Sunday September 6 2020

THE RAVENS AND THE WIDOW

1 Kings 17  For the purpose of this message you can check out a map of the brook of Cherith. The one I had must be copy-write protected.

PART ONE THE RAVENS

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there will not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.’ And the word of the LORD came unto him saying, ‘Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it will be that you will drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed you THERE.’” (emphasis added)

I did a series of teachings based upon the recognizable letters GAP, and as I taught I wore GAP T-shirts. One of the lessons spoke to the fact that God Always Provides. Whenever God calls a person into a ministry, or to perform a task, large or small, He always sets aside the required resources for the task or calling to be fulfilled. And as you receive your call, know for a certainty that this is absolutely true – the provisions have ALREADY been set aside for you. All that will ever be required to complete your call in Him, has ALREADY been established. 

2Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things and in all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (NIV)

What this verse is saying is that when we are called to perform a ‘good work,’ (the only good work is done in the Holy Spirit,) we will be provided with everything we need to accomplish said work. We are reminded that God is able to bless you abundantly, with all that is required to perform His good will.  Also, His provision allows one to abound, in every good work. We may all be aware of this truth and accept it as obvious, however, we may still find ourselves struggling, waiting for the release of such abundance into our lives and ministry. We may be saying, “Lord, where is Your promised provision? Where is this abundance Your word promises? I am trying to exercise faith to the call You have given me, but when will I see Your provision?” We may begin to question God’s faithfulness, or wonder how we have failed.

Notice the phrase from the 1 Kings 17 verse which says, “I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” God sent the supply to where He told Elijah to go – not to where he was! He didn’t send the provision to Elijah directly. He sent provision to the Brook Cherith. The supply was sent where God told Elijah to go. If he had stayed right where he was, the Lord still would have supplied the food because verse four says, I have  commanded the ravens . . .” 1 Past tense! The Lord had already instructed the ravens to take the food to a specific place. In order for Elijah to benefit from the provision he had to go THERE. And realize, the providing of the food by the ravens had nothing to do with obedience on Elijah’s part. The provision of the food reflects God’s faithfulness and commitment to His word. When Elijah demonstrated obedience by going  THERE he was then able to BENEFIT from the provided provision. The prophet’s obedience did not initiate the provision, it was already provided, rather his obedience allowed him to access the provision.

Those ravens were going to bring bread and flesh every morning and evening and pile it high beside the water. Yet, if Elijah had failed to go where God told him to go, he could have starved to death while wondering, “God, where are You? I stepped out on Your word, but where’s Your supply?” 2

There’s a place called “there” for every one of us. You can’t necessarily see it from where you are. You just have to step out in faith on what God has told you to do. The provision isn’t where you are. It’s “there” – it’s found while you’re out doing what God has told you to do. Many people are waiting to see the provision before they step out, but God said, “I have already commanded the ravens to feed you there!”3

 The Brook Cherith is about two or three miles long, see map. How did Elijah know which spot to camp at along the brook? God had already spoken to the ravens, and they had been piling the bread and flesh there – at a specific spot. Therefore, he knew he was in the right place when he saw the provision of bread and flesh. 4

Let me relate a personal story. Many times during my working career, I have been asked of the Lord to leave my current employer and God would open a way to another. Being like most of us, I would say something along the lines of, “Show me where you want me to work and I’ll quit where I am.” Or, “Show me the job and the salary, and I’ll gladly quit.” Have you been there? What we are actually saying in such times is, “Show me where the provisions are piled up and I’ll obey.”  Where’s the faith in that? No, you receive a word where you are, step out and go to your THERE. And when you “see” the provision already waiting for you, you know you are in the will of God.

There is a specific example I can share with you. I knew for many years I was called to be a teacher. I resisted. For years I resisted. I finally accepted this call of God, but it was at the time that I had three young children.  I possessed my honours Bachelor of Science in Chemistry so I was qualified to teach secondary school but I would need to obtain my Bachelor of Education, a further one year degree. Once I committed to go to my THERE I saw many “provisions” already piled up for Ellie and I. The one that especially spoke to me occurred about two-thirds of the way through the course. We were “out of money.” We faced a choice. Quit and find a paying job or stay and manage…. how? I felt nudged to go and see the Dean of Students. I made an appointment and sat down opposite the dear man and related our situation.  He had often been very encouraging to me as a mature student and wanted to see me succeed. He asked me how much we needed to see us to the end. It was a modest amount by many, but for us it was the minimum to see us through to graduation. He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out an application for a Bursary. He filled in the required amount and slid it across the desk for my signature. Two days later the money was in our account. When I saw the provision I knew, without a doubt, I was at my THERE!

Obedience matters! God gave Elijah a word. He knew there was going to be a need in Elijah’s life for protection and supernatural supply, so God made the provision and sent the ravens. What would have happened if Elijah hadn’t obeyed? God’s provision would have just lay there rotting, and Elijah could have starved. There is a place for obedience. Obedience doesn’t change God’s heart toward you, but if you aren’t obedient, you can certainly make it hard on yourself.

God has a purpose for you. He has put a call on your life. Supernatural provision has already been sent to accomplish whatever God has told you to do, but it’s THERE. The problem is that we aren’t all “there” yet! We’re doing our own thing, in our own timing, and in our own way. But there is an anointing on being obedient to God and doing what He says.5

“I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” The word has gone out into your heart. You have received it in faith. You understand that God will provide all your need. But, you are sitting and waiting for His provision to fall into your lap where you are. Get up! Go to your ‘THERE.’ For it is there you will see the faithfulness of God.

 

 

THE WOMAN

So, here you are enjoying the provisions of the Lord at your “there,” when the Lord says, time to move on! You have been blessed and productive in the call you received of the Lord as you mature in your ministry or task at the place God instructed you to go. Perhaps the ministry is well established and you could not imagine ‘moving on.’ Yet, God spoke to Elijah in 1 Kings. 17 beginning at the 7th verse.

“And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the Lord came unto him saying, ‘Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongs to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.”

 Did you catch it? For Elijah there was a second “there.” And the same will probably be true for us as well. For Elijah the first ‘there’ was for himself – the provisions piled there were to sustain him alone. They were piled there to establish his ministry. He ate the flesh and sipped from the brook and marvelled at the goodness and faithfulness of the LORD as he communed intimately with his LORD. All about the land, while others hungered and thirsted, he was nourished and refreshed. And, it all took place “there.” Then soon, “the brook dried up.” Is God’s provision temporary? Is there a “best before date” for God’s blessings? Absolutely not. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18) God never leaves us as He finds us nor does He leave us at our first “there.” There is another step up the glory ladder. From there to there to there.

The brook dried up. “Oh Lord, why have you forsaken us? You told us to come to this place and we have. You told us to do what we are doing. Why is the brook drying up?” How quick we are to point an accusing finger to God and question His goodness and faithfulness. We must lift up our heads and get our eyes off of ourselves and off of what we are doing and see where He is leading next. There will always be another ‘there!’ God is ever moving, so He says to Elijah, “Arise, go over there. I have a widow woman there. She will sustain you.”

The interesting point in all of this is that Elijah is directed from his ‘there’ where he was nourished and sustained, to another ‘there’ where the widow woman will be nourished and sustained. She will benefit from Elijah’s ‘there.” She is where she ought to be; she is at her “there.” And it will be here that she will experience the abundance of God. Elijah experienced the supernatural provision of his God and so he is equipped in faith to provide God’s supernatural blessings to the woman.  And as the 2 Corinthians 3:18 verse reminds us God’s supernatural blessings are from glory to glory! The first glory, the first “there” is one of food and sustenance, whereas this second ‘there’ is one of resurrection! She receives her son back to life! She was where she was supposed to be; she was at her ‘there’ when Elijah arrived at his second ‘there.’

She expressed her faith in God by giving her all to God’s servant. She did this not knowing that God had already provided all her need, long before the prophet arrived. She was at her ‘there,’ caring for and preparing a last meal for her son. When the prophet arrived, faith welled up within her and she extended her ministry to include the prophet. And, it was ‘there’ in her kitchen that the abundance of the oil appeared and the abundance of flour appeared – piled up, if you like – at her ‘there.’ The foundation for such supernatural abundance had already been established. Then, she exercised faith and obedience and the rest is history.

The final verse of 1 Kings 17:24 is informative.

“And the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.’”

You see, when she SAW the provision – the resurrection of her son – she knew she was right where she belonged. She was at her ‘there.’ And being where she was, and seeing the supernatural provision, she knew for certainty that she was in the will of the Lord. She saw the truth of God spoken through the prophet.

We all have a ‘there’ in our life. A ‘there’ that demonstrates to each one of us the goodness and faithfulness and provision of God. When we are there we experience an intimacy with the Lord, we benefit from His supernatural provision and blessing, and become fashioned to move from self to others, to move from our ‘there’ to their ‘there.’  May the Lord richly bless each of us with His unfathomable wisdom and grace. Amen.

1  Andrew Wommach, Lessons from Elijah, pg 11-15

2 – 5  ibid.

 

 

Pastoral Prayer

The Following is borrowed from ChristiansTT.com….

JESUS, Lamb of God, worthy is your precious name. I lift you up and bless your Holy name. Father, you mean everything to me. I love walking in obedience to Your Word.

Without you, I can’t do anything. You are my King, the ruler of everything and none can compare to you. You are my heart’s desire. Oh Lord, I give you my mind, body and soul.

I want to be so lost in your presence, that I can’t even begin to comprehend what’s happening. Lord, I hunger and thirst for you.

Be my guide, Oh Lord and help me to be obedient to your Word. Help those who are disobedient to find you, Oh Lord and forgive them, for they know not what they do. Give me wisdom where I lack knowledge, so I can understand how to trust and obey.

Lord, you made it clear that if I walk in obedience, I will live a full life with you. Being obedient will cause an overflow of abundant blessings within my life. Help me to not be as King Saul, for he lost everything through disobedience.

Remind me, Oh Heavenly Father, that disobedience is a form of rebellion towards you and, as you have clearly stated, if I reject You and Your Word, you will reject me from your heavenly kingdom.

Omnipotent King, thank You for today. Thank You for waking me up this morning. Thank You for health, strength, wisdom, prosperity and favor in not only my life but, my family’s as well.

Lord, what is Your will for me? I am completely and totally open to Your plan for my life. Guide me Lord accordingly. Take control of my life and lead me in a plain path of righteousness.

Execute Your will in my life. Reveal to me my purpose. Draw near as I cry out, Oh merciful Savior. I hunger and thirst after Your Holy presence.

Change me, Lord. Infiltrate into the depths of my heart. Mend my broken spirit so that I will be transformed and become brand new. As I embrace this new transformation Lord, continue to unfold Your plans for my life daily…..

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

And, step by step, as You hold my hand and take the lead, I will eventually become what You have desired me to be.

All the glory and worship will be submitted unto you for the great works you have done in me. In Jesus mighty name I pray, Amen!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.

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Thank You Father for the reminder that You have a good plan for each one of us and if we are willing to step out in faith as You lead us that we can trust You to provide when we get ‘THERE’. Give us eyes to see the truth of Your Word. Give us ears to hear well what You are trying to teach us. Give us a heart of humility to receive Your guidance and a willingness to obey. Help us to remember to acknowledge You every step of the way so that we actually turn left when You say go left, and we actually turn right when You say go right. Help us to be faithful so that we get to our ‘THERE’ according to Your timetable for our lives. Hallelujah! To God be the glory!

Father we pray today for the family of Roger Jonathan who are grieving for him this week. Be with them Father, bless them with a sense of Your presence, Your comfort, and Your peace in the days and weeks ahead.  Help them through the grief that follows loss, and make a way for them to find healing for their hearts. Shine the light of Your love into the dark days. Shine the life of Your presence into the dead days. Give them angel visitations … hugs, joy, peace, comfort, favour, happy dreams, and songs of deliverance … to lift their hearts. And Father continue to bless and comfort and support those in our church family who are grieving today. To God be the glory!

Thank You for Your great love Lord. We pray for financial blessing and work for those in need in the Ohsweken community; for peace and comfort throughout the COVID-19 crisis; for safety for the children as they return to school; for healing for those who are ill; and for miracles for those who are desperate for a breakthrough. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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