Have you ever completely missed what someone was saying to you? I was on a plane once with a lady sitting beside me. She began telling me about how she and her husband, newlyweds, were traveling together but could not sit together. I told her that a similar thing had happened to my wife and me on our honeymoon, but that someone kindly offered to trade seats so we could sit together.
For some reason, her purpose for telling me her story just never clicked with me. Later that day, I realized she wanted me to offer to trade seats. I had heard and understood all her words well enough to respond with my common story, yet I completely missed the point of the message she was trying to communicate.
Do you ever feel when you read the Bible that you’ve “missed the message”? I have. It’s easy to read the Bible just like we read a news article or a blog, or even with less intensity and focus. Sometimes for me Bible reading becomes dry and habitual when it should be dynamic and life changing.
Let’s discover together how to be sure we are hearing what God is saying to us through His word, so we don’t miss the message.
Read 1 Kings 19:1-18:
19 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” 3 Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
The Lord Speaks to Elijah
9 There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 15 And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
1 Kings 19: 1-18
Now, think about the following questions to get a sense of the deeper message:
Elijah traveled 41 days to the mountain where he heard from God (1 Kings 19:4-8). Why did he have to go so far? How far do you need to go to be ready to listen to God? Is there a sin you need to confess, or a relationship you need to mend? Are you willing to go as far as is required to hear from God?
What made Elijah cover his face and seek shelter in the mouth of the cave? Why was he now reacting this way and did not act this way for the wind, earthquake, and fire? (1 Kings 19: 11-18)
If you had the choice of hearing God audibly like Elijah did, or hearing God through His Word when you read the Bible, which would you choose? Read Hebrews 1:1-3. Does that change your answer? Why or why not?
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 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. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Ask God to help you hear Him when you read His word.