Sermons

Summary: In a crisis, we trust God's greater purpose and seek God's perfect will.

We saw how the Lord provided for Elijah in the drought, first at the brook and then at the widow’s home in Zarephath.

• By doing that, God also saved the widow and her son from death, and sustained all three of them for the duration of the famine.

• Miraculously the supply of flour and oil did not run out. The barrels might not have overflowed but there were always enough to feed them.

Just as we thought everything was going to be fine, something unfortunate happened.

1 Kings 17:17-18. 17Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?"

A tragedy struck. The widow’s son got ill and eventually died. It was a crisis of faith.

• She stepped out in faith trusting what the prophet said and then saw God’s provision. She was learning more about this God when her son died.

• What happened? Why this? In moments like this we too have questions.

• Why bad things happen to good people? Where was Elijah when the boy was sick? Why didn’t God intervene?

The widow confronted Elijah: "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?" (17:18)

• From her point of view, she saw this as some kind of punishment from God. “He took away my husband, and now my son.”

• She presumed God was judging her for her sin, for something that she had done in the past. Her sin now caught up with her.

And if God was punishing her, then Elijah the prophet of God, was to be blamed.

• He has come, not to reward her but to judge her. He brought God’s judgment.

• Poor Elijah. The innocent tenant in the house, who has brought God’s provision, now being accused of causing the son’s death.

When we face a crisis in life, we will ask questions. We want answers, and when we cannot find them, we make assumptions.

• We make guesses and we believe our guesses. The widow felt this was the work of God. God has come to punish her.

• But then, why would God feed them in the first place? If God wants to take her son, it would have happened without His interference.

• They would have died long ago, without Elijah’s visit.

This reminds me of the incident in John 9 about the man blind from birth Jesus met:

John 9:1-3 1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

• The disciples had already decided in their mind two possible causes – he sinned or his parents sinned. Jesus’ answer was NEITHER.

• In order words, “What you are thinking was wrong. You are mistaken.”

• God has a greater purpose. He wants to display His works in this person’s life.

We had a similar situation in John 11 when Jesus made a delayed trip to Bethany. Supposed to save his sick friend Lazarus but Jesus waited until he died.

• Jesus told his disciples plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 15and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." (John 11:14-15)

• God has a greater purpose. He wants people to see and believe that Jesus “is the resurrection and the life, and he who believes in Him will live, even though he dies.” (cf. John 11:25)

In a crisis, we TRUST GOD’S GREATER PURPOSE

We would like to think that there is a simple correlation between being good and having a good life.

• If you have not done anything bad, you should not have trouble in life. God won’t allow it. So righteous people enjoy blessings, and only sinful people suffer.

But this is not true. Jesus: “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt 5:45)

• It is true the other way around. Jesus: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Good people can also face hardship and pain, because God has a greater purpose.

• Our comfort in life is not His paramount concern; His will in our lives is.

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