A Look at The Life of Elijah
God’s Plan of Provision
1 Kings 17:1-24 (Focal 8-24)
- Review: Last week we looked at God’s work in Elijah’s life in the PLACE OF PREPARATION
- 1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from the Gilead settlers, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, I stand before Him, and there will be no dew or rain during these years except by my command!”
14 I will provide rain for your land in season, the early and late rains, and you will harvest your grain, new wine, and oil. 15 I will provide grass in your fields for your livestock. You will eat and be satisfied. 16 Be careful that you are not enticed to turn aside, worship, and bow down to other gods. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you. He will close the sky, and there will be no rain; the land will not yield its produce, and you will perish quickly from the good land the Lord is giving you.
- 2 Then a revelation from the Lord came to him:
3 “Leave here, turn eastward, and hide yourself at the Wadi Cherith where it enters the Jordan.
4 You are to drink from the wadi. I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.”
5 So he did what the Lord commanded. Elijah left and lived by the Wadi Cherith where it enters the Jordan.
6 The ravens kept bringing him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening, and he drank from the wadi.
7 After a while, the wadi dried up because there had been no rain in the land.
- God’s Recognized Plan – Specific for Each of Us…we all have a THERE
- God’s Required Part – Obedience…we have to do it
- God’s Released Provision – He gives what we need as we obey
- God’s Revealed Purpose – He moves us when it’s time to go
- We asked last week why God would allow the brook to dry up, here is a perspective from one of my favorite authors, Watchman Nee:
§ “Because of our proneness to look at the bucket and forget the fountain God has frequently to change His means of supply to keep our eyes fixed on the source.”
§ Elijah was about to learn what God could do with empty vessels!
o Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) – Old Testament
· Introduction: Elijah Leaves the Comfort of the Country (8-10a)
8 THEN the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “GET UP, GO TO Zarephath that belongs to Sidon, and stay THERE. Look, I have commanded a woman who is a widow to provide for you THERE.”
10a So Elijah GOT UP AND WENT to Zarephath.
· Then – at the right time in accordance with God’s plan
o Often I want things to happen in my “then,” but God has the perfect “then.”
§ We might carelessly run ahead of God at times.
§ We might cautiously hesitate behind God at times.
o Do you remember when God gave you a “then” moment?
§ Doesn’t necessarily fit with my timing or agenda
§ Doesn’t always happen at the most convenient of times
· Get up and Go To… – God’s call is to move beyond where we are.
· NOTICE: “THERE” for Elijah had changed…this happens sometimes
o Sometimes that move is a physical move and sometimes a spiritual move
Move past this habit
Move past this problem
Move beyond this activity
Move away from this relationship
Move away from this sin
\Move away from my own will and plan
Move into God’s will and plan
So…God has the perfect THEN and the perfect THERE
Let me Share sometimes in the Bible When God says “Get up and Go…”
· Noah – Genesis 8.16 (Go out of the ark…it’s cool now)
· Abraham – Genesis 12.1 (Go from your home country…follow me)
· Abraham – Genesis 22 (Go to the mountain and sacrifice your beloved son)
· Moses – Exodus 3 (Go to Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go.)
· Jonah – Jonah 1 (Go to Ninevah and tell them my message)
· Joseph and Mary – Matthew (Go to Egypt to protect the child…then Go back to Israel)
· Disciples (and us) – Gospels (Go and make disciples, preach the Gospel, win the lost)
Why Zerapheth? – There are a couple things you need to know about Zerapheth to understand a little more about how difficult a choice to follow when God says go can actually be.
· Zerapheth was in Gentile Territory, a place most Jews would avoid going
· Zerapheth was in Enemy Territory, a place that could be dangerous to the prophet near Jezebel
· Zerapheth was where a specific widow lived, among the neediest people of the culture.
God has a Plan to Provide for His Faithful Servants (10b-13)
10bWhen he arrived at the city gate, there was a widow woman gathering wood. Elijah called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup and let me drink.”
11 As she went to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.”
12 But she said, “As the Lord YOUR God lives, I don’t have anything baked—only a handful of flour in the jar and a bit of oil in the jug. Just now, I am gathering a couple of sticks in order to go prepare it for myself and my son so we can eat it and die.”
13 Then Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid; go and do as you have said. Only make me a small loaf from it and bring it out to me. AFTERWARDS, you may make some for yourself and your son,
Remember verse 9 where God said “I have commanded a widow to provide for you there…”
Apparently she didn’t get the memo somehow.
God’s plan might seem a little “crazy” to us!
· God will ask us to give the unexpected thing
· We might be ok with giving some things, but not others…but that’s often what God asks
· It would seem very unexpected to think that God would ask this widow’s last morsel of food
· God will ask us to give the most needed thing
· Food…it doesn’t get more needed than that…but food amid a famine is even more
· God’s plan challenges us to be willing to surrender even the things we need most
· What do you “need” that God might be asking you to surrender to His purpose?
C. God will ask us to give what we don’t want to give
· Looking at our pay check stub and our list of bills can be terrifying
· Then to think that God would be audacious enough to ask for 10% of it…Golly
God has a Plan to Provide for His Faithful Giver (14-16)
14 for this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘The flour jar will not become empty and the oil jug will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the surface of the land.’ ”
15 So she proceeded to do according to the word of Elijah. She and he and her household ATE FOR MANY DAYS. 16 The flour jar did not become empty, and the oil jug did not run dry, according to the word of the Lord He had spoken through Elijah.
Trusting God can be terrifying, but if we will trust Him we will see amazing blessings!
A. God will provide us with the unexpected thing – Food in the Midst of Famine
B. God will provide us with every needed thing – Continued Sustenance for our Family
C. God will give us many fold the things we sacrifice – She gave a little and received a load
God has a Plan to Miraculously Bless His Faithful Givers (17-24)
17 After this, [consider what this “after this” means: after the challenge and after the faithfulness to give and after God’s miraculous provision in return…] AFTER THIS…the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. His illness became very severe until no breath remained in him.
18 She said to Elijah, “Man of God, what do we have in common? Have you come to remind me of my guilt and to kill my son?”
19 But Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him from her arms, brought him up to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord and said, “My Lord God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow I am staying with by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself out over the boy three times. He cried out to the Lord and said, “My Lord God, please let this boy’s life return to him!” 22 So the Lord listened to Elijah’s voice, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Then Elijah took the boy, brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. Elijah said, “Look, your son is alive.”
24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know you are a man of God and the Lord’s word in your mouth is the truth.”
A. God will do the unexpected – who could have even dreamed of this outcome?
B. God will do exactly what is needed – in the culture of that day a widow had so little
C. God will do what it takes for us to believe – in the end God’s purpose is to bring people to faith
So…Your Part in the Story:
· What is the unexpected thing God is asking you to give?
· What is the needed thing that God is challenging you to surrender?
· What area of your life is God working in to strengthen your faith?