Still Small Voice
By Vicar Lisa
Our Old Testament passage for Sunday is one you may have heard before. There is only one place in Scripture where God is said to speak in a “still small voice,” and it was to Elijah, after his dramatic victory over the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-40; 19:12). After being told that Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, king of Israel, was seeking to kill him, Elijah ran into the wilderness and collapsed in exhaustion. God sent an angel with food and water to strengthen him, told him to rest, and then sent him to Mount Horeb.
However, even after food, water, and a nap, Elijah complains to God that all of God’s prophets had been killed by Jezebel and he alone had survived. This is not true, of course, but often, a big high in life is followed by a big low. And Elijah had hit a low spot. God directed Elijah to stand on the mountain in His presence. Then the Lord sent a mighty wind which broke the rocks in pieces; then He sent an earthquake and a fire, but His voice was in none of them. After all that, the Lord spoke to Elijah in the still small voice, or “gentle whisper.”
The point of God speaking in the still small voice was to show Elijah that the work of God need not always be accompanied by dramatic revelation or manifestations. And it is important to note that divine silence does not necessarily mean divine inactivity however high or low we may feel.
And, because God is God, he is not confined to a single manner of communicating with his people. Elsewhere in Scripture, He also communicated through a whirlwind, an earthquake, and a voice that sounds like thunder. Nor is God limited to natural phenomena when He speaks. All through Scripture, He speaks through His prophets over and over. The common thread in all the prophets is the phrase, “Thus says the Lord.”. Most graciously, He speaks through His Son, the Lord Jesus in scripture. In Hebrews 1:1–2, we read that: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
The difference between God speaking through the thunder and the whirlwind, then through the still, small voice, can be also considered as showing the difference between the two dispensations of law and grace. The law is a voice of terrible words and judgement, but the gospel is a gentle voice of love, grace, and mercy, of peace, pardon, righteousness, and the free gift of salvation through Christ. The law breaks the rocky hearts of people in pieces, then the gospel speaks gently to them of the peace and pardon available in Christ. Let our ears be open to the word of God no matter the voice God is using, Amen!
11th Sunday after Pentecost, August 13, 2023
10 a.m. Outdoor Worship (weather permitting) with Holy Communion
Garage Sale Follow Up:
A great big "Thank-You" to all of you who donated items, helped pick-up and deliver furniture, organize, and arrange sale items, help people as they shopped, and help clean up after our Annual Garage Sale.
We collected more than $3,500 which will enable us to continue to help with our local and global mission work.
In addition, we were able to bless Holy Trinity Academy with a donation of more than 30 backpacks given to us for our sale, the Sayre Senior Center with 2 pieces of exercise equipment, household items for the Church of Christ, Noah's Ark Thrift Shop with the "leftover" books, and the remaining items that did not sell went to PALS (Pet Assistance League Store).
Save the Date
E-formation -- Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, August 13, 2023
Do you know the old song that goes “When the storms of life are raging, stand by me”? That song is about the gospel for this coming Sunday. Come to worship, to encounter Christ standing by you, no matter the storms, and to stand with others, to be the presence of Christ for them.
Matthew’s story of Jesus walking on the water recalls Old Testament descriptions of God as the one who controls the chaotic seas. The Greek of Jesus’ response to the frightened disciples echoes the Hebrew name of God, “I am.” Matthew has added to Mark’s telling of this narrative an episode with Peter, a leader in the early church who is shown to be also a doubter. Once again, Matthew’s interest in church leadership is evident.
1 Kings 19:9-18
The historian of 1 Kings (see Lectionary 17) described the prophet Elijah as having faithfully preached the word of God to the evil king Ahab, his Phoenician wife Jezebel, and the many Baal-worshiping Israelites. Afraid of arrest by the queen, Elijah hid at Mount Horeb, another name for Mount Sinai. But this time no fire and smoke show God’s power. Rather, Elijah’s encounter with “sheer silence” calls him back to his prophetic tasks among a people unfaithful to the Lord God.
Paul’s letter to the Romans continues by clarifying what he means by the gospel of righteousness through faith. Paul discourages a kind of literalist interest in where the risen Christ currently resides. Instead, he proclaims the existential power of the good news about faith in Christ preached here and now to Jew and Gentile alike.
Zion's Lutheran Church