Sunday September 13 2020

THERE’S A PLACE CALLED “THERE”

Part two of The Ravens and the Widow

Last Sunday we discussed 1 Kings 17 where God instructed Elijah, “Go to the Brook Cherith, I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”

We learned that God had called Elijah to a ministry and that He had already provided provision for Elijah at a specific place – at a ‘THERE’. God’s provision for Elijah was being delivered at this specific geographical spot, even as He gave instruction to Elijah. In order to benefit from said provisions Elijah simply had to journey to this place – his ‘there’.

We learned that faith was not the initiator of the provision – God had already provided. Elijah’s faith allowed him to access this provision. The ravens piled the food high and the brook gurgled with fresh water ‘there’.

We saw that we have a tendency to wait where we are for God’s promised provision whereas we should be going to where the provision has already been established – we need to go to our ‘there.’

And, we know we are in the right place, in the will of God, at our ‘there’ when we see the provision.

Today, I wish to continue this thought of ‘there’ as it appears throughout Scripture. From God’s point of view there is always a specific spot, a ‘there’, where He provides provision.

Ephesians 4:14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”

The LORD does not do things ‘willy-nilly.’ He is not pushed to and fro as with ocean waves, nor is He carried about by varying winds. Everything He does is rock-solid, well established, and lasting. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) And as James 1:17 reminds us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” What God initially establishes is meant to last. He establishes covenants; He establishes His word and He has established His salvation. Rock-solid, immovable, well grounded and completely sustainable by the power of His Holiness and His word.

And, it seems abundantly clear, that when God establishes ‘things’ He does so at specific ‘spots’ or specific ‘theres.’

Most of us would agree that the Garden was placed where it was with purpose. Our first parents communed with God ‘there’, and benefitted from the provided provisions to allow them to carry out their ministries of stewardship. It was only when they demonstrated a lack of faith which resulted in disobedience that they were removed from this Divine provision and their ministry suffered loss.

Later, God had a place, a ‘there’ for the future twelve tribes of Israel. A seven year famine was on the horizon and God ‘piled up provision’ within the borders of Egypt to provide for Jacob and his sons and all the family. That was to be their ‘there’. They had to journey to their ‘there’ in order to see the provision of the LORD. Had they remained upon the open landscape they would have starved and been slaughtered by the enemies all about.  God had ordained a ministry for Jacob and his sons but they needed to go ‘there’ where there was already provision for them, safety and sustenance.  

Moses too made a journey to a ‘there.’ The account is in Exodus 3. He was happily tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, when God obviously compelled him to travel toward Horeb, the mountain of God. I quote from verse 3. “I will now turn aside to see this great sight as to why the bush does not burn.” So Moses went to a place of provision. It was to be not only the time of his call but also a place of provision for his ministry. Notice what followed next.  “So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look . . .” Moses was drawn to a specific place, “Holy ground,” God called it. A specific place, a circle of anointed ground from which Moses would receive his provision for his ministry. What provision you may ask? “What have you got in your hand?” ‘A staff replied Moses.’ And the staff would be enough! Moses walked with this staff for years tending sheep and had he not responded to the urging of the LORD to journey to Horeb, this staff would have eventually rotted much like the forsaken food left by ravens would have, had not Elijah gone to his ‘there.’

God has specific spots – anointed spots – where provision is waiting. ‘There’ was the rock – the specific rock – Mount Moriah, upon which a pantomime for the ages was played out by Abraham and his son Isaac. Centuries later the True Personage would become the ‘ram caught in the thicket,’ to be lifted up upon a cross-altar for the salvation of us all.

This rock, this sacred parcel of land was the ‘there’ for Abraham as it also became the ‘there’ for Jesus.

Luke 9:31 states, “Now it came to pass when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.”

The Hebrew temple sits about this very spot. This is the only place prepared for them. This is the spot where provision was made for them. And for centuries the Jewish faithful flocked to this ‘there’. The temple had its origin in the tabernacle of the wilderness. Do you recall the words of the LORD in Exodus 25:21-22?

“And you will put the mercy seat above the ark; and in the ark you will put the testimony that I will give you. And THERE will I meet with you, and I will commune with you from above the mercy seat . . .”

This holy spot was the ‘there’ for all Israel. A specific spot – The Specific Spot – where propitiation of sin was accomplished. No where else, only right ‘there’, above the mercy seat.

It is interesting to note that even though this holy spot above the mercy seat was fixed, the entire structure did move about. I believe there is instruction here for us. For just as Elijah had to go to his first ‘there’, where he was blessed and refreshed; he would need later to pick up and travel to a second ‘there’ in order for the blessing and provision to reach others, so too with the tabernacle. The High Priest would enter into the Holy of Holies and there commune with the LORD on behalf of the people. They, the people, would be gathering about, within the confines of the Tabernacle proper bringing their goats, and sheep, bulls and turtle doves; expressing faith in an already established provision for the removal of their sins through Covenant.  They would come to their ‘there’ – a specific spot and leave refreshed and forgiven.

And as we mentioned last week where there is a first ‘there’, there is also a second ‘there’. So the LORD would cause them to arise and move on. They were not to get too comfortable where they were, even though it was a spot of great blessing. They were to travel from ‘there’ to ‘there’ to over ‘there’. They were to follow wherever the LORD led them. And what was the purpose of the second ‘there’? For Elijah the two stops represented first his own provision and refreshing, and second the provision and refreshing of others. What was the call placed upon the Hebrew people? Two verses, Isaiah 42:6 and Isaiah 49:6.

“I the LORD have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles.”

“And He said, ‘It is a light thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles that you may be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”

This second reference outlines the two ‘there’s for Israel. God prepared in advance provision for Israel. They were to journey to and about the mercy seat where salvation and refreshing was made available to whosoever among them obeyed. The verse says that they were to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel. But the second section of the above verse tells us that they were to arise and take this personal provision and blessing of salvation to the Gentiles. Do you recognize the similarity with Elijah? First, his own provision then this is taken to others. From ‘there’ to ‘there’ to ‘there’ and eventually to you and me.

 

ONE MORE STOP – ONE MORE ‘THERE’.

Of course, we mustn’t stop here, for GOD did not stop here.

Heb. 1:1-2: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds;”

A Jewish man, fulfilling what his brothers could not; the Son of Man fulfilling what mankind could not; a most High Priest accomplishing what no priest could accomplish made two stops Himself – travelled to two ‘there’s.

It is often said that Jesus was born to die – two stops, two ‘there’s.

Heb. 10:5: “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me.”

Jesus, the Word of GOD set aside His equality with the Father and took on human form. He stepped into our time and space and journeyed to Bethlehem – His first ‘there’. Waiting for him ‘there’ was provision and refreshing. He reclined upon his mother’s breast secure in the knowledge that the Father loved and cared for him. For the next thirty plus years He made His way toward His second ‘there’.

Luke 9:51: “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

Two stops, two ‘theres’. At the first he received provision and sustenance, at the second he provided it for others. And not just others, but all others, whosoever would.

He is the perfect Hebrew, fulfilling all of the law. He is the perfect Son of Man, carrying our sin nature upon Himself to the cross. He is the perfect High Priest Who continues even now to make intercession for us who are called by His Name. The perfect sacrifice and perfect Priest; perfect King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

He does not ask us to do what He Himself has not done. He has journeyed from ‘there’ to ‘there’. And He invites each of us on the same journey. First stop, first ‘there’, “You must be born again.” Identify with Him at His Bethlehem. Surrender yourself into the loving hands of the Father. Then, come to the foot of the cross, the second ‘there’. For it is ‘there’ that you will find the provision already there for you. It is ‘there’ where there is refreshing beyond what you can hope for or imagine, and yet, the supernatural provision awaits. And once you are redeemed and nourished and refreshed you can arise and carry His light to the ends of the earth. Come, go from where you are to ‘there’. Amen.

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Pastoral Prayer

Dear Father in Heaven, we love Your name, we love to hear Your voice, we delight in Your sweet Presence as we worship You, read Your Word, and pray. Almighty God, there is no one like You throughout all of creation. You are beautiful beyond description, too marvellous for words. You are Holy. You are Just. You are Righteousness. You are Goodness. You are Peace. You are Joy. You are Blessing. You are Completeness. You are Life Fulfilled. You are Light. You are Love. You are Life Everlasting. You are all things beautiful and good. We admire You completely. We stand in awe of You. We fall on our faces in abject humility before You. You deserve all of our worship and all of our praise.

Thank You Lord, for Your great plan of Salvation. Thank You for revealing this plan to the prophets and for recording the words in the Holy Scriptures. Thank You for Moses, and for the Hebrew people who struggled and worked and starved in the mud pits in Egypt. Thank You that they were people of grit who did not give up easily, and so they survived.  Thank You Lord that You brought them out of the bondage of Egypt with a mighty outstretched arm into the desert and there You saved them from Pharaoh’s army by dividing the Red Sea and bringing them across on dry ground. Thank You Lord that Moses led them to Mount Sinai where You gave them your laws for happy living on tablets of stone.

Thank You Lord that You fed them manna in the desert for forty years. Thank You Lord that You brought them across the Jordan River into the promised land where they defeated their enemies one by one. Hallelujah!

Almighty God, what You can do and what You will do for Your people is beyond our imagination. (Ephesians 3:20) How incredible that You care about us, we are such small and so often, useless, jars of clay. (1 Peter 5:7, Isaiah 64:8, 2 Corinthians 4:7) And yet, Your Word says that You surround us with Your favour as with a shield when we love You. (Psalm 5:12) Your Word says that You delight in our well-being. (Psalm 35:27b) Your Word says that the Angel of the Lord encamps around us and delivers us from every evil plan of the enemy for our ruin. (Psalm 34:7, 35:4-5)  Hallelujah!

Your Word says that Your eyes are always upon us and that Your ears are open to our every cry. (Psalm 34:15) How absolutely wonderful! Your Word says that Jesus died in our place, carrying our sins in His body on the cross. (1 Peter 2:24-25) We are so thankful Lord. Your Word says that by the wounds of Jesus we are healed. Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus. We believe Your words and receive the manifestation of our healing. (Hebrews 11:1, John 11:38-44) Your Word says that every day the Sun of Righteousness rises with healing in His wings for us. (Malachi 4:2) Hallelujah!

Your Word says that when we place our trust in You and make You our refuge You give Your angels charge over us, and no plague or pestilence will come near our dwelling. (Psalm 91) It is so wonderful to know this Lord. Wow! Your Word says that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. (Isaiah 54:17) Hallelujah! Your Word says that as we keep Your words and sayings before our eyes and in the centre of our hearts, that they will be life, healing and medicine to our entire being: body, soul, and spirit. (Proverbs 4:20-23) How wonderful is that! Thank You Lord!

Your Word says that our times are in Your hands and that Your unfailing Love surrounds us. We will be strong and take heart because our hope is in You. (Psalm 31:14-15a, 32:10, 31:24) Your Word says that Life and Death are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:20) How incredible is that! Lord, help us to always speak Life over ourselves, our loved ones and the things we care about. (Mark 11:22-23, 1 John 5:14-15, Hebrews 13:5-6, Psalm 116:10)

Your Word says that You supply our every need according to Your riches in glory. (Philippians 4:19) You are Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who Provides. (Genesis 22:11-14, Hebrews 11:17-19, Matthew 6:25-27)

Thank You Father that You call us to go from here to ‘there’ – firstly, for ourselves, secondly, for others. Help us to be willing to step out in faith knowing with great confidence that Your Provision is waiting for us when we get ‘there’. How truly amazing! Thank You Lord. 

Lord, help us to have hearts that are hungry to know You more and hungry to obey Your Words and sayings . We want to honour You in our decisions, in our work, in our play times, in our worship, and as we love each other the way You want us to. Forgive us Lord for the times when we fall short, for the times when we fail, and for the mistakes we make. Thank You Lord that when we invite You to help us, You promise to work even these things for good in our lives. Help us to do better next time as we submit to the empowering of Your Holy Spirit. Help us to learn to forgive others and to forgive ourselves that we may be free to enjoy our lives. Help us to build bridges in our relationships with others, and to guard our tongues well, knowing that once a word is spoken it cannot really be taken back.

Father I pray for those in our midst who are grieving – please comfort them Lord and bring them peace. Father I pray for those who need healing – Lord encourage them to be active in appropriating the healing You have already provided. Father I pray for the children and young people who are returning to school this month – help them to be safe, and help them to be wise. Father I pray for those who need jobs – guide them to a position of gainful and fulfilling employment. Father I pray for our missionaries and teachers – help them to hear Your voice clearly and well and to commit themselves to humbly obey.

We offer our prayers and praise in the wonderful name of Jesus. Amen.

 

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