Summary: Our life is a series of "divine appointments" as Christians. While most people think that most ministry is done by "superstars" of the faith or by megachurches, in truth the bulk of Christian work is done by average guys. See https://vimeo.com/88045219 .
Love God...Love Family...Love The Brotherhood...Love Others!
We've been on a journey here at Resurrection for the past two months this being the ninth message in this series, Kindred United. The overarching idea is that we must, as a church body (the kindred, the family, the brethren or brotherhood) be melded or joined together (united) in our faith. In short, we as a church family needs to be on the same page!
Key in this thought is that if we truly love God (the first principle from the Scripture above) then all else will follow. We will love our families, and make Jesus Christ a priority in our lives. We will love the brotherhood because we are all brothers and sisters in Jesus, they are our church family and scripture in clear in 1 John 3 that the unsaved "will know we are Christians by our love". We look upward to God first as our God, we look around us to our family and our church family. However, we are called lastly, as part of the definition of "neighbors", to look outward to others--particularly those in need. But how do we reach people that are in need?
Divine Appointments And Training
And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word." Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there." 1 Kings 17:1-4 (NKJV)
A few weeks ago we saw how God puts "divine appointments" in our lives. They are those times when, through what seems to be the craziest of events in our lives we meet people to either share Jesus with them, or have the opportunity to do good works for them. Because I totaled my car, God sent me to Uniontown to buy a car, and those three precious folks came to faith in Jesus as a result. Today we see a set of divine appointments in the life of Elijah the prophet.
A little back story is in order. The nation of Israel had fallen on evil times. King after king had become more evil than his predecessor, with Ahab being more evil than all of them combined. Baal, an idol/god that represented fertility and nature, was worshipped along with all the went with so called gods of nature including wanton sexual promiscuity.
Ahab's wife, Jezebel, was incredibly evil and pushed the Baal agenda; "at Jezebel's urging, Ahab opposed the worship of Jehovah, destroyed His altars, and killed His prophets." (Nelson's). Out of seemingly nowhere, God lifted up "Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word." "(1 Kings 17:1,NKJV). Those that worshiped Baal, the fertility and nature god, was shown to be powerless and a phony god by the genuine God by drying up the land and all plant life.
Then God sent Elijah into the wilderness to protect him to the Brook Cherith, where the Lord sent ravens to feed him and hide him from Ahab and Jezebel. God provided protection for the one that would speak on His behalf, but God had also sent Elijah to Cherith to train Him for what lie ahead.
There are two important lessons that we see in this passage. First, God can and does people that seemingly come out of nowhere, and that would be you and me. Not everyone that does God's will and His work are people like Billy Graham, John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah or D. James Kennedy. In fact, the great bulk of Christian work is done by common folk like you and me. God is not looking for a superstar to do His work, He calls ones that one day will "shine like the stars forever and ever" because of their works (Daniel 12:4). Secondly, when we do God's work, it will often not be easy and God will send us on a path where we would normally not go. To protect Elijah, God sent Him to Cherith for perhaps a year, then moved him on from there to his "divine appointment" after his first part of training him to trust Him through the ministry of the "servant ravens".
A Divine Appointment...
In The Belly Of The Beast
Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you." So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink." And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand." So she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die." 1 Kings 17:8-12 (NKJV)