Faith is Not a Strictly "Personal" Thing
1 Kings 17:1-16
30 Jan, 2000 AM
PLACE: BBC Blarney
Introduction (Luke 4:45,46)
A. There are 2 people of faith in the Scripture today.
1. One is a mighty man of faith, someone well-known, and quite incredible as far as his confidence in the Lord is concerned. His name is Elijah.
2. The other person of faith is a widow woman - a woman basically destitute except for her faith in God, and yet she is weak, and failing in her faith.
3. The two of these people will meet in this story, and teach is just how far a person can trust God!
Message - How
Far Can You Trust God? (1
A. Enough to Face Down Sin (17:1) - Knowing it is the RIGHT thing to do!
1. Face and deal with the real problems in society - no sidestepping the issues of sin, and God's judgment - on Drink, Selfishness, Covetousness, Pornography, Thievery (almost every shop has posted guards now)!
2. Face the ones responsible for people's attitudes towards God - could be the king himself - school teachers, Newsagents, Parents - AMEN!
3. Face yourself - The first two are easier than this. Elijah knew he stood before the Lord - open before God - there were no secrets hidden from God. God help us where WE face ourselves and our sins DAILY, confessing and forsaking them! And living godly lives (Philp 2:15)
B. Enough to Pray According to God's Word (17:1) - knowing it will be answered
1. The key to praying is, learn what we should pray for before praying.
2. Most people try prayer only based upon need, and not upon what God says to pray for. Examples include:
a. You may need a bill paid off - God wants you to be content (pray for contentment), and then your bills get paid off!
b. You may need good health - God wants you to give the health you have to serving Him (so ask for courage instead)!
c. You may need a job - God wants you to work (so it is a good thing. 1 Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.)
d. You may need a wife or a husband - God wants you to be married (another good thing according to Pr 18:22)
e. You may need a good friend - God wants us to realise the value of the friends we have RIGHT HERE - God has already answered your prayer! AMEN! That's Right!
f. You may need God to do something in someone's life - But God probably is already doing something in their life, and they aren't liking it! AMEN! Judgment is not a fun thing to experience!
3. Elijah knew what God said for him to pray for - drought! So guess what he prayed for? For it not to rain!
a. Elijah was NOT telling God to do anything
b. He was simply agreeing with God about what should be prayed about (Cf Mt 9:36-38)
C. Enough to be Humbled Yourself (17:2-4)
1. Elijah was not going to ride out of the situation on a chariot of fire just yet. He was going to have to go through it too
2. But God had something special planned for Elijah
a. A small brook to drink from - not a roaring river - no fish
b. Some small portions of food - food that could be carried only in bird's mouths - not doggie bags full - but beaks-full!
c. Brought to Elijah by way of some nasty birds called ravens
1) Black birds - hated by farmers
2) Unclean animals - they had diseases. Lev 11:13-15 "And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; and Every raven after his kind;"
d. And all of this was to be happening out of the way - out of sight of everybody else. He was to be alone for a while. The people, and especially king Ahab had to face God's judgement themselves, without any help from Elijah.
e. But that made it hard for Elijah as well - no one to talk to except God, and birds.
f. Elijah was humbled - he was not strutting around showing off God's goodness - GOD HELP US WHEN GOD IS GOOD TO US SO THAT WE DON'T GO AND RUB IT IN OTHER PEOPLE'S FACES! To be humbled means to live among others, not above!!!
D. Enough to Just Wait (17:5-7)
1. Elijah sat three long years at the side of that little brook
a. Eating the same old food
b. Drinking the same old water
c. Talking to the same old birds
d. Wondering when God would want him to pray and ask for the rain to return.
2. Elijah saw that little brook dry up over time - Elijah was being asked of God to continue waiting, even though the situation was getting bleak! It was getting bleak NOT because God was failing Elijah, but because there was no rain!!!
3. Elijah sought for God to do something more - to say something more - to lead him again. Had nowhere to go unless God told him so!
a. When Elijah watched that little brook grow dry, under the hot Mediterranean sun, you better believe he started to wonder what was going to happen next
b. But Elijah was man of faith - he was just experiencing two miracles:
1) The fulfillment of prophecy - God had said what would happen
2) The answer to prayer - Elijah had prayed it would stop raining
c. That gave him the courage to press on by faith, and wait - there are 32 verses of Scripture that tell us to "Wait upon God!" "Wait patiently for God." We can trust God to wait a lifetime if need be!!!
E. Enough to Encourage the Defeated (17:8-15)
1. God does act. Elijah was waiting for further instructions, and got them:
a. Does God send Elijah to a "wealthy land-owner" that had a hidden stash of food and water? NOPE!
b. God sends Elijah to a widow woman of all things! Oh, God loves widows - especially widows of faith (remember Lk 4:45,46; & 21:2)
1) A widow was the last person you would think would have anything to spare - especially for a hungry preacher like Elijah was!
2) Widows had no one outside of their families to take care of them
a) In this modern day, the Scriptures declare that the church is not to be focused on taking care of widows - their families are supposed to! NOT THE GOVERNMENT either!
b) Only those widows who are widows indeed are to be cared for by Christians - Christians are not automatic handouts!
3) So Elijah goes to meet this widow - someone whom God has already told to take care of him
2. And because God had spoken in His word what to do, Elijah acts
a. The widow had so little faith - she needed some encouragement
b. So Elijah waved his "magic wand" and presto there was a feast? NOT
c. Elijah asks for a drink of water - like Jesus and the woman at the well
d. Elijah then asks for a tiny morsel of bread - that did it - blew here away - her frustration with God comes out (a message in itself)
1) Figures she is just going to die - can't see ahead
2) Figures her faith won't fill her son's belly
3) OH BUT SHE WAS SO WRONG!
e. Elijah still asks for a cake - a pancake we would call it - and asks that it be given to HIM first! Of all the nerve!
1) To challenge her to give by faith - you ain't living by faith until you are giving by faith!
2) To challenge her to be a blessing even in times of trial and trouble- OH THAT'S WHAT CHRISTIANS COULD BE!
f. The Elijah reminds her of God's word, and God's promise - we need to be reminded of God's word - that's church - but also daily - that's fellowship, and reading your Bible (Heb 3:13)!
F. Enough to See God Do the Impossible (17:16)
1. Did you know that the miracle didn't happen until she believed enough to make a little pancake of bread for Elijah? She had to trust God enough to take a step by faith, and then guess what she found in that barrel of hers? A little meal. The barrel didn't fill up - it just never went down! AMEN!
2. Did you know that her cruise (container) of oil did not burst out with fresh oil - it just sat there waiting on her to act by faith in God's word! And she saw it never run dry… for MANY days - look at 18:1, "in the THIRD year…"
3. How far can you trust God? As far as GOD can go!
a. I'm talking about God doing the impossible in saving sinners like you and me! Remember that we were pretty far gone, amen?
b. I'm talking about God saving one of you here this morning - transforming your life - if you will by faith repent, and surrender to Jesus Christ BY FAITH, and ask Him to be your Saviour and Lord!!!
c. I'm talking about God being able to do the impossible in your life - put a marriage back together - bring home wayward sons and daughters - make soft again the hardened hearts here
d. I'm talking about going through the darkest valley, and seeing the end of it, and getting it behind you!
Conclusion - How Far Can You Trust God?
A. Enough to Face Down Sin - sin in your own life, in society - to do something
B. Enough to Pray According to God's Word - The key to praying is, learn what we should pray for before praying.
C. Enough to be Humbled Yourself - always allow God to break you and keep you broken, humble, and small in His picture! That's when your faith goes far!
D. Enough to Just Wait - how long do you wait on God? Been waiting 3 years for something to happen? That's ok! Seen your brooks dry up? That's ok!
E. Enough to Encourage the Defeated - get your eyes on others. They probably are having a worse time of things than you are - if you are honest! Encourage folks by teaching people to give first. Be an example yourself!
F. Enough to See God Do the Impossible - save your husband, your Mom! Salvage your home! Provide the needed job, or mate! You can trust Christ!!!