Seeking A King
Part 1: Whispers
If my past 9 months were a book, it would be plainly titled: Silence from God. Penned by God Himself, the story of my life seemed linear and predictable with the undertones of a sinking plot. I had come to a crossroads on this missionary journey, longing for direction & clarity, only to be met with an uncomfortable stillness to no avail. Seasons began to fade in and out, right along with the hope I had for an answer. But unbeknownst to me behind this quiet facade, the story arc of my life was taking root, as His haunting silence was a beckoning for the full attention of my soul.
In this wilderness, I met noble nomads along the way who’ve said I was being too hard on myself. Such easy words to swallow when it’s a battle I face so naturally - setting expectations too high for my own good. So with well meaning hearts, companions blanketed me with godly affirmation to keep me warm through those cold and quiet nights; and tightly, so tightly, I held on.
“….God is not silent …I’m overreacting …” I would whisper, and lay my mind to rest for another day.
I had once heard that Time, is the supreme judge of all things truly Eternal. And soon, the ephemeral nature of those friendly voices of human affirmation were revealed as they began losing their warmth. Like a fading candle, the wick of encouragement sank beneath the wax that held it altogether. So I was left with exactly that; nothing but a shell of wax and the silky smoke of temporary relief, rising like a spirit leaving it’s body. I had no regrets though. I gladly and faithfully received the words of biblical encouragement. Yet it’s powers could not silence, the ringing Silence of God in my life….
In 1 Kings 22, we are presented with an account of King Ahab seeking the word of the Lord. He calls upon 400 prophets of Israel for wise counsel to determine if he should declare war to reclaim the land of Rimoth Gilead:
“So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”
“Go,” they answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”
But in the midst of 400 prophets raving on about God’s favor & approval, there still remained one prophet named Micaiah who was hated by the king. “He never prophesies anything good concerning me, but always evil” he said. But begrudgingly, King Ahab summoned him to inquire the Lord. At first, Micaiah falls into peer pressure, singing the same old tune of the 400 prophets who went before him (Who wouldn’t?!). But then an interesting turn of events occurrs:
16 But the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”
17 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”
18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”
19 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.
20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’
“One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’
22 “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. “‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’
23 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”
A.W. Tozer once said “God never uses anyone greatly, until he tests them deeply” - and I believe those 400 prophets were used to test two different men that day. The first, was King Ahab: a man with a reckless ambition who was so willing to destroy years of peace to take over a piece of land. So God threw the voices of 400 deceptive prophets to fan the fuel to his pride, testing his heart. Micaiah, surprisingly was the other. Entering into a prophetic moment, he was greeted with the pressures of his prophetic universe of 400 peers. Micaiah at first caved, but eventually overcame his fears, and boldly spoke the word of the Lord to a King who despised him. Micaiah, by god’s grace, made mistakes but overcame. King Ahab, was was shown that very same grace through Micaiah’s prophetic word. Unfortunately, he took no heed to it’s weight, only later be found slain in battle exactly as it was foretold.
In life, we will all inevitably face crossroads that pull the blinders of our faith - challenges, life decisions, and walls of opposition that expose the raw ground we find our firm security in. Some will find themselves standing on the thorny mountains of selfish-ambition; others may tread in the heavy waters of Man’s Approval. But then there are those who will deny themselves, and the world, to seek day and night for the faint whispers of a Holy God, rather than succumb to the screams of 400 “godly” prophets.
The voices of encouragement in my life, were my 400 prophets. The silence of God, was my Micaiah. And what at first seemed like rejection into the outer courts, was rather an overwhelming invitation into the deep; a divine honor that required me to deny myself, and the world even more, so that I might have the strength to dive into the waterfall of God’s heart. I’ve come to learn, that God’s silence is a gift; merely another language of God’s always loving and always pursuing heart. And those that are willing to give ear and not ignore His silence in this world of screaming prophets, will soon discover God is hiding Himself only so that He may be continually found. This reflects His clear nature, that God cares about us, more than we could ever care about ourselves. So much so, that He’ll hide himself to never let us thirst in the stagnant waters of this faith; but rather drinking from the fresh rivers that flow from heaven. Deep & intimate friendship is God’s desire, not shallow acquaintances.
The truth of the matter is that God is always speaking. And when we find our faith and security tested, the earthquakes, fires, and violent winds will try to capture our gaze. But like Elijah, may we fervently seek His voice above all else, waiting for that soft breeze of God - even if all we may hear is our own breathing while on bended knee. Wise counsel, and godly encouragement will always have a rightful place on this journey to know Christ. But nothing, absolutely nothing, will replace the power of God’s voice, to us and for us, even if it is His silence; for “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” (Proverbs 25:2) Because in the end, like the quiet before the storm, His divine silence leads to only more of Him. I know this much is true.
And so from this place, a personal journey to seek the Lord began. To seek God where I would no longer hear the echoes of 400 prophets, nor know the comforts of the familiar. Deny the world and the flesh they say; and so I did. And what at first seemed like a desperate urgency to break the silence of God in my life, turned into a timely invitation to let God take my hand and lead me.
In a matter of days, I found myself in the snowy northern mountains of South Korea, in a monastery with a open heart but most importantly, open ears….
To be continued …..