Turning Up the Heat? By Eitan Shishkoff 3rd October 2020
Is it hot where you are? It’s unseasonably hot here in Israel as I write. Is this a meteorological message from the Lord that He’s “turning up the heat?”
I find myself drawing that conclusion. The Corona pandemic wears on and, at least here in Israel, we wear our masks to comply with health precautions. Enormous acreage is being devastated by horrendous fires in my former home state of California. And the protests against police brutality and racism continue to turn violent, leaving more dead lives lying in the streets of American cities.
None of the above even touches the hot tensions that continue here in Israel with Hamas-inspired fire balloons sent to ignite dry Israeli fields. There is widespread frustration with our “coalition government” that keeps the news cycle going with unending crises threatening the dissolution of our parliament (the Knesset) and what would be a fourth election in only 18 months.
I have to stop or I’ll fill the page with dreary references to the state of the world. All of these realities and more lead me to ask “Lord, what are you doing? What are you saying? Where do I fit into all of this?”
Like Elijah in the Cave (1 Kings 19:9-18)
I believe that in the midst of all of this, the voice of God is calling to each of us. Can we hear it?
Elijah took refuge in a cave from the bad news of his world. The incredible victory on Mt. Carmel was followed by threats against his life and exhaustion—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I can easily parallel our situation with his.
Then, God caused a violent wind, an earthquake, and fire—but He was not “in them.” They were an overt means of capturing Elijah’s attention. Isn’t that what’s happening to us now? There are violent winds tearing at society’s foundations, earthquakes endangering world-wide health, and fires destroying what has been secure. God is not “in them.” Nevertheless, His aim is, through these upheavals, to wake us up to a rapidly and radically deteriorating world. And then for us to hear His voice—each one of us, personally, intimately.
Hearing a Whisper
Once He had the prophet’s attention, God whispered to him in a “still, small voice.”
Here I’m forced to break in with a confession. Not of sin, but of a physical infirmity. My hearing ain’t what it used to be. I mention it because I now have to listen more intently than ever before when people are talking. I want so much to hear what they’re saying. Yet at times it escapes me. If I’m that intent on hearing my friends and family, how much more should I want to hear what the Lord is saying to me? Bottom line? I’VE GOT TO LISTEN with full attention.
And here is our priority—to lean into the Lord, even as John did, with his head on Yeshua’s chest (John 13:25). All the more so, in a time of confusion and distress, I need to lean into my Shepherd’s heart. “My sheep hear my voice and I lead them…” (John 10:3). And we’re not just talking about survival. There was more for Elijah to do; and there’s more for us to do!
Renewed Calling and Authority
Once the Almighty had Elijah’s attention, He renewed His call on the prophet’s life and gave him clear directions for the next stage of activity. Elijah left the cave of depression, isolation, and inaction. From hearing the Lord’s quiet voice he went forth with fresh boldness and authority. He impacted kingdoms and set in motion the powerful ministry of the next generation (Elisha).
The only way to know “Where do I fit into all of this?” is to hear His voice speaking to you intimately and personally—for your life. THIS is our response to the chaos and uncontrollable events surrounding us: hearing His voice. God has a calling, a role, an assignment, a destiny for each of us. To know what that is I must draw very close to Him and listen with my heart wide open.