The Lord told Elijah to hide by the brook, but I don’t want you to look at this from the point of Elijah hiding from Ahab. The purpose of him being hidden had nothing to do with the past, but it had to do with the future. God was preparing him for what was about to happen.
Not only did Elijah have water to drink, but God commanded the ravens to feed him every morning and evening. He knew exactly when the ravens were coming. Inside of Elijah was a gift, but in order for God to get out of him what He placed in him, he had to create a situation to stir up the gift that was in him. He had to make him uncomfortable.
One day, the brook dried up because there was no rain. Now, he had a thirst that he didn’t have before – and I’m not talking about a physical thirst. Had not the brook dried up, Elijah would have remained where he was, but someone needed his gift. What God had given him, wasn’t for him. It was for others. It was to serve others.
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. This woman had a need and God wanted to use Elijah to meet that need, but he never told Elijah about her need. He just told him that he was going to take care of him through this woman.
If you take care of what concerns God, He will take care of what concerns you.
Some people are still looking at the dried brook, crying over what they lost. The only thing lost that we should be concerned about is lost souls, not the things that we have lost because God can restore those things.
This widow 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, a widow and a single mother, to give him her last and the only thing that she had left.
Through instructions, Elijah showed her how to get out of her situation. 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.
We were created to do more than what we are doing. There is plenty of work to do. The harvest is plenteous (Matthew 9:37). But one person cannot do it alone. Every one of us has received a gift. Our job is to discover what that gift is and then put it to work. When you don’t do what you are supposed to do, someone else suffers. Jonah is a great example. God sent him to Nineveh, but he went where he wanted to go. When a storm came, Jonah was sleeping, but the people on the ship were suffering with fear and a near death experience.
Had Elijah not gone to where God sent him, the widow and her son would have died. It is important that we stop waiting for someone else to do what God told us to do. And stop comparing ourselves with others. Stop thinking that someone is better or can do it better than you. God gave gifts to the body of Christ to complete, not to compete with each another. Your gift is needed. Someone needs what you have.
You may not be the answer to everyone’s problem, but you are the answer to someone’s problem.
Use your gift.
Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants [stewards, managers] of God’s various gifts of grace (2 Peter 4:10, EXB).
Yesterday morning, I put some of my daughter’s belongings on the floor. When she came into the room, she just stood there like she couldn’t get to the other side. From where I was standing, it looked simple and easy to me. She had a choice to either go around it or go over it, but maybe she couldn’t see this from where she was standing. (Sometimes you have to change your position). When I got tired of her standing there, I finally said, There is nothing stopping you.
Apostle Paul knew what he used to be. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man (1 Timothy 1:13). And he knew that people didn’t forget what he did. Lord, these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you (Acts 22:19). He even consented to Stephen’s death, but he didn’t allow what he used to be to stop him from becoming what he would be.
He was a Pharisee (Acts 26:5), very intelligent and didn’t lack knowledge, but God didn’t want him and He doesn’t want us to be people who study the word, but yet refuse to become what we read about. You study the scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very scriptures that testify of me yet you refuse to come to me to have life (John 5:39-40).
To many, Paul was a horrible person, but God knew that what he did was out of ignorance and unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13). Inside of Paul was the wheat and tares and God allowed them to grow together, but at the right time He showed mercy and separated them. People may have counted him out, but God counted him faithful, putting him in the ministry (1 Timothy 1:12). After all the awful things he had done to God’s people, Paul didn’t think he deserved to be called an apostle, but by the grace of God I am what I am (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Are you still trying to figure out what kind of life you should live? Well, God wants you to live a life that pleases Him and that will reveal His Son to others. This is why it’s never good to compare your life with the lives of others or to wish to be someone other than who God created you to be. 2 Corinthians 10:12 tells us that whoever compares themselves to another are without understanding and are not wise. There is nothing wrong with desiring more in life, but those things that you are lusting after doesn’t make you great. You will never find greatness outside of you because it is already in you. Greater is He that is in you.
Comparing can make you feel bad about yourself. It steals your joy. It makes you feel like you’re losing while everyone else is winning. When you don’t know what you should be doing, it’s easy to become angry with those who are doing. Instead of trying to become what you think people want you to be, ask God the same question Paul asked Christ – What will you have me to do?
Comparing also reveals how ungrateful we are and that we really don’t like God’s plan for our lives, but despite how you feel, God still loves you and although you can’t see it right now, His plan for you is good. It’s all about how you see yourself and this is the area that the enemy attacks a lot of us in. He wants you to see yourself as a grasshopper even though there is a Giant in you. You may think that you are a mess or just like my daughter, all you can see is a mess before you, but God can turn your mess into a message. He will give you grace to get to the other side and He will even tell you in bits and pieces how to get there. When Paul asked Jesus what he wanted him to do, Jesus didn’t tell him everything at first. He told him to go to the city and once he obeyed that instruction, then He would tell him what to do next (Acts 9:6). Don’t think God isn’t doing anything. He is doing what He said, but He’s not doing it all at once. He is doing it in stages. Stages are steps of a process. Each step is maturing and developing you and proving you trustworthy and faithful to the call.
Just like Paul, God wants to make you a witness for Him. Do you remember the woman at the well? Many of the Samaritans believed because of her testimony. Yes, the enemy will send things to stop you from becoming what God separated and called you to be, but even what he sends can’t stop you. Sometimes it is what you think about yourself that stops you, but think yourself victorious. You may have failed in certain areas, but you are not a failure. Let your past (even the tares) be a testimony to many that God not only changed you, but He can change them, too. You have a bright future ahead of you because the blood of Jesus has separated you from your past. You know what that means? Not even your past can stop you! So let us thank God that He didn’t erase our future because of our past, but that He erased our past because of our future.
There is nothing stopping you.