When Elijah was completely out of options and even despaired his own life, God was still soveriegn—and provided for each of the prophet’s needs in some incredible and unique ways. This week, we continue our study from 1 Kings.
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you joined us today as we continue our study titled When The Brook Dries Up. It’s the story of Elijah in First Kings chapter 17.
Last time, I gave you two lessons that we learned from this story. The first is the complete sovereignty of God over our situation. It is God who called for the famine that Elijah found himself in. It is God who determined the beginning and the end of that famine. May I say to you today, you are where you are by divine appointment.
There was a second lesson that we learned, and that is that God oftentimes provides in unexpected ways. In fact, He says, “I have commanded the ravens to feed you.” Now, we have never seen this before in history, and I don’t think it’s happened since. But if God even wants to use animals, He can do that. The Bible says in the case of Jonah, that God prepared a fish to swallow Jonah. So I can almost imagine God as saying, “Do you see Jonah over there? I want you to swallow him.” God has so many resources, and sometimes He takes care of us in ways that we could have never imagined or predicted. That’s lesson number two.
Lesson number three is this: that we must be thankful for what we have, even if it’s meager. You know, Elijah was here probably for several months. Some people think for a whole year. Can you imagine? Every morning, the ravens come and they bring him some bread and some meat. I can only imagine what that tasted like. And then the same thing, day after day. And I wanna say, you know, where’s the dessert? Bring me some ice cream. Where’s the cake? Day after day, bread and meat, brought by these birds. But you know, Elijah had more than the people around him. And sometimes what we must do is be very thankful for what we have and realize that God has blessed us in ways that other people—other people may not be blessed at all. Even if the resources are meager, let’s be a thankful people.
Well, we have to hurry on to number four. When the brook dries up, God often uses this to move us on so that we might even see greater things, and to see His hand in unique ways. The text says that God commanded the ravens to feed Elijah; and then it says that God said to Elijah, “I want you to go to Sidon,” which is about 40 miles from where he was, and it was actually out of the land. I mean we’re talking about Tyre and Sidon. And He says, “I have commanded a woman, a widow, to feed you.”
Now that’s an interesting story. I sure hope that you read it on your own. Because what happens is, Elijah says to her, “Would you give me a drink?” And then as she’s going, he says, “Oh, and by the way, why don’t you get me some bread too?” She says, “We have very little food. I want to prepare one more meal and then my son and I will die.” But Elijah, led by God, said, “Look. If you give me some bread, your pot of oil will never be dry. Your flour will always be there, and as long as the famine is on the Earth, God is gonna do this miracle.” And so the miracle is done. But I want you to notice that God sometimes uses famine to say you have to leave, and you have to go elsewhere. And I don’t mean necessarily geographically, though it could mean that. Maybe God is opening a brand new door for you as a result of the fact that your brook, so to speak, has dried up.
Well, let’s go to another lesson; and that is this: that when we bless others, we are blessed in return. I mean, here’s a woman, a widow who is willing to trust and bless Elijah. And as a result she and her son had enough to eat until the rain started. As she blessed others, she was blessed in return. It’s a great lesson. During a time of crisis, of economic instability, it’s very important that we be generous with others, because God will bring blessing to us even as we bless others. It’s a very important principle of Scripture. And so what we find is this miracle happened.
I have to throw this in. You say, “Well Pastor Lutzer, has this ever happened since?” Several years ago I was with missionaries who worked in a dump, actually. It’s a town garbage dump, of a big city. And they prepared enough food that they estimated was enough for 50 people—a big bowl that they had. And they prepared it. They took it outside. And lo and behold, they looked and suddenly the line began to grow. And 200 people showed up. And they felt so bad, they said, “Soon we’re gonna have to tell somebody that the pot is empty.” I’m just telling you the story the way they told it. Everyone in that line got fed. They believe that that was a miracle that God did. Now, I’m a little bit skeptical when it comes to those kinds of miracles. But on the other hand, we have to just let God be God; and if He wants to take a pot of oil and make it multiply, He can take also a pot of stew so that everyone has enough to eat. But at any rate, as we bless others, we are blessed in return.
Well, number six—and we have to hurry—and this is gonna be so encouraging. God blesses the fearful. Here’s Elijah, the great prophet of God. He wins a great victory in chapter 18 on Mount Carmel, and then he discovers that Jezebel knows about him and wants to kill him. And he becomes so fearful that the Bible says—and I’m not making this up, you can read it for yourself in the nineteenth chapter—he says, “Oh Lord, take my life. I wanna die. I’m done. I’m, I’m, I’m afraid things have fallen apart. I wanna die.”
Here’s this great servant of God, speaking like this? That’s why it says in the book of James, Elijah was a man like we are. You’re full of fear today. You’re full of doubt, you’re depressed. You wish that you would die tonight, when you go to sleep—you know, God is with yo He’s with you. And He sustained Elijah, who ultimately went to Mount Sinai. You know the rest of the story. So always remember this. You don’t have to be a great person of faith to be blessed by God.
And then a final lesson. And of all the lessons, don’t lose this one. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. Let’s skip the centuries. Let’s go to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Peter, James, and John are there with Him. And who else shows up? Moses and Elijah in the presence of God. Do you think he’s concentrating on how difficult it was when the brook dried up? I don’t think so. He discovered that in the presence of the living God, and in the presence of Jesus, it really is worth it all. Keep believing and trusting, even when your brook dries up, and God will honor you. And someday, it will be worth it all.
Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope that you’ll join us again next time. And as for today, just go with God.