Summary: The Lord supplies our needs!
The God of Endless Provision, 1 Kings 17:7-16
This morning, there is much that my heart longs to share with you. Having only recently returned from my first pilgrimage to the Holy Land, my soul is bursting with the presence of God and a longing to share the power of that experience with you. That will come in time, no doubt.
This morning my focus will be on the abundant provision and endless supply of Almighty God in the lives of His children. What I am talking about here today has precious little to do with earthly treasures, though they are a part of this equation. What I am talking about here today has little, if anything, to do with our earthly prosperity, though we will touch on that theme.
There is a treasure which has been given to you and to me that is far greater than anything this life has to offer. There is a gift which has been given to us which is such unsurpassable worth as to be incomparable with anything of this world.
The material trappings of this life; the god of Western materialism; often blinds us to the power and beauty of the real treasures of this life; the ultimate treasure of this life; today it my deep desire that you will lay to the side any distracting thoughts, pressures, worries, fears, hesitations of faith, so that I might share with you what was for me the most beautiful treasure I brought home from Israel.
In today’s text there are two primary characters. There is the widow to whom the Lord sent the prophet and then there is the prophet, Elijah; the great and mighty man of God. The story begins by telling us that the brook in the area where the widow lived had dried up from a lack of rainfall.
The Holy Land is a much more arid place today than it was in the times of Christ and in the times of Elijah the prophet, but the rainfall then as now greatly affects the brooks and streams which are not fed by springs. When there is no rainfall in the high territory then the water will be scarce in the lower areas.
The brook had dried up and the widow was in dire straits with regard to her situation. She had no earthly hope of provision.
Zarephath of Sidon was an area north of Tyre, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in Northern Israel along the Phoenician plains.
[As an aside, for a student of biblical geography and ancient sites, I can hardly express how impactful it was to touch the places I have for so long studied; I trust greatly that it will be an enhancement to my teaching and preaching ministry for years to come having visited the land; Christina’s willingness to support me in this is yet another of many testaments to our partnership in the ministry.]
The woman and her son lived in a place during a time of great drought. The Bible says that the brook had dried up. While in our day of modern aqueducts it is perhaps difficult to completely relate to the impending disaster brought on by a time of drought in the land, even in our day it is easy to relate to the reality of the brooks in our lives, the brooks of surplus, the brooks of financial means, the brooks of peace, the brooks of provisions of all types drying up.
The widow was in a time of great need for herself and her son and yet God sent the man of God, Elijah the prophet, to request that she feed him and provide for him. The Lord seldom calls on us when it is convenient for us. The Lord seldom commands us to go and follow Him at moments which are well suited for us.
The Sovereign God of the universe and of our lives is at all times drawing us into places of greater dependence upon Him. Why does it seem that the Lord tugs at our hearts to get out of our comfort zone just when we are most comfortable? May I suggest that it is because comfortable feet quickly grow lazy?
The widow did not have great wealth. In her initial response to the man of God we hear the sound of our own voices, don’t we? I know I hear my own voice intoned in hers. “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.” (1 Kings 17:12 NIV)