The Church: A Blessing to this World

widowSo many things take place that we sometimes do not understand them at their precise moment and many of times we are left to wonder what God is doing. But in due time we come to find out exactly what God had in mind all along, and then the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place.

A few months ago I was surprised that not a lot was being reported on the draught that the State of California was experiencing. Probably just those of us who still look at the news were slightly aware of the drought that was taking place. I was most astonished to see various pictures on the internet that showed how many of the lakes and rivers in California had changed dramatically because of this drought. Some rivers no longer flourished as before with water and because of this the plants and trees around them had died out. Immediately I thought about the old Psalm that says in Psalm 1:1-3 – “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

That is a promise that God has for those that delight in the Lord’s law, the Word of God, and not only delight but also meditate on it day and night. As I began to see the news, the city governments were asking their residents that they not water their lawns, and to do it according to the plan that each city had set up. Now what was interesting is that some residents were receiving citations from those same city officials that were telling them not to cut their lawns, were now citing them because their lawns were drying up and it was making the city look ugly. There began a massive confusion amongst the residents of the cities and the government officials. And I thought when writing this message that when in times of drought there is despair and confusion, because drought represents a lack of life, because water represents life and drought represents death.

But I do want to point out that just this last week, California has experienced so much water that they are even having floods, in other words the rain is abundant. And this came just a few after many churches got together asking God to send rain. Now when we see this in the literal format that I just explained we can see the effects of a drought right away. But what about the spiritual drought we are experiencing in Christianity today. Years ago you could still see some folks trying to live the holiness way, and even if some were not members of the Church, you could see a holiness in their lives, but today it has become very difficult to distinguish such. Many of these folks have lost faith in the once experienced abundance of spiritual blessings upon their lives. Even in the Church we may sometimes get to that point of losing faith on those blessings that God has promised the Church of God. But I am reminded of the widow of Zarephath.

The Bible tells us in 1 Kings Chapter 17 that Elijah a prophet of God told Ahab that there would be no rain upon the land, but until God said so. Then God commanded Elijah to go eastward and hide by the brook of Cherith, and God told the prophet that He would supply all his needs.

Now when the time of the drought would dry out that lake, God told Elijah to go (verses 7-9) a place called Zarephath.

VERSES 7-9

  1. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
  2. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,
  3. Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
  • The place Elijah was at had dried up completely.
  • He was told by the Lord to go up to Zarepath, which belongeth to Zidon
  1. The word Zarepath means refinement, so I believe God was going to teach Elijah and the widow a good lesson.
  2. The word Zidon means “catching fish” this word was used because this area was close to the Mediterranean Sea and was used for catching fish, but on this occasion some spiritual fish catching was going to take place.
  • God had already provided for Elijah before, while he was by the brook when he received water and meat from ravens. But now God tell Elijah it’s time to go but that he would still provide for him.
  • God will never leave us alone if we are faithful to him, he just requires that we become faithful servants and givers. Many want to be leaders but need to know that a leader is a servant.
  • I remember a few years ago that my wife and I made the long journey from California to Florida to pastor a church and live in a city that we knew nothing about, all we knew that there were folk there that needed a pastor. So my wife being 3 months pregnant and I packed up our van and made the journey, alongside my father in law who was with us.
  • My father in law and wife can be a witness to this, that arriving there the situation was not like it was described to us, and we were left to wonder what do we do now? But like Elijah God will never leave us along.
  • In just a few days, like 3 days after we were able to secure an apartment, I was offered a job and our time there began. If we are faithful to God He will never leave us along, He is faithful and His promises are real, and Elijah knew this in the midst of a great famine.

VERSES 10-12

  1. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
  2. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
  3. And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
  • So as the prophet of God arrives to the gates of the city not knowing what to expect and just knowing that God has commanded him to go, he sees the widow gathering sticks. We can say her that Elijah had arrived to the city of refinement. How many times has God had to refine us, or The Church of God in all her history?
  • Elijah tells the widow “Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink” out of all the things in the world, the prophet tells her to get him some water, didn’t Elijah know that there was a drought in the land?
  • But we see her that this widow was obedient. I don’t know if it was because of the customs of the Middle East were women have to be submissive out of fear to any man in the street because of their religion, or maybe the widow knew within her spirit that Elijah was a man of God. But we do see her in verse 11 going to get him some water.
  • But to make manners worse Elijah not only asks of her for water but also of bread, in other words food.
  • But in verse 12 we see that current situation at hand. The widow had fallen on hard times also, probably due to what was going on around her and the drought. She responds to Elijah by saying: “…I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
  • This widow had come to a point of now hope. I don’t know if anyone had ever mentioned to her about God, or maybe she had given up on God, or had forgotten about God. But she imagined that this would be the last meal for her and her son. But what she did not know that it was not Elijah that was speaking to her it was God through Elijah.
  • Sometimes we get too caught up with everything around us, and sometimes we feel as if God is not aware of our situation, but God has placed a pastor in our local church to be that voice, God has given the church leadership to serve the members. But the most important thing is that we not forget that God is still on the throne and can provide for us and for the Church of God in her time of greatest need.
  • There are many today like this widow out there in the world experiencing a spiritual drought in their lives, in their churches. Many today say “I rather not go to church and stay home and just have church by myself” because of the lack of power of God that is being experienced today in Christianity.
  • Many have formed committees in these last hours asking God for revival, asking God for a great awakening, not only in America, but in Europe and all over the world. True Christian unity has been replaced today by an Ecumenical movement which promotes a false unity and love.
  • The power of the Holy Ghost today has been replaced with emotionalism and intellectualism, saints we are experiencing a spiritual drought in the Christian world.
  • Let us not let this spiritual drought creep into the Church of the living God. The Church of God is the church of the living God, in other words we should not experience spiritual drought, but the rivers of life must be constantly flowing in the church of the living God.

For the widow there was not solution to her problem. She must of thought, “oh well, I might as well gather these sticks and eat and die together with my son.” But God has other plans. Sometimes we have plans, and we seem to have everything under control, but then we see how God begins to change those plans.

My wife and I spent 4 years in pastoral ministry in Florida, and though the results in our physical eyes may have not been what we wanted them to be, God knew why he took us there, and in time we knew exactly why. Not only was it a growing up time for us, but a time to trust God. My wife can be a witness to this, that there were times where I would begin to get sick, and I knew it, and would pray “now God you know I can’t get sick, my wife is pregnant, and no one else will be able to take over and the people need to hear your word, so God heal me” and by the next morning I would be as good as new 100%. You see God knows that He is doing and He knew why he had sent the prophet to this poor widows home.

VERSES 13-14

  1. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
  2. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.
  • Any person would think, what kind of a man of God is this to asks this poor widow to make him a cake first and then to her and her son. But there was a lesson behind this.
  • In Verse 14 we see the supernatural take place. God speaks through Elijah, and says “…The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.”
  • God has promised that they would have enough food to feed them until the day of the Lord.
  • Has not God promised the Church of God, that she would have enough food to feed the children until the day of the Lord?
  • Did not Paul tell us to “feed the Church of God”
  • God would do the impossible in the eyes of this widow. All she had to do was believe in the words of God through the prophet.

VERSES 15-16

  1. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
  2. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.
  • The Bible tells us the widow did according to the saying of Elijah and she and her and her house did eat many days.
  • You see when the Church of God does things according to the plan of God there is no way we can fail God. Many can fail him, but she must stick to the Word of God.
  • I believe if the widow would have done her own thing, if she would have added to those words, or taken away from them, then she would not be receiving the blessings of God.
  • Today we have many wanting to do their own thing, and the result as we all know it is the world of denominationalism, something that is brought upon by the enemy of God.
  • But the Church of God must be like this widow that though we are in the midst of a world of spiritual drought, the food in the house of God must never run out.
  • Not only did she feed her son, but also the prophet and she eat of it. In other words she also reaped the benefits and her house too.
  • The Church of God will reap the benefits of God’s blessings when we say “not my will” but “thy will be done.”
  • I imagine today in a world of spiritual drought there will be those asking their way to Zion, their way to a place filled with food and water to sustain them until the day of the Lord.
  • Has God changed? Is He still the same? Can He not do this for The Church of God today?

VERSES 17-18

  1. And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.
  2. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?
  • After experiencing the blessings of God, the widow is found in this situation.
  • Doesn’t that sound like many of us? After we come back from a general assembly, or after we have received a great blessing during Sunday service, the enemy is always there ready to rob us of our blessing.
  • The widow’s son gets sick and then dies.
  • The faith of the widow again is tested when she tells Elijah “What have I to do with the, O thou man of God? In other words, I have done everything you have asked and still I have to pay with the death of my son.
  • How many times have we said, God I did everything you asked of me and now this.

VERSES 19-21

  1. And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.
  2. And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?
  3. And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.
  • We even see that the faith of good Elijah was being refined and tested when he tells the Lord “O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?” In other words, why have you done this?
  • It would behoove us to wonder why Elijah acted this way, when he had already experienced before the blessings of God in his life.
  • Verse 21 says: that he began to pray for the child, that he would let him live.

CONCLUSION

VERSES 22-24

  1. And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
  2. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.
  3. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.
  • Many of us today may think that we may not be able to reach this world, that like this child was dead, many today walk amongst us dead spiritually.
  • But God has given the Church of God all the resources necessary to win this world for Christ and His Church.
  • But God wants us to know that the Church of God is a blessing to this world. All we need to exercise the faith that he has given us to do the work ahead of us.
  • In verse 24 the widow says, “Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth”
  • Many may not understand God’s program in these last hours, but a time is coming where they will clearly see that God is in the midst of his program and is well aware of what she needs in order to conquer this world.

image credit: HERE

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