Month: April 2017
In 1 Kings 17:2-3, the Lord told Elijah to hide by a brook. When he did what God told him to do, God took care of him. Not only did he have water to drink, but God commanded the ravens to feed him every morning and evening. One day, the brook dried up because there was no rain.
If God commanded the ravens, surely He could have commanded the brook, but He allowed the brook to dry up. Prior to this, Elijah was satisfied. He was comfortable. He didn’t have a thirst or a hunger for anything, but now he did. He wasn’t satisfied with where he was and he didn’t want to remain in that condition anymore.
The word of the Lord came to Elijah. Not only did God tell him to move, but He told him where to move to. Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Zidon and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain you (vs 9). Sometimes God leaves out the details. He never told Elijah that the widow woman had a need. All He told him was that she would feed him.
When he arrived at the gate of the city, he saw the widow gathering sticks (I guess that meant she was about to cook something). He asked her for some water. As she was going to get the water, he asked for a morsel of bread. First, the woman told him what she didn’t have. I have not a cake (vs 12). Then, she told him what she did have – a handful of meal in a barrel, a little oil in a cruse and two sticks. This was her last meal and this meal wasn’t just for her, but it was for her son also.
This woman didn’t want to die and she didn’t want her son to die, but she was preparing to die because she didn’t know what else to do. She didn’t know where her next meal was coming from. It didn’t look like things were going to get better and now she had a man – a perfect stranger – asking her, an unmarried mother, for her last.
I hear the conversations of single mothers from time to time. They love their children, but sometimes they are tired – tired of raising their children alone, tired of the daily routine, tired of trying to provide, tired of missing field trips and Awards Day. It hurts when you can’t do what you would like to do for your children. You want them to enjoy their childhood. You want them to be happy. You don’t want them to worry about adult things such as bills and other responsibilities.
I can only imagine how strong this woman was trying to be for her son. She was trying to keep it together, but sometimes we just want someone to come and ‘save’ us. You know, take care of all our problems. Well, God did send a man in her life, but He didn’t send him to be her husband. (I had to point that out because sometimes a single woman/mother is so anxious to be married or in a relationship that she confuses ‘help’ with ‘husband’). Elijah didn’t give her any food or money. He didn’t get her out of debt or out of poverty, but he showed her how to get out. He showed her how to trust again. All she had to do was obey the instructions. All she had to do was give the very thing that she was afraid of losing.
Sometimes we are so focused on what we want that we don’t see what others need. Let’s look at it this way: Had Elijah not moved, the widow and her son would have died. Our obedience to God is so important. It was so easy for Elijah to get comfortable at the brook. It was so easy to trust God for the things he could see. Life was good. He had water, bread, and meat every day, but God didn’t send him there to stay. He was only there to pass through. I’m sure he got used to the daily routine. I bet he thought he had God figured out. He knew exactly what time the raven would feed him, but when the brook dried up and the raven stopped coming, he had to trust God through a woman who only had a handful of meal, a little oil and two sticks. The widow was being tested, also. Whoever is faithful with little will also be faithful with much (Luke 16:10).
I wanted to know how far and at what length this man went to obey God and to meet this widow. What was the distance between Cherith and Zarephath? One source on the internet reported it was approximately 85 miles. Another source reported it was between 80 to 100 miles. I don’t know if Elijah got there by foot or by a horse, but that was a long journey if you didn’t have a car. Did he get tired along the way? Did he want to stop? Did he want to turn around? Did he eat? Did he drink? What did he have to give up?
Just like Elijah, you will never have to worry about your need when you put HIS kingdom first. God will supply your need according to His riches in glory. So if you’re lacking in an area, it’s probably in the area that you refuse to give to God or to trust Him in. When the widow woman gave her last, she and her household had a lot left over (1 Kings 17:15).
I know you have these great ideas and plans about what you want to do, but God has a better plan – and it includes more than just you. The devil may have used you in the past to hurt and to betray people, but God is going to use you to help people.
God is going to allow some things to happen – not to hurt you or to punish you, but to cause you to make the decision to move. I’m not talking about moving to another city or to another state. I’m talking about moving toward His purpose for you – moving toward the reason why you were born. If you don’t move, you will never discover who you are and in case no one ever told you – You are a blessing. God knitted you together in your mother’s womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. The word God placed in your mouth is like a hammer that breaks a rock into pieces and the anointing on your life is able to destroy the yokes of many.
This is why you can’t remain where you are.
You have dwelled in your feelings, fear, self-pity, isolation and hurt long enough. It is time to get up and leave those things behind. It is time to turn (change; repent), take your journey and go to where God is leading you (Deuteronomy 1:6-7, paraphrase). Don’t be ashamed of where you came from. Don’t be ashamed of the things you have done. Don’t even compare yourself to others. Do what the widow did and use what you have. God is going to give you instructions. They will be simple, not hard and difficult.
We were created to do more than what we are doing. As sons and daughters of God, we don’t have to stand idle because no one will hire us (Matthew 20:6-7). There is plenty of work to do. The harvest is plenteous (Matthew 9:37), but you won’t realize this until you stop looking after your own things and start looking on the things of others (Philippians 2:4).
Someone has a need and they are praying for you to move.
The children of Reuben and Gad had a lot of cattle. God promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, but they saw the land of Jazer and Gilead and thought it would be a great place for their cattle. They thought it would be better. They went to Moses, the priest and the princes of the congregation about their plan (not God’s plan). May we settle here instead of crossing the Jordan into the promised land? (Numbers 32:5, VOICE). Moses couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Shall your brothers go to war and shall you sit here? (vs 6).
In Numbers 20, Moses was told he wouldn’t enter the promised land. The Lord spake to Moses and Aaron, Because you didn’t believe me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them (vs 12). Here we have Moses, who wanted to enter in, but couldn’t while the Reubenites and Gadites had the opportunity to enter in, but chose not to. Moses couldn’t believe that they came this far only to settle here when God wanted to give them there. He was also concerned that it would discourage the others from going across to the land that the Lord had given them. Eventually, half of the tribe of Manasseh decided not to cross over either. Our decisions do affect other people.
Moses told the Reubenites and Gadites that they were just like their ancestors (Numbers 32:8). When Moses sent their ancestors to survey the land, they went as far as the valley of Eschol, took one look at the land and quit. They discouraged the others who wanted to go by telling them how strong and tall the people were that inhabited the land and that they wouldn’t be able to go up against them. God was so angry with them that He made them (with the exception of Caleb and Joshua) wander in the wilderness for 40 years until that generation (20 years old and older) died out.
The Reubenites and Gadites vowed to help the others fight and to cross over, but their minds were made up. They were content. They didn’t want to go any further. Now that may have been fine for them, but that’s not okay for us. Don’t settle. Don’t accept something or someone just because you don’t see what God said yet.
God has better for you.
God has already given what He promised, but you must want it. You must go and possess it. Wishing and hoping is not enough. Going to church and hearing the word is not enough. You must do what the word says. Some of us are trying to find different ways to enter into the promise, but there is only one way – obedience. This is how Caleb and Joshua entered in. They followed God completely (vs 11). And lazy people don’t inherit the promise. You can’t be like the five foolish virgins who expect other people to have oil for them – and for you. Get your own oil! Do what you are supposed to do. Use what God gave you.
In Mark 6:45, Jesus revealed to the disciples their destination, but He never told them what would happen during the journey. And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship and to go to the other side to Bethsaida (vs 22). On the way there – in the middle, the wind was blowing against them and their ship was tossing because of the strong waves. Jesus saw them struggling, trying to row the boat. Even though the journey was hard, they never stopped rowing. They did what Jesus told them to do. They kept moving toward the other side. They kept resisting the wind and the waves. They made it to the other side (with Jesus in the ship with them) and so will you. The enemy wants you to get discouraged in the middle. He wants you to give up and settle where you are. If you are going to become settled in anything, become settled in the word. Come in agreement with God and accept what He said as true. Don’t sit here when God has promised you there. God wants to give you more than what you can see.
But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Please understand that this isn’t just about receiving ‘material things’ on the other side. This is about discovering who we are in Christ (here) and doing what we were anointed to do (there). The enemy wants us to remain in the middle, straddling the fence (lukewarm), halt between two opinions. He doesn’t want us to grow spiritually. He wants us to just go to church and have a ‘good time’. He wants us to be hearers only – always learning and getting new information and revelation, but never understanding the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).
Let’s look at this another way. When the disciples entered the ship with Jesus, a severe storm came (Matthew 8:23). The ship was covered with waves. Jesus was sleeping while the disciples were panicking. When they woke Him up, He asked, Why are you fearful, you of little faith (vs 26)? Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea and they got to the other side. On the other side, they met two men possessed with devils living among tombs (vs 28). Now do you see why the enemy fights you so hard? The reason why he doesn’t want you to cross over to the other side is because he doesn’t want you to heal those he oppressed.
Let us not be like the tribes that only thought about what they wanted for themselves. God doesn’t just want us to go to the other side, but He wants us to help someone else get to the other side, too.
I pray that we all cross over and enter into what God has promised.