December 21, 2022

God’s Voice

1 Kings 19:11-13

When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. The earth shook, the rocks split. . . .

—  Matthew 27:50-51

Elijah was on Mount Horeb when God said, “I am about to pass by.” Then a shattering wind started to blow. But God was not in the wind. Then the earth started to shake violently. But God was not in the earthquake. Then a fire started to blaze on the mountainside. But God was not in the fire. Then, with all this blazing, shaking, and shattering going on, God spoke in a whisper (or as the Hebrew text suggests, there was “a sound of sheer silence”—NRSV).

God sent Jesus into a mad world, a world gone crazy. We know what that’s like. It was a world filled with noise and turbulence. Roman armies rattled their weapons of domination, while rebel groups raised their shouts for freedom. Religious factions argued their points of doctrine, while broken people lifted their cries of pain.

In the midst of all this racket, God spoke quietly (silently?), sending us Jesus. He didn’t look like much. And in the world’s eyes he didn’t amount to much. Even so, his enemies and the Romans would orchestrate a spectacle to be rid of him. At the center of it all was a cross.

The sun went dark that afternoon, until Jesus cried out with all the voice he had: “My God, why have you forsaken me?” And when he died, crying out again and giving up his spirit, the earth shook and the rocks split. Because God had spoken.

Jesus, help us to listen for your voice, which calls us by name and leads us in the way of faithfulness. Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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