We had to read tons of books in high school, and there were some kids at school that would just read the cliff notes. Do they still sell those? It was a condensed form of the book. You could get the main theme of the chapters without having to read the whole thing. You missed out on some of the details. If you read the cliff notes, you might not get an A+, but you would pass the tests. We want short and concise because that is all we have time for. In fact, if you can say it in a few hashtags, you are golden. #shortandsweet #under500words #butGodwantstospeak
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. (Excerpts I Kings 19)
We had to read tons of books in high school, and there were some kids at school that would just read the cliff notes. Do they still sell those? It was a condensed form of the book. You could get the main theme of the chapters without having to read the whole thing. You missed out on some of the details. If you read the cliff notes, you might not get an A+, but you would pass the tests.
It seems as a society, we want everything short and sweet. When I researched writing a blog, “they” say to keep it below 500 words or no one will read it. If it is more than a certain number of paragraphs or takes more than a minute or two to read, you will lose half your audience. Why? The busier we get, the shorter our attention span gets.
We want short and concise because that is all we have time for. In fact, if you can say it in a few hashtags, you are golden. #shortandsweet #under500words #butGodwantstospeak
I love this story of Elijah. He went to the mountain of God and met with Him there. If we were going to hashtag this, it would probably look like this: #whirlwind #earthquake #fire #stillsmallvoice. But you miss so much when you hashtag it.
Sometimes I think we can ho-hum over details in the story. We skim it. We look for the highlights and forget the rest. This whole encounter had to take time. We can read it in 10 seconds or less, but God doesn’t hashtag our encounters with Him. And this encounter was life-changing for Elijah!
First there was a mighty wind. God had used wind before, after the flood and during the plagues on Egypt. He probably gave Elijah time to process that thought. “God. Is that You?” Next there was an earthquake. Elijah knew about the earth swallowing Korah. God used earthquakes before. “God. Are You here now?” God had been in the fire before….who remembers the pillar of fire by night? “This has to be God. God, where are You?”
All these things played out before Elijah. They could have easily been distractions to pull his attention away. It wasn’t until they were done that he could hear His still small voice calling to him, and Elijah responded to that.
Elijah had to come close to hear what He was saying. And what He said was life-changing. It was the final three directives to Elijah to finish out his ministry, including who was to take his place. He couldn’t have gotten that in a hashtag. He had to wait for it.
If that would have been any one of us, we may have gotten distracted and gone chasing after those other things. We may have gotten tired of waiting for Him after the wind or the fire or the earthquake. “Well, guess He’s not coming today!” And we would have missed the importance of the moment.
Relationship with God can’t be found just in a hashtag. Jesus would withdraw from everyone and go pray for hours or all night…a lot. Did He walk with God as He went? Certainly! But there is something to be found in taking time to commune with Him in His Word and His presence that cannot be found any other way.
What is distracting you from that still small voice? He’s been dealing with me about this lately, and believe me, I have a list of things that I’m looking to set aside to draw in closer. He is looking for a people who are willing to set aside distractions and the “fluff” of life to press into Him…to hear Him…to know Him. Because as Daniel said, “They that know their God will do exploits.” And there isn’t a more exciting life than one lived doing exploits for Him!
Let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)