Missing the Voice of God

How Christians Become Unaware of the Voice of God

1 Kings 19:1-18


Sept 16, 2012 PM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland



I.       Introduction (Hebrews 1:1,2)


A.    God is not silent. He has spoken throughout all time


1.      From the beginning when He created the universe (Gen 1, "God said")

2.      In the garden of Eden, God not only walked with Adam and Eve, but talked with them, and listened to (communicated with) them

3.      God spoke throughout the Old Testament by the voice of prophets

4.      God spoke through the mouth of Jesus (John 7:46)

5.      Even now, everything in the universe is held together by that same voice of God (Heb 1:3, "upholding all things by the word of His power")


B.     But something is wrong with our communication with heaven, our ability to hear that voice (Act 28:27)


1.      It gets so easily drowned out, and becomes lost in all the "static" of life

2.      Our hearts end up hard, and cold (Heb 4:7)

3.      Jesus ends up on the outside of even churches (Rev 3:20)


C.     So how does it happen, that we become deaf to the voice of God? Christians don't start off that way (John 10:27)!


1.      To get saved, you had to hear His call to repent - dump your sins

2.      To get your sins washed away, you had to respond to Christ's command to call upon His name for salvation

3.      To get the new life, the Christian life, you had to decide to answer Christ's call to "follow Me!"


D.    It all goes back to our heart - that piece of communications equipment that we all have, but is faulty because of sin

E.     Elijah – one of the greatest prophets of all time - had problems with his receiver unit - became unable to hear God, to hear His words, even after great spiritual victories

F.      The Lord played it out for us in 1 Kings for us to learn from him


1.      How we go wrong…

2.      And how to fix it


II.    Message - Error! No text of specified style in document. ( 1 Kings 19:1-18)


A.    How Elijah Became Unaware of the Voice of God (19:1-12)


1.      He Got Diverted - His attention was pointed elsewhere (1-3)


a.       Elijah knew what it was like to walk with God, and to hear His voice (18:1,36), as did the nation of Israel

b.      But instead, he turned his attention, his focus away:


1)      Listened to his enemies - Jezebel, and king Ahab. They started talking about how powerful they were, and that they would kill him - when has it ever been different?

2)      Thought of himself - worried about his own life – listened to his own complaining


c.       Becomes embarrassed - just wanted to be alone


1)      When you are embarrassed of being a Christian, you have been listening to the wrong crowd (i.e., The TV news, and talk shows, and the ungodly)

2)      You have been thinking of only yourself, instead of the Lord


2.      He Became Imbalanced (19:4) - Out of Balance


a.       Concerning his physical body – we are physical beings, and have physical needs


1)      Forgot to rest! In the previous chapter, Elijah had just fought and won a major spiritual battle (1Kg 18:19-40):


a)      Challenged the entire nation of Israel to a test to see who was God? Baal (their idols), or Jehovah

b)      Waited the entire day as the false priests performed their fancy rituals and sacrifices

c)      Then personally, rebuilt a large stone altar, killed, and cut up an entire bull, prayed, and watched as the fire of God consumed the sacrifice

d)     He then personally killed the 850 false prophets!

e)      What a day! You better believe he was wrecked-tired!

f)       But did he rest? No. His victory quickly slid into defeat, not because he was beaten, but because he was easy prey for the devil's lies - like being vulnerable to illness when worn out


2)      Forgot to eat! He was so attentive to the things being said about him, and the threats facing him, that he forgot what was needed was a good meal! This is the devil's trap


a)      To get you to work so long and hard each day

b)      To get you to be so busy - no time for God or reflection

c)      To get you to have no balance in your life

d)     So that you are good for nobody, no how! And heaven becomes millions of light years away!


b.      Concerning his prayer time - Elijah was a spiritual being as well as a physical being, and was starving spiritually as well!


1)      His prayers had become only one-way communications - at God

2)      His prayers were only to give out, complain, blame God, want to die - he had given up (did not seek strength or instructions)


c.       Concerning his perception - wasn't thinking any longer - just feeling


1)      Of his own faith - didn't think he was on the winning side any more (it wasn't true, but his feelings had been allowed to dominate instead of the truth)

2)      Of his own usefulness to God - thought his usefulness was over

3)      Of God's participation - thought God was lazy since didn't seem to be doing anything lately - what have you done for me lately!


d.      Next time you are finishing up in a spiritual battle, rest, keep in prayer (two-way communication), and prepare for the next battle


3.      He Ignored God's Goodness (19:5-8; Rom 2:4) - his heart was hardening


a.       God's Provision – God had provided food, and protection

b.      God's Persistence - God had kept at Elijah even when disinterested – didn’t abandon

c.       God's Preparation - God was preparing Elijah for the battles ahead

d.      God's Power - Elijah didn't realize that God's power to do the impossible was still on him - to go a 40 day journey on one meal to Mt Horeb, Mt Sinai, the place where Israel heard the voice of God!

e.       God was being so good to Elijah, and Elijah was BLIND to it all!


4.      He Developed Wrong Expectations (19:9-12) Misunderstood 2 things:


a.       Thought God didn't realize what was going on


1)      He felt he had better fill God in on what's been happening down here lately

2)      Thought God didn't know what Elijah had been busy doing

3)      Thought God should know he was about to be killed (Mk 4:37,38)


b.      Thought God would act differently - God presents four situations to see how Elijah would react - Elijah looked for God in each, except only in the last one did God actually speak!


1)      A hurricane - expected God was trying to tell him something

2)      An earthquake - that got his attention - rocks falling, near death

3)      A furious fire - wide-eyed Elijah, but no real meaning

4)      A still, small voice - the same voice Elijah had been hearing all along, but didn't want to listen to

5)      In the first 3 situations we believe GOD is trying to communicate with us - acts of God. But only in the last, does God actually speak!


5.      Elijah truly had become deaf,  and unimpressed with God's voice! But God wasn't through trying to get through to him


B.     God Next Shows How to Repair Your Heart Towards Him (19:12b-18)


1.      That is how God describes His Book - as a still, small voice in this world

2.      So, shut up and sit still in His Presence - quit squirming around, and fighting the Lord


a.       Quit listening to yourself and all your own complaining

b.      This "still" voice was something that didn't come from all sides (like the world), but was coming at him quietly from just one direction

c.       This voice was like a whisper, a calm voice - God is never flustered

d.      Requires that we shut up (we talk too much), and get away from all the noise to be able to hear it (we have so much noise around us ON PURPOSE) - that's why the prayer closet is so important! Take a walk, and talk with God, but LISTEN to Him too


3.      Humble yourself there!


a.       This voice of God is a small voice - not a BIG, BOOMING voice

b.      To hear these words, you are going to have to not even breathe (Ex: of listening to a noise downstairs at night)

c.       As a trembling little child (1Sam 3:2-10; Isaiah 66:2)


4.      Listen to every word of God - when reading, pay careful attention


a.       You will be really surprised what just ONE WORD might say right to your heart and to your situation that you are going through!

b.      Elijah was actually hearing God’s voice this time - as we all should!

c.       Faith gets repaired, and stronger by hearing God's faithful words, washing away the sins, cleansing the mind, clearing the heart

d.      When we ignore God's words, we reject God's influence and power for our lives!



5.      Answer Him Back (19:13,14; Cf Rev 3:20)


a.       Talk WITH Him, instead of just AT Him – HE is talking to you


1)      Through Nature (Ps 19:1)

2)      Through the pages of this Book

3)      Through preaching

4)      Through private prayer time

5)      Talk with Him – HE IS THE BEST COUNSELLOR


b.      Notice how God started back over - so patient, and truly merciful

c.       Remember, Elijah was a mature believer, who should have known better!


6.      Prepare for the next Battle (19:15,16,18)


a.       God's words are not meant to make your life easier

b.      They are to prepare you for each battle, and to enable you to win as a team (19:18)

c.       God wanted to use Elijah, even though Elijah wanted to retire


III. Conclusion -


A.    How We Become Unaware of the Voice of God


1.      By Getting Our Attention Diverted – too many of the world’s diversions

2.      By Becoming Imbalanced - Out of Balance

3.      By Ignoring God's Goodness - hardening our hearts

4.      By Developing Wrong Expectations


B.     From Now on, When God Seems Silent:


1.      Shut up and sit still around this Bible - shut out the noise and static so that you can listen

2.      Humble yourself as you listen

3.      Listen to every word of God - when reading, pay careful attention

4.      Answer Him back - Answer the door - Communicate, invite Him back in

5.      Prepare for the next Battle