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Teaching And Research By: M. E. Arbaugh
Last Update: Sunday, 10-Sep-2017 16:39:26 EDT
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Move on with God
Lesson threeWe have been talking about lessons to be learned from the life and times of Elijah. From Solomon and Jeroboam we learned that we should never forget where our blessings came from and that our attitude should be one of gratitude. When we start thinking that we are blessed because of our own doing, we get fearful of losing our blessings and that is exactly what happens. That which we fear most comes upon us.
We learn that spending time in Godís word and in His presence will give us ears to hear God when He speaks and courage to act on what we hear. We also begin to understand that we are called by the name of Christian and what that means.
We learn that having an unusual wardrobe does not keep us from being used by God. We begin to understand that having a fancy degree is not essential for serving God. Doesnít hurt, but not essential. For God takes unlikely people, fills them full of courage and puts them to work changing their own little corner of the world in which they live.
We also have learned that real prayer is heartfelt, inflamed, passionate and based on Godís word.
In the first verse of 1 Kings 17, we saw that Elijah did all that the Lord had commissioned him to do.
Verse two is the reward of having done what he was commissioned to do in verse one. Verse two says, "The word of the Lord came unto Elijah."
A new commission does not come until we have been obedient to that which we have already received.
We say, "When are things going to start happening in my ministry?" Please take note, everyone has a ministry. Its called the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18) The answer comes back in the form of a question, "How creatively are we living with that which we have already received? We need to do that which is already revealed to us, then He will reveal more.
1 Kings 17:3 "Go from here and turn east and hide yourself by the brook Cherith"
Go from here, an important truth is revealed here, God leads His servants step by step. It would have been natural for Elijah to wonder before he left Gilead headed to Samaria. Where will I go and what will I do, after I see Ahab? Most people are like me. I like things all laid out, departure time, arrival time and scheduled stops. Unfortunately for some of us that doesnít seem to be the way God works.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that we are to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding. If Elijah had leaned on his own understanding, he might have decided to continue farming.
Godís word came to Elijah and said go hide yourself by the brook Cherith. There are two translations for the word which is translated as hide, it also means be absent. So we have more than one purpose in the command of God to Elijah. First, to provide a secure place for Elijah during the drought. Second was that one of the surest signs of divine displeasure with a people is that there is no more a prophet found in the land. Psalms 74:9
Withdrawal of the prophets from the public scene was an additional judgment on the nation.
God said in Deuteronomy 32:2, "My teaching shall drop as the rain, My speech shall distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers upon the grass."
Now that all dew and rain had been with held literally, it was now to be withheld spiritually. Having now delivered the words of the Lord to the King he must leave. Not back to a familiar place, but to a place of seclusion. Many of Gods prophets have spent time in a place of seclusion. Moses was on the back side of the desert for forty years of his life. Even the Son of God, Jesus had thirty years of quiet and seclusion from public life prior to his recorded ministry. The apostle Paul spent time in the Arabian desert. This time spent with God away from the company of others, very likely taught them to trust God, even when things were contrary to sight, reason and outward appearance.
Elijah must go to the place commanded, if he is to receive the divine supply. As long as he was in that place, God was pledged to provide for him. It was so with the children of Israel, they had to follow the cloud if they were to receive manna and we must be in the place of God's choosing and not our own, if we expect to receive God's provision for us.
The method of God's provision for Elijah is also very interesting. Here again we discover that Godís methods are those that we would call unlikely, Ravens were classified as unclean in Leviticus 11:15 and yet God used them to carry food to Elijah. He used Pharaohs daughter to shelter the babe Moses. He used a sling and a stone to slay a giant, he once spoke through a jackass. Something that He still does from time to time, only they are of the two legged variety. He said, I have commanded the ravens to feed thee ó but God!!!ó donít you know that, ravens are flesh eating birds, your plan will never work. But, it did.
1 Kings 17 :7 "After a while the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land"
Doing right, being obedient and the brook dried up. Why God? You told me to come here, I did. I'm obedient ó here I am, right here by the brook ó and as long as I have my brook, I'm okay, right? WRONG !:! THE BROOK IS NOT YOUR SOURCE. Many times we get our eyes off of God, the provider, and on to the provision. We think we are living by faith, when in fact we are living by the sight of the brook bubbling merrily along. The brook of our income dries up, and we panic. The word says that He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him. Not on the brook, not on the bank account, but on HIM. Elijah may have given some thought to that brook drying up, as he sat there watching it grow smaller and smaller, but he didn't move until God told him to
1 Kings 17: 8 "And the word of the Lord came to him"
At last Lord, up and at Ďem. But hold it. What was that again, Lord?
1 Kings 17:9 "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon and dwell there. Behold I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."
Zarephath in Sidon? That's Jezebels home territory. Are you sure Lord? They still like me in Gilead.A widow woman? But, Lord, don't you know how tough it is on widows these days?
1 Kings 17:10 "So Elijah arose and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her, bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink."
Elijah was a doer of the word, no matter how much he may not of understood, he still obeyed that which he did understand, so he arose and went to Zarephath, and as he approached the gate of the city, there was a woman. God works on both ends of the line. when God tells you to go somewhere, the people at the other end of the line won't be wondering why you are there. God said go and there will be a widow, and there was.
1 Kings 17:10-12 "... he called to her, Fetch me, I pray you, a little water in a vessel. As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, bring me a morsel of bread in your hand. And she said, As the Lord your God lives, I have not a loaf baked but only a handful of meal in the jar and a little oil in the bottle. See, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
Consider the situation now before Elijah's eyes, a widow and a her son, starving, a few sticks, a handful of meal and a little oil. This lady had her eyes on the barrel and it was now failing her, as a result there was nothing on her mind except death.
It was a good thing that Elijah was counting on the word and not on circumstances because things really looked dark and dismal.
But he staggered not at the promises of God and was strong in faith. ó God had said I have commanded a widow to sustain you and that was good enough for Elijah, so Elijah would not fear.
1 Kings 17:13-16 "Elijah said to her, fear not; go and do as you have said. But make me a little cake of it first and bring it to me, and afterward prepare some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: the jar of meal shall not waste away or the bottle of oil fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth."
Elijah was so sure that God was and is a present help in time of trouble that he was able to convey that sureness to this widow lady.
What lessons have we learn from this portion of Elijah's life?
God leads us step by step ó if you're not moving check and see if you have already been obedient to that which He has already revealed to you.
Godís reasoning is higher than ours. What looked like disaster was in fact provision.
God is our source.
Elijah was a hearer of the Word ó and a doer of the Word. Are you?
Psalms 37:3 says, "Trust in the Lord (That is, never mind how it looks....stand on the word) and do good (That is, be a doer of the word) for then shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." (that is, the sure results of standing on the word of God.)
Without faith it is impossible to please Him (How do we have faith?) faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God ó so we are right back to square one. Think the word, speak the word, and do the word "ó then you shall deal wisely, and have good success." Joshua 1:8
Next: Lesson Four