Summary: The widow of Zarapheth, like many Christians, did not realize her importance to God, her usefulness to the kingdom, nor her right standing before God. A message to encourage those whose value is hidden to themselves and others.
Hidden Hurting Healed 2
(Note to pastors, powerpoints slides are embedded in the sermon notes I post on church website. Plymouthcf.org)
Talk about leverage. PPT 1
the mechanical advantage gained by the use of a lever
mechanical advantage (MA) is the factor by which a mechanism multiplies the force or torque applied to it
The video we showed talked about tactics of the enemy, one of his main tactics is discouragement. The enemy will often use circumstances against us as a point of leverage to move us out of the will and purposes of God through discouragement.
Last week we began our message, from 1st Kings 17: Hidden, Hurting, and Healed, I will recap that briefly in a moment but for now let me say that the circumstances Elijah and the widow of Zarapheth went through were the perfect breeding grounds for discouragement, and a seeming window of opportunity for them to be leveraged in the wrong direction. Thankfully, they are examples of what to do in a trial, and not what not to do.
Last week I talked mostly about Elijah being hidden and discussed how that produced 3 special trials in his life:
1. Lost Productivity
He went from a very exciting spiritual journey, hearing from God, and being used by God, to a life where God seemed to be absent
2. Limited Provision
He went to a place where he had meager provisions. He was fed by whatever the ravens brought him. He was also confined to limited movement. His actions were restricted.
3. Learning Patience
He was not told what to do about his water situation until after the brook dried up. When we as a people see the brook of our resources begin to dwindle we tend to get nervous and antsy. We want answers before the brook runs dry, God doesn't move by our time clock but His. Let patience have its perfect work.
Because of these trials it produced an atmosphere that was very conducive to give the enemy points of leverage in his life to produce complaining, bitterness, rebellion, backsliding and yet none of these happened. I am going to be speaking on John the Baptist in weeks to come and will show that like Elijah he had a prolonged time, out of the limelight and in the wilderness, and yet the scripture says of him:
Lu 1:80 And the child continued to grow, and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
Both John and Elijah came out of their wilderness times strong in Spirit. How are you doing in yours?
Elijah was told to hide himself by the brook Cherith, the name Cherith means "to cut off, to cut down"
It is one thing to serve God when you are going forward it is quite another when you are being cut down. It is one thing to serve God when you are experiencing increase and whole different level of grace when you are experiencing decrease.
Cutting down provides mechanical leverage for the devil, because there is less to move, but the finger of God is on your side of the seesaw, so stay there.
The bible tells us that every branch in me that beareth fruit He prunes. Every branch, there are no exceptions. The purpose of cutting down is always for future increase.
Let's look at our text:
PPT 7, 8, 9
1 Kings 17:7 And it happened after a while, that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.
8 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
9 "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, "Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink."
11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand."
12 But she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die."
13 Then Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first, and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son.