage we saw how Israel had turned their back on God by worshipping Baal. King Ahab was the King of Israel, and Jezebel his wife supported the worship of Baal. In modern terms, Baal worship was the national religion, and there were450 Baal prophets who were on the government payroll. Elijah challenged the people of Israel to repent. There on Mount Carmel, he had a show down with the prophets of Baal. God helped him and revealed Himself powerfully. God proved to the people of Israel that the Lord was God. Then Elijah ended up killing all 450 prophets of Baal in the Kishon Valley. This is the continuation of 1st Kings chapter 18, so lets see what happens! 

 

Look at verse 1. Check out verses 1-7. At the news in Mount Carmel, Jezebel was furious. She sent a messenger to Elijah saying “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Even after hearing what the Lord had done, she still wanted to kill Elijah. She was a really wicked person. In Elijah’smind, even though he had such a great victory, outwardly nothing seemed to change. Still evil Queen Jezebel was in charge, these idol worshippers were in charge and was now trying to kill himHe felt like giving up and wanted to just dieSo he fled to another country where he was safe. But he didn’t stop there. He went a day’s journey into the desert without food or water. When he came to a broom tree, he sat down under it and said "I have had enough, LORD, Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." He had no other desire than to just die there in the desert. He was completely defeated. 

 

Elijah was a zealous man of God, but in this passage, we see a totally different person – no longer a zealous and powerful man of God, but a fearful man who wanted to give up his life and his missionHow did he get this way? It's because he felt that, despite his wholehearted struggle, there was no change at all; even if he fought such a great fight and won such a great victory on Mount Carmel, it seemed that nothing had changed; it seemed that this idol worship in Israel was invincible since the government, especially Jezebel was supporting it; he felt so defeated. He was depressed; he gave up everything, and became suicidal. 

 

 

God understood his sense of frustration and despair so God sent him his angel with food and water. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank. He knew that God sent this food for him; but after eating, he lay down again, showing nothing had changed; he didn't want to do anything - just leave me alone. 7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." So, he ate it again. After eating two times, his sense of frustration subsided; he came to his own mind a little bit and was refreshed. With food and water, God sustained Elijah; that's how God helped his servant when he was really defeated and depressed. So we see, eating is important. 

 

Strengthened by the food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. Before, he had no direction - he just wanted to die in the desert. But now after eating the food, he picked up a direction, that was, to go to the mountain of God. Why? Because he had a serious question in his mind and really wanted to see what God would say about it. 

 

 Look at verse 9a. It reads: "There he went into a cave and spent the night." Horeb was like God’s house; Elijah knew that there he would meet God; he knew that God noticed his coming. But once he arrived, instead of saying "Hello" to God, he just went into a cave and without saying a word to God, he slept. He was like a son who is angry at his father that when he comes home, just ignores his father and goes to his room and locks the door and sleeps all day long. God spoke to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" Actually Elijah was being strange andacting a fool. He was a man of zeal, a man of a fighting spirit. He was a man of fire. He was willing to die for God. He was the one who called fire from heaven and burned the offering and killed 450 Baal prophets and turned the people of Israels hearts to God. He should be on the mission field doing Gods work; but instead, what was he doing there in that cave, at Horeb, being fearful of Jezebel, a mere Gentile woman? So God said to him, "What are doing here, Elijah?" It was a gentle rebuke. 

 

 

Elijah answered, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." Elijah’s thinking was that Israel did such bad and terrible things but I took great courage and zeal and struggled hard for the Lord. He thought God just left things alone and did not do anything, even after Elijah worked so hard. In this way Elijah was challenging God. At this, God spoke to him, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." Now God was going to give his answer to Elijah. Look at verse 11. Let’s read this verse together:

 

11The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 

 

A great and powerful wind began to blow; it was so powerful that it tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord. God had already told him that He would pass by. So when Elijah saw this powerful wind, he was sure that it was from God. He tried to find God in the wind. But verse 11 says, "but the Lord was not in the wind." Elijah was confused. God should be in such a powerful and great wind, but the Lord was not there in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake. The whole mountain shook violently and the cave was about to collapse; Elijah thought that God must be in the earthquake; so he looked for God, but again, the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. At this Elijah said alright this is my specialty – fire! "But the Lord was not in the fire." Now Elijah was really disappointed. Then, after the fire, a gentle whisper came. Let’s read verse 12 together:

 

12After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 

 

God was not there in the powerful wind, or in the earthquake, and even in the fire, but in a gentle whisper. A whisper is so tiny, then what about a gentle one? Unless Elijah paid close attention to it, he could have missed it. While he tried hard to find God in the strong wind, in the powerful earthquake and in the scorching fire, he almost failed to catch God’s gentle whisper. Actually, in Israel, he failed to see God working hard because he was looking for such awesome and powerful thingsas God's work; he didn’t know that God was working in a gentle whisper. Elijah’s desire was to see a nationwide-repentance movement. But he didn’t see thousands’ of people repenting in sackcloth and ashes. Instead, what he saw was Jezebel’s threat. In his eyes, there was no powerful work of God in Israel; it seemed that God was not working so hard.

 

Now God showed him that he was in a gentle whisper. God was working hard in Israel, but not in extravagant ways, not outwardly, but in a gentle whisper, quietly, helping people one by one to remember God’s grace and turn to Him. God was working hard in Israel, but so quietly and individually that now as we see in verse 18, he had seven thousand men whose hearts were fully dedicated to him. God didn’t hold a great harvest crusade in Jezreel; God didn’t build a huge church in Samaria. But surely, God was working hard and powerfully in the lives of real people, helping them experience God’s grace, helping them realize his love for them. God was working hard in a gentle whisper. It was an eye-opening moment for Elijah, having new perspective of God.

 

God is there in a gentle whisper; God works hard in a gentle whisper. Like in the days of Elijah, today sin is so prevailing and people reject God. People love money and pleasures more than Godeven God-believing people, kneel to money and bow to pleasures. It is really a trend in our society. When we see how sinful people try to change society into Sodom and Gomorrah, we feel threatened and we hope that a great work of God may occur and society might change. But God’s way of working is through a gentle whisper. God is in a gentle whisper like finding one student and having one to one Bible study. God's great salvation ministry began with one old man, Abraham. The great work of Exodus began with one man, Moses. Gods great salvation work of the gospel began with one tiny baby in manger 2000 years ago. God's work is a manger ministry. While enemies growl angrily, and while so many people reject God and pursue idols, God works hard in a gentle whisper, working hard in the background, helping people one by one very quietly and personally. So, outwardly, God seems quiet and because of this, enemies are not aware that He is working. Then, at the right time, God rises together with seven thousand young people whom he has prepared, even shocking our enemy. While our enemies, the devil and his followers, work hard to promote sinful environment, persuading people to pursue pleasures and success, we go to our campuses through backdoors, and call out God’s people one by one through one to one Bible studies. We are like Gods specials forces, like the Navy SealsI always thought it would be cool to be a Navy Seal. Now I am one. God is working hard in a gentle whisper, speaking to campus students through our one to one Bible studies personally, converting his people one by one. We can be rest assured that our one to one Bible studies on college campuses is God’s way of working powerfully in this very dark generation. We become his gentle whisper to many dying college students. Our prayer is that we may find all of these seven thousand young people whom God has reserved for his purpose. 

 

 

Second, "Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel" (13-21). Now after showing Elijah that He worked in a gentle whisper, after showing that he had been working hard in a gentle whisper, God spoke to Elijah again, asking the same question, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" This question meant, "What are you doing here, while I am working hard?" Elijah replied, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." His words were exactly the same tooHe sensed God's teaching of a gentle whisper. But instead of accepting God's teaching through the gentle whisper, he wanted to hear from God directly. So, God made his teaching very clear to him. God said to him to go back, and anoint Hazael king over Aram, Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed him as prophet. God added, "Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu." God prepared these three people for his purpose. Even though Elijah could not see God's work in Israel, God already had prepared them for himself. That was not all. Look at verse 18. Let’s read this verse together: 

 

18Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."

 

Seven thousand—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him! Elijah thought that he was the only one left in Israel. But here! God had preserved seven thousand people whose hearts were fully dedicated to him. In those days, the size of land of the Northern Kingdom Israel was less than one fiftieth of the size of California. Even with seven thousand fully dedicated servants, we can really conquer California completely. Even John Wesley prayed that if God gave him 100 men who loved God only and hated sin, then, he would set the whole world on fire. Think about seven thousand zealous men serving God’s work in that small country. It was indeed amazing. God had done an amazing thing in a gentle whisper. God indeed worked hard in a gentle whisper. Elijah couldn’t say a word. Elijah felt so embarrassed!Now Elijah could catch the meaning of God appearing in agentle whisper instead of the great and powerful wind or earthquake or fire. Also at the same time, the meaning of the question, "What are doing here, Elijah?" became clear. Now he should go back to the mission field and work hard together with God and together with God’s people. Through this, God made Elijah’s mission very clear and restored him to return to the battle field.

 

It seems that people are sinful and they don’t care about God’s command at all. Often we feel that we are the absolute minority. Sometimes, we feel like crying out to God, saying, "Lord, they have rejected your covenant; I am the only one left."But that’s not the case. Surely, there are seven thousand in California—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal or Asherah, to money or to pleasures. It was seven thousand for Israel, a small country, then, for California is 50 times seven thousand, that is 350,000 zealous men and women for the state of California. We need to find them and mobilize them for God’s kingdom work. While we work hard for God's work, God Himself works hard, sometimes, in a strong and powerful wind, sometimes, in a gentle whisper. We need to be Elijahs today, carrying the Lord's standard, challenging the sin of the world. We need to be the members of those seven thousand people for God, with our heart's complete determination not to kneel to money or to pleasures. Let’s find all these zealous and dedicated people to God in God’s way, in a gentle whisper, through our one to one Bible studies, helping them one by one know God’s word and turn to God decisively.

 

 

 

In this very dark generation, God is working hard in a gentle whisper. On our campuses, God is working hard, preparing people to be ready to accept God’s calling. Let’s learn God’s way of doing his work and be his whispering voice to many college students through teaching them the Bible one on one. Let’s pay attention to what God is doing and what God is saying very carefully so that we can hear his gentle whisper. Let’s pray that we may find all whom God has prepared on our campuses who will decisively accept God’s calling.

 

Hello, my name is Ty Rothrock. I was born in Southern California. I grew up in a Bible believing environment. I went to a private Christian school. But as I got older, I drifted farther and farther away. I started to dye my hair in 7th grade and became a punk rocker. At one time I even had a Mohawk. I got a guitar and played in punk bands with a big circle of friends. All I did was go to parties and drink and do drugs. To me doing what I wanted to do and getting the most out of life was using my life in the best way. I wanted a care free life. I subscribed to the YOLO lifestyle. I dropped out of high school when I was 16. I worked but all of my money went to partying and drugs and alcohol. Eventually I began to realize the emptiness inside of me and I focused on that a lot. I wondered why I was so depressed? Why am I so empty? The God shaped hole in my heart became so prevalent that all I could think about was how empty my life was. This led me to have a real deep depression. But then the chance to move away from Orange County came and I moved to the South Bay with my Mom and Step Dad. I decided to go to El Calmino College to find out about life. So I took Philosophy as my first class. There I studied the proof of the soul and this intrigued me a lot. That led me to think about my spirituality. I met a friend at my work who invited me to church and thought I would check it out. I started to study the Bible a lot and read a lot of Christian books. Then one day while walking back to my car from class, I was asked by a Bible teacher to study the Bible. We studied John’s gospel. I was amazed at Gods words in the first 5 verses. I was comforted when Jesus said in Him was life. That was what I really wanted – meaningful and beautiful life. Then I studied Genesis with Msn John. There I met God very personally. I knew I had to make disciples and all of that, but when I studied Genesis 17:5 – for I have made you a father o f many nations, when God was talking with Abraham, there I saw Gods vision for my life. God wanted me to be a father of many nations. Through me, God saw nations of people coming to know Him and have life with Him. Gods voice spoke to me very personally – I remember telling God, that is you who said that! From then on this has been my life key verse for my Christian life. So I started my mission life really by being a shepherd on CSUDH. Mission life was really exciting. I was still in school, and so every day I would fish for students and ask them for Bible study. I had many Bible studies with many different students. I was zealous for God and so would fish for hours and hours. Bible studies with students were really active and alive. I could see how God helped me in each Bible study and was with me, and because of that as I spoke - divine things would come out of me that later I would go woah, that was you that was speaking because I would not have thought about that. God would teach me as I taught the Bible. Then God blessed me to marry by faith. The idea of marriage was so big in my heart, that one night I really prayed to God and said if you want me to marry I will marry and if not I will not. I decided to give this matter to Jesus because my decision was that I would serve Him all the days of my life. And at my surprise God heard me and knew who He wanted me to marry, and revealed my wife Jessica to me. I could see that God had already been working on this in the background. Through marriage God has been helping me to grow as a mature man of God and learn to co-work together with my wife. God blessed us greatly with a son and now a daughter. Being a father is a lot of work, on top of being a Bible teacherand husband, but it is all rolled in to one. Together they help me grow and mature as a servant of God. The life of being Gods servant is definitely challenging. Taking care of my house church, taking care of studetns and taking care of my job is a lot of things to take care of, but because of this God has been molding my inner character and strengthening my spirit. God has helped me to be dedicated to Him all the more in this way. With so much less time to do God work on my campus due to my many responsibilities God is helping me to be more determined and more dedicated to save souls. This helps me to fish even more earnestly and teach the Bible with more sincerity and determination. Most importantly I must rely on God even more. I have been praying more and more for my students and my campus. My weakness has always been fear. As I grew up I had so much instability in my life. I moved around with my Mom a lot and I developed a sense of insecurity. Because of this I always doubted myself, and let fear come in. Because of fear and anxiety I always held myself back. I became like the paralyzed man in the gospel of John and my spirit shriveled.Because of this I never moved forward in life because I was scared that I would do something wrong or fail. So I reverted to fear and anxiety as a coping mechanism and shrank awayBecause of this I changed my major constantly, because I did not want to graduate and go into the real world with a real job. I wanted to stay on my mat so to speak. So I really prayed to God for His healing in this matter. After many years of struggle in this matter God has helped me to understand something. When I love Him with all of my heart, then that means I am to leave everything else under His control, including my job situation and future. That is His responsibility, my responsibility is to love Him and serve Him with all of my heat, soul mind and strength. This released a great burden off of me because I relied on myself for everything. God showed me just as Adam was to serve and love God alone, Gods responsibility was provide everything. So now I could move forward and not be afraid. I could rise and live as Gods servant doing what I should do. I don't have to worry about anything, only to serve God alone and let Him handle everything else. I can serve God freely without any burdens. I can handle the stresses of being a father and husband and shepherd and my job. I graduated CSUDH in 2013. I wasn't sure exactly what job to get since I went to DH for Healthcare Management and was unsure what jobs were available. The one thing I knew was that I must serve God on my campus. Then as I got a job, every one or two years or so God gave me a job paying more and more each time, until now I have a legit career job in the wonderful world of workers compI am a claims examiner for workers compensation for Kaiser Permanente. I have a lot of responsibility and they pay a lot, but it is molding my character. Since then I have served my campus faithfully and with determination. But as I have been serving Gods mission on CSUDH for ten years, I have not had much fruit. And now with less time to do Gods work it seems harder. I do not have any disciples growing up under my care, as Jesus desires for me to have. I have always been so discouraged about this. I think that is my fault, or it is because I am not a good disciple maker. I am passionate for Gods work but nothing to show for it. On campus I teach Johns gospel a lot; and it has been through Johns gospel that Jesus has helped me so much through not having much fruit. Even though I do not have much fruit now, the fact that I live for Jesus is my true joy. Jesus encourages me that my mission life for the gospel is a sanctified and holy life and in Gods eyes it is so precious to Him. My mission life is living by faith in Jesus and faith in Jesus brings me salvation, satisfaction and eternal life. Through Johns Gospel Jesus shows me that He is happy with me and is working in me more and more as I follow Him. Even though I do not see fruit right now, the life I live for Jesus itself brings glory to my Lord Jesus. So I don't need to worry about anything but continue to serve Jesus on my campus with all of my heart. Then in studying this passage, I see that God is with me. God is with me when I go to campus and ask students for Bible study. God is with me as I go to campus after work and fish. Because in this way God is building up my inner person and character. He is molding me and shaping into His image and likeness. He is changing me into a child of God. God is working in me as a gentle whisper. Outwardly not so much evidence, but inwardly God is moving mountains and flaming the fires. God is healing me and restoring my spirit. God is shaping me to be a well refined servant for Jesus Christ. Like the 7,000 I have not bowed to the idols of this world but have worshipped the Lord my God and served Him only. I have been dedicated to Him alone. This is because God continues to work in me like a gentle whisper. This is Gods work in my life. I see that God is preparing me for this mission to find those on my campus who have not completely bowed down to the idols of this world but who are looking for true meaning and purpose through Jesus Christ. In this way through a gentle whisper, God can use me to raise up even 7,000 disciples in Ca. I want to seek God alone and serve God alone with all of my heart. I pray that God may use this gentle whisper as a real spiritual wind on my campus and that through real dedication to Gods mission I may raise up 7 disciples in the next year.

 

One Word: God works through a gentle whisper

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