A Still Small Voice

The story of Elijah and its larger context have long been a lure for my own writing and reflection [1]. As a college student in Los Angeles, I wrote a play [2] about two hours long that was divided in time between two biblical historians, one American and one Israeli, who fall in love over their shared intellectual and physical journey to understand a mysterious find, and between a brave nephew of Shaphat mentioned on that tablet whose search for love, honor, the restoration of family land, and a decent place in the world mirror many of my own life’s concerns. One writes, after all, what one knows. This is even true of the sermon message I once gave in Thailand about the close connection between the intense loneliness of Elijah and my own lengthy struggle with loneliness and depression as well as my own difficult family background growing up a fatherless boy in difficult circumstances [3], which has given me a lifelong compassion for fatherless children or those who have been abused by family members. It is easy to see from the scriptures that Elijah too, was deeply shaped by his own background, even though as is typical the Bible is very subtle in discussing it.

Although Elijah is certainly a revered biblical figure, that of Obadiah the loyal and godly steward to Ahab, is vastly less well known. We justly celebrate the bravery of Elijah in standing up to the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah who ate at Queen Jezebel’s table, who Elijah cruelly mocked and embarrassed before killing on Mount Carmel, but the bravery of Obadiah in feeding and sheltering one hundred prophets of God in two caves is less well known, even though it is far more likely in our own lives that we will show our bravery and godliness not by public acts calling nations to repentance as much as still small acts of kindness and compassion on fellow godly people. This is especially true in situations where to be a godly and compassionate person with outgoing love and concern for one’s fellow man puts one in danger, whether it is seeking to promote justice for rape victims and refugees or whether it means sheltering Jews from murderous Nazis or whether it means giving food and water to prophets under the rule of a wicked and murderous queen who wishes to stamp out the existence of God’s ways. The example of Obadiah, in providing an example of how people can use their power, even in wicked regimes, for the good and for the glory of God, is one that can inspire us in our own dark and corrupt times.

Elijah himself, who failed to see the existence of a hundred prophets or a godly steward in his own life as being signs of the subtle and quiet workings of God’s ways even in a society whose political leadership was hellbent on evil, eventually came to recognize the still small voice of God himself, as he was fed for 40 days on the strength of a single meal and he was reminded that God is not only in the fire and whirlwind and earthquake in life but in the quiet moments of life as well. After gathering himself to hear that still small voice, he was told about who would succeed him as an agent of God’s judgment on a wicked and rebellious nation. After all, we live only for a short time, but the workings of salvation and judgment take place over many generations, as the behavior of leaders and the choices of many ordinary and obscure people combine to shape the destinies of nations and civilizations far beyond our comprehension or even recognition.

Let us not, therefore, repeat the mistakes of Elijah in our own lives. For if we are prone to look only at spectacular events, we may miss the quiet workings of God’s divine providence in our own lives as well as the lives of many humble and nameless people whose quiet defiance of the powers and principalities of this world mark them as God’s people even if no one ever even remembers their names, or that they ever existed at all after they are gone. If we are prone to fancy ourselves more alone than we are, then we likewise are more prone to despair over the shifting winds and vicissitudes of our lives, because we will lack the grounding that comes from being connected with others who we can encourage and be encouraged from in turn. For that connection is a part of God’s design for our lives as well. We were not made to be alone, even if our ultimate salvation cannot ride on someone else’s coattails. That combination between individual responsibility and community identity is one that we all have to work out, whether we are pubic figures or more private ones. That still small voice still speaks to us, regardless of how loud our world is, or how quiet and isolated our lives.

[1] See for example, the following entries:







[2] http://www.aviarpress.com/html/plays.html under “Even After All These Years”

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/i-am-no-better-than-my-fathers/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A Still Small Voice

  1. Pingback: Why Must Holy Places Be Dark Places? | Edge Induced Cohesion

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  4. Pingback: A Man With A Nature Like Ours | Edge Induced Cohesion

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