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Obedience leads us to the right place, at the right time! Another lesson from Elijah

Being a Prophet I love reading the stories of the Biblical Prophets and the challenging adventures the Lord led them on. I hope you are enjoying our journey looking at Elijah and the lessons of how obedience leads us to the right place, at the right time.


Part 3 of our journey with Elijah
Obedience leads us to the right place, at the right time

1 Kings 17:7 "Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.  Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “GO at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there.


The Lord said, “I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”  So, Elijah went to Zarephath (which means obedience).  When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?”  As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

 

“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 olive 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.”"

 

God sent Elijah to Zarephath, and He instructs Elijah WHAT TO DO, WHEN TO DO IT AND WHERE TO GO.  This clearly shows us how important it is to listen to God, to really hear what He is saying and to obey! Not just important for us but important for those people around us too.

 

Why Zarephath? Because Zarephath means a place of refinement, a melting house or a furnace. After God makes a covenant with us, it’s usually time for us to be refined! 


So, after being sent to a brook and being cared for by ravens, Elijah was now sent to an idolatrous Gentile country and a poor Gentile widow woman. All of this, during a famine!  How strange are the ways of God! However, the good news is that when God sends us - he supplies!!! Here God sent Elijah to the place of the furnace to prepare him to release the fire!  If you long to release the fire, do not be surprised when you find yourself in the fire and do not despise the furnace.


Back to 1 Kings 17 "Elijah said to the widow woman, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.  For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.”


We would probably ask her to make some bread for herself first and then for us, if there was any left over. But here she was obedient and had faith that as she served Elijah, the flow of provision would be released.


That is exactly what happened as the widow did all Elijah told her to do, there was food every day for Elijah, for the woman and her family.  For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

Miraculous provision
The provision of bread and oil

Wow! Don't you love the power of the prophetic to release provision! The great news is God did not only provide for the widow of Zarephath all those years ago, but He provides today too.


Some years ago, we were hosting a meeting for Leaders who were doing amazing things in their communities. We asked two of them to share what their greatest needs were at that moment. One person described how they were helping addicts to find freedom and restoration. They had a house for men to live in whilst they got the help, they desperately needed, but they had nowhere for the women to live. We asked all present, did they think this was something the Lord would want to provide for. Everyone agreed, so we asked them to stretch out their hands towards this lovely Leader as we prayed in unity, releasing this house. One hour later...yes just one hour later, this precious Leader told me he had just received a phone call from a man giving them a large house for the women. Today we give thanks for this miracle house which has been a home where many broken women have found healing and recovery.


Our God is a miracle working God who heals and provides in so many ways. Here is the second story from that same meeting...Another Leader who does some amazing work with children and young people, shared how they had given notice to all their staff. They could not meet their wages bill and they needed £50,000 to cover their budget. Once again, we asked, did people believe this was something the Lord wanted to provide. Everyone agreed, stretching out their hands and praying in unity to release the £50,000 needed. Later that day we received a call to say that the money had arrived in the bank that afternoon. How awesome is our God!


Back to Elijah's story - he arrived at the town gate of Zarephath and asked the widow for some water and bread. But she had no bread, she was gathering a couple of twigs to make a final meal for her and her son before they would die.  If ever anyone was full of fear and lacking hope it was this woman and all she could see as she stood in the Town Gate was death and poverty!


If God’s gatekeepers are not in position - hopelessness, fear and death will reign in the gates of our towns and cities!  We need to stand as gatekeepers to release LIFE and BLESSINGS.

 

Elijah was full of the life of God and where he went, the presence of God went too.  Elijah brought the awesome fear of God. Often the Lord has to say, “Do not fear”, usually because we are allowing the spirit of fear to control us.  Any fear but the fear of God, binds us and stops us from being the people of destiny God created us to be.  Fear of man and what they think of us can be a tough one to overcome especially as Leaders. In fact, any fear is a problem for us!

 

When my children were in primary school for some unknown reason, I became very fearful of driving and travelling. I would stand in the rain at the bus stop with my children getting soaked, when the car was sitting outside the house. In the end, I cried out to God to help me to deal with the fear. God did not take it away immediately, I had to play my part. I asked God to remove all the wagons from the dual carriageway just until I got my confidence. I got into the car still very much afraid, gripping the steering wheel tightly. I pulled out of my road and as I approached the dual carriageway there were no vehicles there at all. For several days there was very little traffic and then God slowly increased the traffic as my confidence grew.


The fear of travelling was crippling me and impacting my children too. However, God's plan for my life years later, was to have me travelling to the nations to minister for Him. As I trusted God, He set me free. Praise God!


Freedom sculpture by Zenos Frudakis
Breaking free from fear

If you are fearful here is a prayer for you - Lord, we thank you that your perfect love casts out all fear and we ask you to come and flood and fill us with your love.  We command every spirit of fear and intimidation to go right now in Jesus' name.  Amen.


God sent Elijah to the widow, not just to provide for Elijah but to empower her to release the flow of God’s provision…to save her and to remove hopelessness, fear, and death from the gates.  The word of the Lord empowered the widow woman to change her mindset from death to life!

 

What is in the gates of your families, your Church, your government, your communities, regions, and nations? It is essential that we understand the authority and power that God gives to us, His people to turn the battle at the gates!!!!

 

Isaiah 28:5-6 tells us “In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people.  He will be a spirit of JUSTICE 
to him who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.


Even now after a long period of drought Elijah had not lost faith in God bringing the rain at the right time! Often, we miss God’s timing for our breakthrough because we can’t cope with the season of discomfort. We need to allow God to position us every day, so that we can be a voice that can release the word of God, to make the hopeless hopeful, the impossible possible and the starving fed.

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