A young child tries to walk… Takes a couple of steps, then falls awkwardly. Dad picks her up and whispers words of encouragement to her. She tries to walk again… whispers of love.
A mother and her young son are sitting on a train. The train enters a tunnels, and suddenly everything goes black. The boy cries out for his mother, and she whispers, “I’m right here sweetheart.” Whispers of love.
A man holds the reins of a horse and leads him through the undergrowth. Suddenly a twig snaps, and the horse reacts by pulling back and rearing up, fear in its eyes. The man calms the horse, and whispers gently to it, and the horse begins to settle. Whispers of love.
A couple walk along a beach at sunset. They stop and embrace, and whisper in each other’s ear, “I love you.” Whispers of love.
These are whispers of love.
In the noise and pace of our modern society, we mostly don’t hear whispers. They are swamped by the racket of living in the 21st century, but they’re still there, still being whispered, but not often being heard.
We have the horse whisperer, we have the dog whisperer, but where oh where is the person whisperer? Where are the Whispers of love for you and me?
THE STILL SMALL VOICE
1 Kings 19
Elijah was a powerful prophet of God. He stood against the wickedness of Jezebel and King Ahab, and proclaimed holiness when his life was in great peril. He had a huge victory over the bad guys on Mount Carmel, but coming down off that huge high, he ran in fear of his life.
Down, discouraged, miserable, he fled to a cave in the mountains, and God sought him out and found him there. He needed God to connect with him at the lowest point in his life.
If you’re down and low today, you need God to connect with you. If you’re discouraged, overwhelmed by life, wishing you could run away, then guest what, you’re in good company, because you’re just like the prophet Elijah.You need to hear a whisper.
Let’s look at his encounter with God…
1 Kings 19:11-13
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
All the noise, the clamour, the earthquakes, the fires, the thunder and lightening… And where do we find God? In the still, small voice, in the quietness, in the gentle whisper of love.
Whispers of love are there, all around us, if we can quieten our hearts enough to hear them. But are they always God, and how can we be sure?
Some whispers don’t encourage you, they discourage you. Who among us has never been the victim of gossip like we read about in these passages…
All my enemies whisper together against me;
they imagine the worst for me, saying,
“A vile disease has afflicted him;
he will never get up from the place where he lies.”
Even my close friend,
someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
has turned against me.
what my enemies whisper and mutter
against me all day long.
How do you feel when they whisper about you, then stop why you get close? Sometimes whispers can really hurt, if you’re not in on the conversation.
As Errol Flynn said, “It’s not what they say about you, it’s what they whisper!”
Another whisper is really creepy. I believe in God and the devil, I believe in angels and also demons. Job describes an incredible encounter with a demon…
“A word was secretly brought to me,
my ears caught a whisper of it.
Amid disquieting dreams in the night,
when deep sleep falls on people,
fear and trembling seized me
and made all my bones shake.
A spirit glided past my face,
and the hair on my body stood on end.
but I could not tell what it was.
A form stood before my eyes,
and I heard a hushed voice:
‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?
I have experienced this phenomenon. It’s absolutely terrifying, you cannot move and the terror that runs up and down your spine is beyond the worse horror movie you’ve ever seen. You have no doubt that this is not from God, because the evil presence is palpable. Demons are real, but the Bible says,
1 John 4:4
the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
So not all whispers are the Lord, not all whispers are of love, some are just, to quote George Michael, careless whispers.
IT’S THE WHISPER
The Hebrew word for whisper used in the Isaiah passage means a voice… It could be a loud, commanding voice, a whisper, a crying out. But the word is preceded by a Hebrew word literally translated as thin, gaunt or dwarfed. So the voice of God here is not a commanding thunder,but a thin, still small voice. Why? Because the quiet whisper is a sign of affection. It’s a Whispers of love.
Whispering doesn’t work very well if you’re speaking to someone who’s standing on the other side of the room. God doesn’t want a long-distance relationship; he wants a close, intimate one.
Christianity is not a religion, it’s not a set of rules, it’s not the Ten Commandments or fire or brimstone… Christianity is relationship, between God and you, one on one, intimate, close, loving, special.
HOW TO HEAR A WHISPER OF LOVE
How do you begin to hear and recognise God’s voice? In the noise and hustle and bustle of life,how can you hear the Whispers of love from God?
1. SEEK GOD
To hear the gentle whisper,you need a heart that’s seeking God.
I bet that’s you, right? I mean, why are you here at church? Why do you come back? What is it that draws you here? Is it so you can meet friends, so you can have our awesome morning teas or coffee, or are you seeking the Lord?
Do you have a seeking heart? In the Old Testament, David had this kind of heart. He once wrote, “In my heart, I long for you, as I would long for a stream in a scorching desert” (Psalm 63:1, CEV)
If you want to hear God’s voice, you need to seek him like David.
Seeking God is about being honest with him. Tell him any frustrations, fears or doubts you may have about hearing from him. Ask him to give you ears to hear and eyes to see the ways he is speaking to you. Ask him for the ability to recognise the difference between his voice and your thoughts.
Don’t be a fake. Some people believe in the power of positive pretending. Fake it till you make it.
Listen, God doesn’t honour lying, to someone else or to yourself. Don’t try and fake faith, don’t try and talk yourself into what you want God to do for you. If the Lord says it, you can believe it. If you tell the Lord what He’s going to do, if you think God is just there to do your bidding, then you’re in for major disappointment. Don’t try and conjure what’s not there, for goodness sake, just be honest with yourself and with God.
Here’s a promise:
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
That’s His promise… Seek Him, and you will find Him! Listen, and you will hear a Whispers of love.
2. READ YOUR BIBLE
If you want to hear the whisper of God, you need to learn His language. When you study the Bible, you open yourself up to the very heart and personality of God. It’s like learning to speak a heavenly language. God will speak to you from His Word.
As you study the Scripture, keep your eyes open for teachings and stories that reveal who God is and what He’s like. Ask Him to help you understand and apply what you’re reading.
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
God speaks to me nearly every day from His Word. As I read from the Bible Reading plan, you would be amazed at how many verses jump off the page at me… Every single day! The Whispers of love!
3. PRACTICE LISTENING
To hear a whisper you need to be a good listener. Hearing God’s voice requires you learning the skill of listening.
This may sound easy, but actually making time to sit still and listen in your heart can be a challenge in our super-busy world. It is hard to get quiet and even harder to stay that way.
How often have you tried to wait on God, only to be interrupted by a “hold on a sec …” because the phone rings, a Facebook message pings, or someone’s at the door. What keeps you from really stopping and waiting on the Lord. The phone? Facebook? The TV?
You can also practice hearing the Lord all through the day
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
That small voice. That little prompting. That tiny though that pops into your brain, that you know is not you. The more you practice listening, the more easily you will hear His voice. The more you know Him, the more you recognise His voice, and the more you are ready and willing to trust Him and obey.
Hearing from God is about more than just turning off the cell and closing down your Facebook app. It requires a quiet heart. Settling those thoughts, putting aside the urgent things of the day. It means becoming still enough on the inside despite the craziness on the outside.
4. LEARN TO BE PATIENT
Hearing the whisper of God takes time, effort and patience. Learning to hear, recognise and understand the ways God speaks, like the shampoo commercial, doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen.
It may take several years of practice, and patient waiting on God, before you’re completely comfortable with hearing and recognising God’s voice. No matter how long it takes, be confident that he has heard your prayers and will respond.
Being that close to God is worth the wait!
Waiting is a different concept for God. It does not mean sitting, wasting time, bored and twiddling your thumbs.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Waiting in God’s dimension means being strong, taking heart and continuing to do what you do until God steps in and makes it happen. Waiting to hear the whisper is like that… Be strong, take heart and keep listening, waiting and seeking God. He will not let you down. He promises He will answer.
5. ALWAYS BE OBEDIENT
Hearing God’s whisper doesn’t mean much if we don’t obey. Many people constantly wonder if what they hear is really from God, and this constant wondering paralyses them, so they never take action. This keeps them from taking action. The fear of being wrong prevents them from ever having the opportunity to be right.
Remember, God looks at the heart. When he sees you stepping out in faith—even if you’re heading in the wrong direction—he can lovingly correct you, pointing you in the right direction. It’s easier to steer a moving ship, so step out, be obedient and take action about what you believe God is whispering to you.
If God whispers to you to buy a coffee for a homeless man, or ask a guy at the bank if you can pray for him, why not step out and listen and be obedient?
Ultimately, far more important than your religious devotion, your going to church or your Christian jargon is your obedience.
1 Samuel 15:22b
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
As you’re obedient in small things, so the Lord will lead you into greater things.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Through a pattern of obedience, you begin to develop a confidence and assurance that you really have heard from God. You can’t really explain it. It’s internal. Someone may ask how you know you’re supposed to do something in particular. You respond, “I can just sense it inside. I just know.” You have learned to hear the Whispers of love from God.
You should always have a yardstick concerning what you hear. The Word of God is our yardstick, against which we measure and judge every whisper. God will never whisper something that contradicts His revealed will in the Bible. He just won’t!
We’ve all played this game at some time. You start with a whisper, and the further along the line it gets, the more twisted and crazy the whisper becomes.
And that’s often what it’s like hearing the whisper of God. The further away from the source you are, the less distinct the voice is. If you only ever hear God in a sermon, in a you tube clip or from your friends, then you are missing out.
You need to be able to hear His whisper, and even more than that, to recognise it, to be familiar with it. Then you need to obey it, to be ready to act upon what the whisper says, and to live moment by moment in constant communication with God.
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
The Greek word used in this passage for voice is the word phone, from which we get the English word phone. So when His sheep hear His voice, it’s like a personal phone connection between you and God!
Can you recognise the Whispers of love from God? Do you live in His presence moment by moment? Do you want to?
PRACTICE THE PRESENCE
It is not enough to hear on occasions, when we have a need or a problem to face. We need to have an open line to the throne of God every moment. We looked earlier at this verse from Isaiah…
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
I you can tune your heart to that still, small voice, if you can live moment by moment in communication with God, sensitive to His every whisper, then your entire life will change. You won’t approach decisions, business, family or anything in the same way. You will start to see everything God’s way, and you will begin to walk in victory every moment!
CS Lewis once said,, “Prayer doesn’t change God; it changes me.”
How profound and true that is! Your communication with God is your intimate connection with Him, it’s your lifeline direct to the Father who loves you, who whispers His love to you. His Whispers of love.
Then, when you are getting closer to Him, He allows you to participate in the work that He is doing and even to see His actions in relationship to your prayers. God hears and answers every prayer, but His purposes in prayer go far beyond giving you the answer that suits you!
God wants to transform your life through the process of prayer, through the familiarity of hearing and recognising and obeying His holy Whispers of love.. Your personal relationship with Christ is deepened and enlarged when you spend time talking to Him, and listening to His voice.. As you come into His presence with reverence and a quiet heart, ready to listen, He begins to purify your heart, change your perspectives and sift your priorities. You develop a passion for obedience to God, and you begin to see Him as the Provider for all your needs.
Most important, you experience the peace that comes from knowing God is in control (Phil. 4:6-7). Your anxiety melts away as you learn to trust Him. These are just some of the ways God uses prayer to change your heart. The more you pray, the more transformations you’ll discover. The more you recognise God’s Whispers of love, the more you obey His still, small voice, the more you will live in the peace that only comes from being at the centre of His will and purpose.
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden