I hope you enjoyed the last two posts on the Old Testament and why it is relevant to the 21st century believer. I think it is quite incredible, and an obvious sign that the Text is Divinely inspired. When events written several millennia in the past can teach us how to live our lives today. Today let’s talk about the will of God for you.
Do you think about what God’s called you to do? Do you ever think about a ministry you’d like to pursue if you got compensated? Maybe if the circumstances were different? What about what you’re doing right now?
Have you ever considered that God has you right where He wants you? One of the most frustrating things for me is that I don’t know what God has planned for me. I know that’s what faith is all about. If I only knew what He had in store for me then I wouldn’t need faith. And we cannot please God without faith, right? (Hebrews 11:6) I have to reflect at times and say “OK Lord, I don’t know what’s happening or where you are taking me. I’ll just be still while you continue to work on me.”
Consider the prophet Elijah
1 Kings 17: 1 Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!”
2 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. 4 Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”
5 So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.
8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
Elijah was quite bold when speaking to one of the most evil kings (Ahab, vs 1). I think God’s way of protecting His servant was by leading him to Kerith Brook to get “out of Dodge” for awhile. Or maybe in addition to that, it was to teach Elijah how to wait.
Are kidding me, fed by Ravens?
While by the brook Elijah was fed by ravens until the brook dried up. We don’t know exactly how long this took, a few weeks, months? That’s wild, isn’t it? Hanging out by a brook, being fed bread and meat by ravens morning and evening? Do you think he might’ve been wondering what he was doing there or what would happen if the ravens forgot about him? I don’t know. I’d like to believe that Elijah was perfectly content and didn’t have those questions. I look forward to asking him someday. 🙂
The widow does what God said she’d do
We read further in verse 9 that he was told to see a widow in Zarephath. Let’s read on:
1 Kings 17: 10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
Can you imagine?
Her reality was that this was going to be her last meal, but God had other plans. God sent Elijah to minister to the widow in her time of need, just in time, God’s time.
Taking a step back and looking at the big picture, we know that Elijah was a much-revered prophet, in fact, other prophets bowed before him (1 Kings 18:7). We also know that he had the respect of kings and performed many great miracles.
So what is a great man of God doing in such a remote place with a widow?
A great prophet who is accustomed to being in the presence of kings is now living with a widow? This is his ministry for this season of his life. He is in the will of God for certain.
Only if you are familiar with the Old Testament or familiar with this next verse you might understand exactly why this new ministry for Elijah is near and dear to God’s heart…
James 1: 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
He was exactly where God wanted him.
The widow in this story could represent an aging parent, a sickly child, or maybe a person that needs special attention. I love how this story demonstrates that it doesn’t matter what you think you should be doing or what you are qualified to do, but as long as you are doing what God asks of you, whatever that is, it is exactly where God wants you. The time spent by the brook tested his faith and prepared him for his time with the widow. I think if I experienced ravens feeding me for a period of time, it would certainly build my faith, how about you?
If I can only keep focused on Jesus
Do you ever think, “What about that other guy, the one that has a flourishing ministry?” Be careful not to compare yourself with others. I am guilty of this, but I’m always reminded of this exchange:
John 21: 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”
This verse is like the Shepherd’s staff pulling me back from the treacherous ditch I’m heading for. If I can just keep focusing on Jesus and following Him. I know I’m on the right path and that will be more than sufficient for me.
Will you continue to follow Jesus?
“Dear Lord, thank you for continuing to teach me your ways. Your ways are not my ways. I know that you have a perfect plan for my life and that you know what’s best for me. You are the Creator of heaven and earth and I will continue to put my trust in you. Thank you for leading me.”