Elijah and the Secret of God’s Provision
1 Kings 16:29 - 17:16
November 6-7, 2021
All right, in 1 Kings 16, we meet Ahab, infamous Ahab, who is the seventh king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. You might remember after Solomon that the kingdom was divided. Northern 10 tribes called Israel, southern two tribes called Judah, and the spiritual condition in the north was not good. It was a tremendous time of spiritual darkness. I remember reading this chart of the Kings listing out the kings of the Northern Kingdom, and along with the name of the king, it included a description of whether that King was bad or good.
It was quite interesting because it started with Jeroboam, who was the first king of the Northern Kingdom. The Kings were listed as bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, very bad, and worst. That would be king Ahab. Then verse 31, we're going to read it, it says, "As though it had been a trivial thing to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, Ahab married Jezebel and worshiped and served Baal."
Here not only are we introduced to King Ahab, but also to Jezebel. Many people have heard the name Jezebel and already know that she was a wicked woman. In fact, her name, if someone refers to a woman today as a Jezebel, you can be sure it is not a compliment, it is an insult of insults. Young parents, when you have a baby, you want to do all the research to find some really interesting names and the meaning of their names. I tell you what, I have never yet met parents who have named their daughter Jezebel because everybody knows the meaning of it is quite evil. In fact, in Revelation it's used to describe a wicked and adulterous generation.
Not only are we introduced to Ahab and Jezebel, but in Chapter 17 then we meet Elijah. Elijah the prophet is perhaps the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. We know nothing of his background. We don't know anything about who his parents were, although we do know that he was hairy in appearance. Not sure why that's important, but we know that. His name has a meaning. In Hebrew, Elijah, Elijah means "God is Jehovah." That tells us something about his parents, that they would choose such a God-honoring name. Such a powerful God-honoring name to choose Elijah, Elijah.
The times in which Elijah lived were some of the darkest in the history of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He, King Ahab, erected, set up an altar for Baal in the House of Baal that he built in Samaria, which was the capital of the Northern Kingdom. Then it says, he also made the Asherah. These were the gods you might remember in your history, "Wait a minute. These were the very gods that the people who lived in this area before Israel. These were the very gods that they followed that brought such destruction and life-destroying debauchery, and for which God removed them." You can imagine the broken heart of God to see his own people falling into this spiritual darkness.
Baal or Bael was the male god of fertility and interestingly, rain. Asherah was the female god of fertility. These were idols. Israel now in this dark spiritual time are looking to idols, Baal, Asherah, to be the source of rain and the source of provision. They bring sacrifices and offerings so that they would make their land fertile. Jehovah is the God of Israel. What is this? This is a very, very tragic turn in the history of Israel. Very tragic, for if they would have remembered that God is the source of their blessing and their life, oh, it would have been blessed.
In fact, it says this in Psalm 1. Psalm 1, verses 1-4. "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, the word of God, and in his law, he meditates day and night just receiving from the word of God." Then it says, "and he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water." Oh, what a beautiful picture is that. Talk about abundance, the virgin produce that comes into your spiritual life like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does, he prospers. Talking about a spiritual condition.
But they, Israel, in this dark time looked to Baal and Asherah to make their lands fertile, to be the source of rain. Israel is a rocky, dry place. They need rain. They looked to Baal and Asherah to be the source of rain so God says, "I'm going to shut the heavens." He sent Elijah the prophet through declare there would be no rain. If you're looking to Baal to be the source of rain, there will be no rain. Let's see what Baal does with this.
I. You Have One Source. All Else Fails
It's a story filled with life lessons. It's a question of who is your source? Who is your provision? To whom do you look for life? I love what David wrote, where he said, "Whom have I in heaven, but You, You and You alone?" He says, "God is the strength of my heart. God is my portion and He's my portion forever." It's a declaration.
Let's read it. We're in Chapter 16. We'll begin in verse 29. Ahab son of Omri became king over Israel in the 38th year of Asa king of Judah, and Ahab son of Omri ruled over Israel in Samaria 22 years. Ahab son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him, and it came about as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians and went to serve Baal and worshipped him. He erected an altar to Baal in the House of Baal, which he built in Samaria. That's the capital in the north. Ahab also made the Asherah. Thus, Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who came before him.
Chapter 17, Verse 1. Move down there, we'll look at the other verses around this on Wednesday at our Verse-by-Verse service, but Chapter 17, Verse 1. Elijah, we meet him. Elijah the Tishbite who was of the settlers of Gilead. Gilead, you might remember, is on the other side, the east side of the Jordan to the north. We would call it the Golan Heights area today. The Lord spoke through Elijah, and Elijah, therefore, said to Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel is before Whom I stand surely there shall be neither dew or rain these years, except by my word." Then he departed. The word of the Lord then came to Elijah.
What follows next is a very interesting story in regards to the provision of God's resource. Notice, God says to Elijah, "Now go from here, turn eastward, hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan, down into the Jordan Valley, over to the other side, there's a brook Cherith. It shall be that you shall drink from the brook." Then notice this. This is absolutely amazing. "I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there. He went, did according to the word of the Lord for he went and he lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening." That's like a sandwich in the morning, in the evening, every single day. Water to drink, sandwiches in the morning, sandwiches at night, every single day, the provision, you would agree with me, this is miraculous. Brook, we understand that's a natural thing. Ravens bringing sandwiches? That's not natural. This is God.
It happened, however, Verse 7, after a while, we don't know how long, there was no rain for three and a half years. We don't know how long he was by the brook Cherith, but after a while, the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him saying this, "Now arise and go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon." This would be all the way over to the Mediterranean and then to the north outside of Israel. He's not in Israel anymore. "Go to Sidon at Zarephath. Behold, I have commanded a widow to provide for you there."
This is an interesting story. He arose, went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, there was a widow and she was gathering sticks. He called to her and said, "Please get me a little water in a jar that I might drink." Then as she was going to get it, he called after her again, and he said, "Ah, please bring me a piece of bread in your hand," but then she said, "As the Lord your God lives--" Now, clearly she could see that he was Hebrew, "As Jehovah your God lives, I have no bread. I have only a handful of flour in bowl, a little oil in a jar, and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I might go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die." Such was the famine. We have nothing, little flower, little oil. I was bringing some sticks to make a small fire, make some cakes, one for me, one for my son, that's it. We were going to die.
Elijah said to her, "Don't fear, go and do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first. Then bring it out to me, and afterward, then you may make one for yourself and for your son, for thus says the Lord God of Israel." He's now going to make a declaration from the Lord to this woman. "If you would do this thing," he says, "the bowl of flour will not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty until the day the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth." She went and she did it according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days for the bowl of flour was not exhausted, nor did the jar of oil become empty. According to the word of the Lord, which He spoke through Elijah.
This is a very important story. We'll look at the other verses around it Wednesday, but there's many things for us to take hold of and apply it to our lives. Starting with this understanding. Like you have one source, everything else, all else fails. Whom have I in heaven? I have You and You alone, but You are enough, because You are the source of my provision and blessing in my life. You and You alone are the life within my soul.
See, Elijah knew there's no power in these gods. They have ears, they can't hear. They have eyes, they can't see you. They got mouths, but they can't speak, but he also knew this, that those who pursued them would be like them. This is a spiritual principle, which is seen in the scriptures in many places. Those who pursue them will be like them. They are empty. They're a void. They are death.
Now, why is that? Why is that a true? Why is that a principle? Because it is a very important truth to take hold of, because I tell you, there are many things today that are very comparable to the idols of the world in which they lived in that day. This is an important truth. He says, "You become like them, empty, void, death, because you give, and you give, and you give, and you get nothing back." You give to it, and you give to it, and you give to it, and you get nothing back. I'll tell you what, there's a lot of things in the world like that today, you give, and you give, and you give to it, and it drains you of all life. You get nothing back, but where does your help come from? To whom do you look, to be the provision and source of life?
Israel's looking to Baal and Ashura, to be the source of rain. Fine, then there were the no rain. God will make a point of it. For without rain, there's no blessing. There is no produce. There's no provision. There is no life. It becomes a dry and dusty land where there is no water. Now, that was the spiritual point. You are a dry and drastic people. There is no water, because there is no life. It's a spiritual condition, because this is your spiritual condition. That will be the condition of the land. It's a perfect reflection of their soul, but I tell you, this is an interesting thing. Even though there are many who turn away, many who walk after the things of the world, God always has a few. God always has a remnant. There are always a few who hold to the truth and to the things of God. There are always a few. I don't know about you, but I want to be in that number.
As Joshua declared to the people, "Choose for yourselves today, whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Anyone want to join me in this? Let's give the Lord praise and glory. Amen.
A. Elijah’s heart was on fire
Notice, this is the way David wrote in Psalm 63, "O God, You are my God, and I shall seek You, and I'll seek You earnestly. My soul thirsts for You. My flesh yearns for You in a dry and weary land, where there is no water." Would you notice the contrast between them? Before Elijah is quite different. Oh no, Elijah's heart is on fire. See the contrast? See the difference? When Elijah stood before Ahab, you could see the confidence of his faith, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before Whom I stand, there shall be no rain or dew, except at my word." You love such confidence of faith.
This is the example of the power of faith moving in a person's life. The confidence of that faith, and then a couple of chapters later, he says, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts." Israel's heart had turned from God. They were empty as the idols they pursued. Elijah has got zeal, "There is no one like my Lord. He and He alone is my source of life." He and He alone. You see these great things Elijah did, and then you say to yourself, "Well, he's unique. There's no comparison to me. I can't compare to Elijah at all."
Actually, you know what's interesting? God says He does compare you to Elijah. This is an interesting thing. This is actually in the New Testament Book of James 5:16-18. He says it this way, notice, "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." Now, let's stop there, because this is a very important spiritual principle. Take hold of this great truth, "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." The King James says, "Availeth much." It's very effective, very powerful.
Now, God is the one that makes the person righteous. This is the work of God in a person's life, but that person is very effective, very powerful, accomplishes much. This is what God wants to arise in you and in me, to understand the great spiritual truth for He then compares to Elijah. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, which is to say he's just like you and me, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Which is a very interesting period of time, by the way. We'll look at that Wednesday. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produces fruits. See, Elijah knew that the heart of the nation was the key to the strength of that nation.
If they followed after God, if they pursued the Lord, they'll be a strong nation. Any nation that turns their heart and back away from the Lord is going to be a weakened nation. I don't know about you, but I'm seeing this nation becoming a weaker and weaker nation. As this nation is turning farther and farther away from God. Notice Deuteronomy 11:13-15, "It shall come about," Moses said. Speaking for the Lord here, "If you love the Lord your God, if you serve Him with all your heart and all your soul that He'll give rain. He'll give rain on your land in His season, the early and latter rain, so you may gather your grain, your new wine and oil. He'll give grass for your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and you'll be satisfied, but if you don't, if you turn away, there'll be a famine. There'll be no rain. There'll be no blessing."
B. Consider the ravens as God’s provision
It's a very important life lesson, but let's go back to this story of Elijah and look to the ravens. This is a very interesting part of this story. Consider the ravens as God's provision. Very interesting. Who would have thought? He says, "I have commanded ravens to provide for you there." Who would've thought God would use ravens? They have such a negative image, negative connotation. They're very large black birds, much larger than a crow. The wingspan of a raven could be 4 feet or greater. They're very intelligent, but who would have ever thought of ravens?
Interestingly, God didn't ask Elijah to approve of his plan. He didn't say, "Okay now, Elijah, would you like doves or ravens? I want to accommodate you here. What would you like?" He didn't ask him to approve. Ravens are unclean, not kosher for Hebrews to eat them. Not that one would want to, but God commanded the ravens? It's like raven catering service? It's the Uber Eats of the day.
Sandwiches in the morning, sandwiches at night. God's provision may not come the way you choose. He doesn't ask your permission, doesn't ask your permission. God can do as he chooses. God's going to use ravens. Don't box God out and don't box God in. God will do what He wants. He can use what He wishes, but it tells us God cares for ravens, and He can use them for His purpose. Actually Jesus brings them ravens. This is Luke 12:24. Jesus brings up ravens and he says, Jesus speaking, "Consider the ravens. They neither sow nor reap. They have no storeroom or barn yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds." He's making a very important spiritual point. Do you see how valuable you are? God cares for ravens. He feeds the ravens. Consider the ravens. God was providing and Elijah had enough.
But I suggest the God was doing more than just providing. I am convinced that He was building something. He was doing a work of building something. It's a what I call a faith-building time in the desert. You look at the history throughout the Bible and you'll see an interesting pattern there. A faith-building time in the desert. Moses for example spent 40 years in the desert before God used him then to lead Israel out of Egypt. Joseph spent years in prison in Egypt there waiting for God to fulfill every word that He had promised, that He'd given to Joseph and He fulfilled every word of it. Joseph waited and waited those years. Faith-building time for during those years, God is building something. God is doing something. God is transforming something.
After Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, became a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, God sent him into the desert of Arabia for three years and then God used him to make a difference in his generation. This is a work. I call it faith-building time in the desert. It's a work of transformation. All everyone needs to recognize that God wants to do a work of transformation, a faith-building transformation in your life.
Let me give you some scriptures. Notice Ephesians chapter 4:22-24, that in reference to your former manner of life, see this is what He wants to do.
A faith-building time is to take that former manner of life and to lay it aside. We got to go through this. We need to understand that God wants to do this work. Take the old manner of life and lay it aside. This is that transformation time. This is what God wants to do in each person's life. Take that old former manner of life. Lay it aside which is being corrupted in accordance with the lust of deceit. This is the nature of man. This is the nature of the flesh. It must be laid aside in order to be effective in the kingdom. God will do a faith-building time, lay this aside and then be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and the Greek here helps us to see that this is a present active work and ongoing work of being renewed in the spirit of your mind. Put on the new self, which is in the likeness of God, has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.
This is that faith-building work of transformation God wants to do with each one. Ephesians 3:16. "I pray," Paul writes, "that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His spirit in the inner man." This God wants to do, to strengthen you with power in your inner soul, your inner man. This is the work of transformation. That faith- building time God wants to do in each and every person.
Some years ago we did a thing which we called cardboard testimonies. Maybe some of you remember that. Maybe some of you were part of that or seeing it and another things. It was really powerful thing where you have a whole line of people, a whole group of people. Each of them have a testimony on a card, on a piece of cardboard and on one side is the condition of the old life, the old self, the defeat and then they turn it over.
Then there's the victory that has happened because God has strengthened with power in the inner man. Each one, one after the other, music is playing, they don't say a word, they don't speak. Music is playing, it's beautiful. Very moving. One would come out, a alcoholic 20 years, maybe the front side might say and then he turns it over, "Free in Christ. Haven't had a drink in five years," or something, everyone's like oh this is so moving. Next one comes up, "Lived a life with meth," and then turn it over, "Set free in Christ." It's amazing. Next one comes up was addicted to pornography but God sent me free. He turns it over, whatever, "This is awesome. God is moving in power." One after the divorce, "Bitter divorce but God has sent me free in Christ. This is awesome." Very moving.
Afterward, I remember very clearly a person came up and said this was so moving. Very powerful and then said, "It made me realize something. I always thought everyone here was good and nice. Now I've come to see everyone has a past. Everyone has a past that needed to be transformed," but that's what God is doing. Then the person said, "I would've given mine too but mine would take a really long piece of cardboard because God has done some amazing things. I'm not the man I used to be, God has done a work in my life and God is still doing that work. God is not done. God is still taking all of life. God is still transforming. God is still doing it even now. Amen." Let's give Him praise.
Absolutely. I will say this to you. If you are in a place where you are needing God to do this, wanting God to do this, hungry and for God to do this, this is the very thing that God wants to do. Hunger for it, thirst for it, desire for it, God is the one who takes a life and lays aside the old and builds that which is new. That's what God is doing. How? It has everything to do what you're hungry for, what you're thirsty for. Thirst for the things of the Lord, thirst for God Himself. Matthew 5:6 blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied. God will pour into you that which will satisfy your soul.
It's way better. It's a much better life.
There's the joy of the Lord, the peace of God, the peace that passes understanding, the life that is within the soul. It's way better. It's a beautiful life that God wants to build in you. Amen.
II. A Dry Brook may be God’s Provision
Notice this next part of the story having to do with the dry brook. It's very interesting. A dry brook may be God's provision. This is important to see it correctly. After Elijah had been by the brook Cherith for some time provided by the ravens in the morning and in the night, it says the brook dried up. Now this is a very important part of the story. People can look at this and say what do you mean it dried up? This is God's provision. What do you mean it dried up? How is that possible? It dried up? Is God not able to make the stream? No this is important. The brook can dry up and you can still be in God's will because if God is your only source, you must know that God has many resources. You have one source, but God has many resources. If the brook dries up, whatever that means is that God is doing something new.
A. Then God is doing something new
That's what that means. God is doing something new. See it's important to see life from the right view, the right perspective. How do you interpret the things that happen in your life will determine how you respond to those things that happened in your life. We need to have eyes of faith to see the way God would see it. To see it from God's perspective. There would be many who would look at this situation and make very wrongful conclusions.
There would be many who could look at this situation and say oh He's dried up the brook. Oh I guess God doesn't care for me anymore. I guess He's removed his favor. Oh, You say You love me? Then You dry up the brook? Then they begin to accuse God in this. How can You call this love? The brook has dried up but they've missed something. They missed something. God may be doing the work. The brook has dried up so He said go to the next place. I've commanded there for you to be provided. God was doing something in Elijah. See, there was a reason he was there. God was doing now something new.
Now can I add something very important? When it comes to rightly applying God's word, when it comes to rightly applying a message, even, from God's word, it's important that we pray for God's discernment for how to hear it, how to rightly apply it. Because oftentimes when a person hears the message, they think that it immediately applies to wherever they are right now. That may not be true. Maybe you're still by the brook. Maybe God's still doing that faith-building time of transformation, and you just need to remember this for the future that maybe you are in that place where God is doing something new. You need to rightly hear it and rightly apply it. We need God's wisdom.
The point here is that if the brook dries up, it may be that God has something else in mind. Now the lessons that Elijah learned there, God providing every morning, every night, ravens in the morning, ravens at night, the lessons he learned will never leave him. When Elijah went to Zarephath, he meets a widow. She had run out of everything. "I have nothing," she says. Chapter 17, verse nine, "Arise, go to Zarephath which belongs to Sidon and stay there. Behold I have commanded a widow to provide for you there."
Elijah comes and he meets his widow, and it's very clear that if God has commanded her, she doesn't know it, because she says I have no bread, sir, I have no bread. I have a handful of flour, a little oil. I gathered these sticks to make a small fire that I might make one cake for me and one cake for the boy and then we will die. I have no bread, sir. It's very clear that she has not-- If God has given a command, she hasn't got that memo, which is an interesting thing. It begins to reveal how God moves, how God moves, how His hand moves on people's lives in people's hearts, it's very interesting.
Now, I imagine that when Elijah comes to this woman and he says to her, "Bring me the bread," and she says, "I have no bread sir," I imagine something in Elijah happening like this. Oh, I know this one, this one I know. God is the resource of everything. I have one source, God and God alone and I know this one. I know God provides, I know this one, got this one all good, I know this one. The reason I say it that way is because to see a situation from faith is a very different way than those who have no faith. To see it differently from the perspective of faith.
Elijah, God's been doing something all those mornings and all those evenings when the ravens were coming with those bread and the meat, oh, I know this one. When I think of this story it reminds me of when I was going to Bible college and many you know, of course, the amazing story of God's provision in my life. Felt very very clearly called to ministry. Then God miraculously, and I mean irrefutably miraculously provided for me to pay my way to go through all the way through the bachelor's program on the seminary, absolutely amazing.
I remember when we felt this strong call to go into ministry, I needed some biblical training in the word and I want to learn Greek and I need some training but how to pay for it? It's a private college, I'm a youth guy, living on $1,200 a month. How am I going to do this? It all came down-- to make the story very brief, it all came down to one point where I had a plan. It all fell apart, "I don't know what to do, Lord." Sunday morning, I walk in church, the church where I was serving at the time, and a fellow walks up to me. I'm literally 10 steps in the door. He walks up like this and says, "Stop. God has put it on my heart that I'm supposed to pay your way through Bible college."
Immediately, I'm thinking, "Oh God, Your way is amazing. Your plan is amazing," and he meant every word of it. All right, now roll this story forward.
I'm in Bible college, he's provided, he's paid. This is amazing, but I still have to pay the rent and I'm a full-time student taking Greek and all these hard classes and I have this now. I was making 1200, but then we reduced our hours I'm making 850.
I know. Married, one kid and I remember we got to a point where we were out of money, I'm literally out of money. I have no food and I was at the cafeteria. I remember this so clearly, not the cafeteria, at the school. I look around the cafeteria. Everyone went to the line, they got their nice big plates of hot food and I'm sitting there eating the sandwich. Two heels, two heals of bread, and I'm eating this and I tell you something happened. Something happened. Joy arose in my heart. It's like, you know what this means? See, I know this one. I know this one. You know what this means? God's going to do something, that's what this means, because God's already proven Himself to me.
He's already made Himself known to me, I already know this one. I get all excited. Okay God, I'm all ears what next? What are you doing next, God? I just started praying, "Okay, reveal it to me, God." I'm sitting there praying and I remember there was an older woman in church and she had asked for-- we did this little thing where people if wanted some things done, they could write down what they would like done and how much they would like to pay for it and she had written that she would like someone to chop her wood. I thought, "I wonder if anybody ever did that?"
I called her, her name was Mary and I said, "Mary, just calling to see, did anybody ever come over and chop your wood?" "No dear, no one ever did", I said, would you like someone to do that for you?" "Yes I really would". "Mary are you still paying $25?" "Yes, I am". "I'll be right there". Oh, I tell you what? I loved chopping wood. She came out, "Don't you want a break?"
"No, I'm good."
You can buy a lot of food for $25, especially in the eighties. I was like, this is joy. Little later, at school, a fellow contacted me, he's a friend of mine. He was also going to school and he said, "I'm getting done with school now and I've been managing these apartments. I'm just wondering maybe you would like to take over? Hey, this is a really great thing. You get free rent, free utilities, and you get some money each month for your groceries," I'm thinking, God, You are amazing. I said, I would love to do that job for you. I'd tell you it was an amazing miraculous provision because God has proved Himself again and again and again.
Amen. I'll tell you this. When we planted this church with 12 people in our living room, we had no sending church. We had no church saying, oh, we'll support you, you know what you did? We had no one, we had no supporters. We started with 12 people from the former youth group and young adults that I had. All of them were young, none of them made any money, but that's all right. God has birds, God has people and God can do whatever He wants to do. I have one source, but God has many resources. Amen.
Now look at the woman, this widow. A very important lesson comes to us from this widow and it's this, God will stir your faith to act to, action. Notice, if the brook dries up, that's when you should be much more than attuned to God, I'm listening. What is it you wanting to do now, God? This is a very important perspective. Don't take on an attitude of complaint, of criticizing. Oh, You say You love me and then look at this. No, what are you doing then now, Lord? You're very attuned, you're listening. "What now, Lord? What is it You wish to do in my life now? I'm listening."
B. God will stir your faith to action
When the brook dried up, in other words, did he fall into despair? Was his hope in the brook or the God who provided the brook? Was his hope in the ravens or the God who provided the Ravens? "No, I'm listening. I want you to do something. Go to Zarephath. I've commanded a widow to provide for you there, so she's coming to the end of her provision," but then Elijah hearing her story, challenges her to arise in faith. He challenges her to faith. To believe, to trust, to move in that faith. If she would make a little cake for him, just a little cake for him first, then she could make one for herself and the boy. If she would trust, if she would believe, God would be her daily provision until the rains came upon the earth, but you must believe. Act. See, there is a faith that believes and then there's a faith that moves.
There's a faith that believes. Then there's a faith that moves. Faith is made stronger when faith moves. Notice Luke chapter 6:36-38, be merciful, move, do this, do this thing. Be merciful. Give mercy, give grace. Why? Because your Heavenly Father's merciful. Your father in heaven is merciful. Therefore you give mercy but then he adds this thing. Give and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over for by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return, move in your faith.
You believe then move. Do you need encouragement? Then encourage. You need kindness? Give kindness, move. Move, give, bless, pour forth. Who is your source? Whom have I in heaven but You? And You are my portion. Jesus even promise that if you would receive from Him, that He would give to you the very life of God, the very presence of God within you, the Holy Spirit, and when you get the very Holy Spirit of the living God, the very source of heaven is in your life. I'll tell you, if the source of heaven is in your life then the resources of heaven are in your life to pour forth.
John 7:37-39. "Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and He cried out and He said, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink to receive.'" Drink, receive. What are you thirsty for? Receive. He who believes in Me as the scripture says, then from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. You will pour forth because you have taken in, because you have received the very source of heaven, the Holy Spirit, the living God, something will pour forth out of you. From your innermost being will flow rivers of life. Living water. Mercy will pour forth. Kindness will pour forth. Grace will pour forth. The spirit.
The fruit of the spirit is love and joy and peace and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness. These things will pour forth and he spoke of the spirit by whom those who believed in Him were to receive, pour forth, be transformed because you have been filled to the full.
Lord, we thank You for Your life within us. How You have promised us that if we would see and understand that You and You alone are the source of life-- Whom have I in heaven but You, who else? Where else would we go? Who else has the words of life? You and You alone are my source of life. God hears the prayer. Church, would you have this prayer? Would you say to the Lord, then pour that life within me, that I might also see that river of living water pouring forth from me. I want to pour forth grace, kindness, gentleness, life, but I'm asking God that You would fill my life, fill my heart. I want to be used of the kingdom but I know that it begins with having life in me. Lord fill me with Your life that I might overflow and pour forth in my life.
Church, how many would say that to the Lord? This is what I want. I want to make a difference. I want my life to matter. I want to make a purpose for the kingdom in my life. I want rivers of living water pouring forth from me. Church, is that your prayer? Would you say that to the Lord? Would you just raise your hand as a way of saying it, as a prayer? I'm asking, I'm raising my hand as a prayer. I'm asking do this in me, Lord, do this in me.
Father, thank You for everyone who says, "Yes, do this in me Lord." We ask that now in Jesus' name and everyone