Summary: We do not always understand what God is up to, nor do we understand how He does things in a way that would benefit us in the end.
God of Increase
1Kings 17:1 -15
It doesn’t matter in what situation we are in right now. The bottom line is this: God is great, and He is able and willing to meet all our needs. I don’t know about you. but I’ve noticed how God can, at times be “strange” in the manner by which He deals with us.
In the bible, one can find the most destitute person who lived on earth in the person of this widow, whose divine experience with God, we shall shortly read about. She might be destitute, but in her lack, God sent the prophet Elijah, to demonstrate God’s intervention through His provision. God’s ways oftentimes seem to “surprise” us. We do not always understand what He is up to, nor do we understand how He does things in a way that would benefit us in the end.
In the Gospel, you will see Jesus talking to a tree, or commanding Peter to get their tax payment from the mouth of the fish, or putting saliva on the soil that produced the mud that healed the blind man’s eyes. He walked on water and turned water into wine! In 1 Kings 17, we can see how God can meet our needs, not by ways known to man, but by “His” ways.
I. God uses the ordinary to reveal His Glory
God uses the raven. How about a raven to supply your food today?
Matthew Henry’s commentary said and I quote:
“God could have sent angels to minister to him; but he chose to show that he can serve his own purposes by the meanest creatures, as effectually as by the mightiest”.
From a human’s point of view, ravens is certainly not the most likely or qualified creature to bring one’s daily of supply of food. On the contrary, these ravens are scavengers. I believe God purposely chose this ugly bird to be the instrument of His provision to prevent Elijah from idolizing it as THE source of His provision.
Sometimes, we Christians easily put our trust on the “messenger” rather than the “Giver.” ( Unknowingly still, we sometimes slowly put our faith on the instrument of provisions rather than on the Provider Himself).
God uses the widow, Verse 17:”Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.”God’s commands do not always appeal to our intellect, while in fact, they are the most logical things to do! God uses the humble individual more often than He uses the mighty to support His work.
One of the most destitute person who lived on earth is the widow - she had nothing ; no property of her own. Every time the bible speaks of a widow – it is always a picture of a poor individual.
In 1Corinthians 1:27b, God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
In Matthew Henry’s commentary, he said and I quote: The widow appointed to entertain Elijah is not one of the rich or great men of Sidon; but a poor widow, in want, and desolate, is made both able and willing to sustain him. It is God’s way, and it is his glory, to make use of, and put honor upon the weak and foolish things of the world.
I believe God did this on purpose to teach Elijah total dependence on God alone, whenever he is in need.
II. The promises of blessings are for those who are willing to take the leap of faith.
God can sometimes challenge us with seemingly “difficult” things. He sometimes would tells us to give more out of the little that we have.
Most of my testings in giving happened when I had meager resources.
(Verses 10,11) – So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
( Verse 12) “As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
As a pastor, receiving a gift from someone who I feel is in greater need than I am, tears my heart apart. It is out of their genuine selflessness and love for God’s work that they are able to do this.
One time, after receiving a love gift from a needy person, my immediate and natural reflex was to “return to sender!” I thought I was doing a rightfully noble thing, until it came to the knowledge of my wife. And this statement which my wife told me, changed my attitude towards receiving gifts. She said that by returning their love gift, I have just “robbed” this person the opportunity to be blessed!