Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 2 – Gentleness (1 Kings 19:12)
LESSON: GENTLENESS (The Spirit’s still, small voice)
Memory Verse: “And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” – 1 Kings 19:12 (NKJV)
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah, a prophet of God had a “showdown” on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal, wherein they set up two altars and declared that whoever is able to call on their god to bring down fire on the sacrifice is the true God. Sure enough, even when 450 prophets of Baal cried out to their false god from morning to evening, shouting and dancing and even slashing themselves as was their practice when offering sacrifices, nothing happened. But when Elijah had the people pour water on the sacrifice and drench the whole altar in water, he simply prayed that God would show the people that He, the Lord, is God, and fire fell from heaven and burned the sacrifice, the altar, even the stones and soil and dried up all the water. This miracle resulted in the Israelites’ repentance and they killed all the false prophets. This also greatly angered King Ahab’s wife, Queen Jezebel, so much that she sought to kill Elijah, and Elijah ran for his life and hid in the wilderness to escape Jezebel’s wrath.
Here we find Elijah after all his running and hiding. He was feeling very much sorry for himself and he didn’t know what to do. But God had a message for him; a plan, a message and a word of instruction; and in Elijah’s case, this is how He let His presence be known.
Bible Passage: 1 Kings 19:11-12
“Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces 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; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”
Points to Ponder:
- When we are troubled, we sometimes want God to make all things right again and we wish for miracles to happen so that all will be well. We want to feel His presence through a supernatural experience, thinking that it is through feeling, seeing and hearing great and amazing things will we know He is with us.
- The Lord is able to make Himself known in wondrous ways, such as fire from heaven or as we know from the history of God’s people, through the parting of the Red Sea or manna from heaven. He is able to show His glory in all it’s grandness and magnificence and with so much power that people are left in awe of His majesty.
- But when there is a conflict inside our hearts, when the struggle in inward and we’re feeling lost and alone, God can patiently wait for us to calm down and choose to speak to us through a “still small voice.” Our God is both powerful and mighty, and yet he is also gentle. He is the God of peace and tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).”
- Elijah was so troubled that even a display of spectacular things such as a great wind, earthquake and fire did not do anything to change his mood. Eventually, it was God’s gentle questioning and instruction that got him refocused on what he needed to do.
- This “gentle whisper” or “still, small voice” can be a prompting which we hear in our spirit, much like our conscience. It prompts us to act according to God’s will. God also speaks in a “still, small voice” through the Bible. Scripture is the written Word of God and when we read it while seeking God’s will, often, God answers by leading us to a particular verse or story in the Bible that can be either a word of encouragement, a gentle rebuke or correction, the solution to our problem or a word of instruction on what to do next.
- Our God always has a good plan; the solution to our problem; a greater purpose for our trials and sufferings, and He wants to make His will known to His children. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and be still, so that we may be able to hear God’s gentle whisper in our hearts.
Prayer: (A prayer by Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J.)
LORD, Look down upon us, this day, this hour. Regardless of what has gone before, or what will come after, give us the grace to consecrate this time entirely to You—all the actions of our body and soul.
May all the thoughts that come to us be true.
May all the things to which our hearts go out be beautiful, with the beauty of God.
May all the things we want be good.
Give us the light to see Your will, the grace to love it, and the courage and strength to do it.
We ask You this through Christ Our Lord.