Are You There?

Bible Book: 1 Kings  17 : 1-16
Subject: Trust; Provision, God's
Introduction

“Elijah” – His name means “Whose God is Jehovah” or “the Lord is God.”  His ministry corresponded to his name.  He was sent by God to confront Baalism and to declare to Israel that the Lord was God and there was no other.

It was the darkest days in Israel’s history when Elijah, the prophet of the living God, entered upon his public ministry.  Baalism was a morally rotten, vile, sensual, cruel religion that made immoral sex acts a religious exercise.  Baal was a heathenistic, pagan god who was supposed to control rain and fertility.

Elijah’s message to King Ahab, which demonstrated great faith in the Lord and declared great denunciation for Baal, did not inspire honors from the king or from most of Israel.  The special work of the prophet is to arouse the consciences, and confront the hearts of God’s people in a day of ruin.  First, to awaken the failing people of God to their responsibilities by applying the Word of God to their consciences, and second, to encourage the faithful by lifting their thoughts above the ruin in which they find themselves, and comforting hearts with the glories yet to come.

Fifty-eight years had passed since the kingdom had been split into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms.  During this period seven kings had reigned, all, without exception, wicked men.

Jezebel was one of the major leaders in apostasy.  Public worship in Israel had vanished.  Idolatry was universal.  Apparently Baal lived and Jehovah had ceased to be.  This is a brief synopsis of the context.

Two ways to approach today’s text.  The message from Elijah, or the message for Elijah – emphasis on “there”.

I. THERE WAS THE PLACE OF GOD’S PURPOSE.  1-4

God was about to prove the non-existence of Baal.

A. ELIJAH’S POSITION.  1

“As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand”

Boldness came from belief in a “living God” Elijah enjoys a relationship with God and dwells in communion with Him.  He is conscious of being in the presence of God.

His position delivered him from the fear of men, he is kept in perfect calm in the midst of terrible circumstances, and he is conscious of the support of God.

B. ELIJAH’S PROTECTION.  2-3

The prophet must take the lonely way of Cherith and dwell in distant Zarephath before he stands on the Mount of Carmel.

The Lord assigns him to Cherith.  “God does not grant fresh revelations until there has been a compliance with those already received.”  (A.W. Pink)

If you are confounded about the will of God today, it may be a result of your having not obeyed the will of God yesterday.

C. ELIJAH’S PREPARATION.  4

Deuteronomy 11:16-21,  "Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them,  lest the LORD's anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.

"Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.”

Elijah is about to learn four great truths:

1.God will vindicate His Word

2.God will maintain His glory

3.God will honor the man who witnesses to Him

4.God will bring idolatry into contempt

II. THERE WAS THE PLACE OF GOD’S POWER.  5-7

A. A PLACE OF DEPENDENCE.  5-6

The more he depends upon the Lord, the more he learns to know His faithfulness and the riches of His love and grace.

I do not believe that the miracle of the ravens would have occurred anywhere but “THERE”.  To enjoy God’s provision the prophet must be in the place of God’s assignment.  It was not left to Elijah to choose his hiding place, he must submit to God’s choice.

Men wonder why they never feel God’s power or see any evidence of His working.  It is because they are out of His purpose, not in His will.  We say, “What power Elijah had!” but he had no power in himself, he was simply “THERE,” in the place of power.

B. A PLACE OF DRYNESS.  7

Why does God let our sources dry up?  F.B. Myers said, “He wants to teach us not to trust in His gifts but in Himself.”

God takes most of you through a brook drying experience sometimes in life, it not many times; for it provides a great opportunity to grow in faith, to keep our eyes focused better on God, who is the primary source of our supplies.

Dryness can be a place of solitude.

Psalms 46:10a, “Be still, and know that I am God…”

C.H. Mackintosh said, “Our time of training in secret must far exceed our time of acting in public.”

God, in His power, was preparing Elijah’s heart.

EXAMPLES:

1.  MOSES: 40 years backside of desert.

2.  DAVID: Spent much time in wilderness with sheep.

3. JOHN THE BAPTIST: Time alone in the wilderness.

4. PAUL: Arabian Desert.

5. JOHN THE APOSTLE: Exiled to Isle of  Patmos.

III. THERE IS THE PLACE OF GOD’S PROVISION.   8-16

“Where God guides, God provides” is a well-worn proverb, but gloriously true.  God goes ahead of us and makes all the arrangements.  “He is responsible for our upkeep when we follow His directions, but He is not responsible for any expenses not included in His schedule.”  Vance Havner.

A. OPPORTUNITY PRESENTS ITSELF.  8-9

GREAT TRUTH DISCOVERED!

When God called Elijah, God also commanded the widow.

During a famine and drought, God calls Elijah to travel 100 miles N.W. to Jezebel’s territory.

ILLUSTRATE:  When God called Janet and me to go to college, he also commanded a barren couple to provide for us.

God can use a brook, birds, or a poor widow to sustain you.

v. 9 Double Purpose

To sustain His servant and to bring a message of grace to the widow by him.

LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE.  v 5, 15

People follow the paths of their prophet

V. 5 He went and did…

v. 15 She went away and did…

LESSON FROM THE FLOUR BIN

v. 10 “little water in a cup”

v. 11 “morsel of bread”

v. 13 “a small cake”

F.B. Myers said, “God’s servant must learn to take one step at a time.”

Elijah and the widow are learning to put their trust in the Provider rather than in the provision.

Wisdom is ask to give us the certain for the uncertain.

In Luke 4:26 Jesus singles her out!

Psalms 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.”

Psalms 37:25-26, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.  He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed.”

B. OBEDIENCE MANIFESTS ITSELF.   9-16

The Lord manifested Himself and showed Himself strong.