Several years ago, the president of a college suggested that students join her in “powering down” for an evening. Although the students agreed, it was with great reluctance that they laid aside their cell phones and entered the chapel. For the next hour, they sat quietly in a service of music and prayer. Afterward, one participant described the experience as “a wonderful opportunity to calm down . . . a place to just tune out all of the extra noise.”
Sometimes, it’s difficult to escape “extra noise.” The clamor of both our external and internal worlds can be deafening. But when we’re willing to “power down,” we begin to understand the psalmist’s reminder of the necessity to be still so we can know God (Psalm 46:10). In 1 Kings 19, we discover as well that when the prophet Elijah looked for the Lord, he didn’t find Him in the pandemonium of the wind or the earthquake or the fire (vv. 9–13). Instead, Elijah heard God’s gentle whisper (v. 12).
Extra noise is practically guaranteed during celebrations. When families and friends come together, it’s likely a time of animated conversations, excess food, boisterous laughter, and sweet expressions of love. But when we quietly open our hearts, we find that time with God is even sweeter. Like Elijah, we’re more likely to encounter God in the stillness. And sometimes, if we listen, we too will hear that gentle whisper.
What will help you draw close to God in silence and solitude? How can you regularly “power down” both your devices and your busy mind?
Elijah’s meeting with the Lord on “Horeb, the mountain of God” (1 Kings 19:8) was not the first time the Lord met with one of His servants in that place. Centuries earlier the Lord had met Moses there. “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God” (Exodus 3:1). At Horeb the Lord revealed Himself to Moses and commissioned him to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt (vv. 2–12). The mountain we mostly associate Moses with is Mount Sinai (19:18–20). But passages like Deuteronomy 4:10 help us to see that Horeb and Sinai are used synonymously and interchangeably in Scripture. Two of the Lord’s chosen servants met Him on that mountain and departed to do His will in His strength.