Can you hear me now? Remember the Verizon commercial? Our passage today has the great prophet Elijah distraught. He is running from King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, who is out to eliminate all worship to Yahweh and Elijah for elimination of her Baal priests. Up until now, Elijah has been guided and protected by God. But here, the pressures of his calling as a prophet are getting to him. He is so distraught he runs and hides and, in the process, asks that God take his life. Sounds a lot like George Bailey, right? You know, “It’s a Wonderful Life” George who also was in trouble and wished he had never been born. Ever been in the same boat?
Instead of turning to the God who has guided and protected him along the way, we see Elijah turning inward – he’s having a real pity party. Despite his behavior, God is there to help once again. As you look at verses 11-13, I want to ask you, “how do you listen for God?” Do you look for God to come to you in the miraculous, the extraordinary…the over-the-top booming voice from above? Or…are your ears tuned to that still small voice, “a gentle whisper”? Just how do you listen for God to speak into your life?
There are some who try to tell me that they don’t think God speaks to them. Each time, I encourage them to go back and listen more intently. I ask them about their prayer life – is it a relationship with God or is it a “I need this or that” session? If you are having trouble hearing God speak, try the following…open your Bible and read it out loud. Can you hear him now?
This past Wednesday, I shared with the men’s discussion group the following story to illustrate how well we listen. It’s a little long, but it is worth your time I promise…
An Indian was walking in downtown New York City alongside a friend who was a resident of the city. Right in the center of Manhattan, the Indian seized his friend’s arm and whispered, “Wait. I hear a cricket.” His friend said, “Come on! Cricket? Man, this is downtown New York.” He persisted, “No, seriously, I really do.”
“It’s impossible!” was the response. “You can’t hear a cricket! Taxis going by. Horns honking. People screaming at each other. Brakes screeching. Both sides of the street filled with people. Cash registers clanging away. Subways roaring beneath us. You can’t possibly hear a cricket!”
The Indian insisted, “Wait a minute!” He led his friend along, slowly. They stopped, and the Indian walked down to the end of the block, went across the street, looked around, cocked his head to one side, but couldn’t find it. He went across another street, and there in a large cement planter where a tree was growing, he dug into the mulch and found the cricket. “See!” he yelled, as he held the insect high above his head.
His friend walked across the street, marveling, “How in the world could it be that you heard a cricket in the middle of downtown, busy Manhattan?”
The Indian said, “Well, my ears are different from yours. It simply depends on what you’re listening for. Here let me show you.” And he reached in his pocket and pulled out a handful of change–a couple of quarters, three or four nickels, and some dimes and pennies. Then he said, “Now watch.” He held the coins waist high and dropped them to the sidewalk. Every head within a block turned around and looked in the direction of the Indian.
It all depends on what we’re listening to and for. We don’t have enough crickets in our heads–we don’t listen for them. Perhaps, like that crowded street full of people, you have spent all your life searching for a handful of change and you’ve missed the real sound of life?
You see, there is no life in any one of those coins, nor can they buy happiness even if you have millions. The only way we find true satisfaction or meaning in life is to hear the invisible, inaudible voice of the living God, the Lord Jesus, through developing our capacity to hear and see Him by spending time alone with Him.