“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
Elijah turned the tide in his nation though he was only one person with limited resources. The widow made a difference by making her last cake for God’s man and not for herself. God puts unique service on the hearts of His people and blesses that obedience as they submit to His sovereign will.
Often, God’s strategies make no sense to us because, unlike Him, we have limited vision. When God took Elijah into the heart of enemy territory, God knew that was the last place King Ahab’s soldiers would look for him. God also knew that going to Zarephath would save Elijah from starvation though common sense said there was famine. More importantly, God showed Elijah that He cared about the Baal-worshiping widow and her family.
God often has multiple objectives as He operates on many fronts simultaneously. If we follow His lead, we will be blessed and may become instruments of blessing for others.
Has God ever prompted you to do something that made no sense at the time but that was His sovereign will? Is God asking you now to move out of your comfort zone with people, your career, or your finances? Is He moving your heart to explore new territory in ministry or in your relationship with Him?
Prayer: God, Your strategies often make me uncomfortable and confused, but I will obey Your calling because I know that You can see what I can’t. I trust that You will bless me and use me to bless others as I obey You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
In 1 Kings 18, we see that Israel was at a crossroads. They had lost their awe of God. To them, He was a million miles away. They still claimed to follow Jehovah, but He was no longer a part of their daily lives. God knew that only a vivid reminder of His power would awaken these people from their spiritual sleep. So God used Elijah to bring about a turning point in their lives. With the odds stacked against him—one man standing against hundreds of pagan leaders—Elijah showed the strength of God.
In 1 Kings 18:22-39, the people watched a strange competition. Two bull sacrifices on two separate piles of firewood. Who would be able to supernaturally light the fire—Baal or God? Elijah, in full confidence of God’s faithfulness, watched as the 850 pagan prophets tried to arouse their false god from his slumber. For hours and hours, the pagans danced around the altar, cried out to Baal, and even cut themselves with swords.
Then Elijah stepped forward. Elijah looked at God’s altar, which had been neglected by the people, and carefully repaired it with 12 stones, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Then he drenched the firewood with water to show that what was about to happen would be a miracle from God and not a trick on his part. As God set that wood ablaze, the people of Israel finally came to their senses. “When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!'” (1 Kings 18:39).
We have the resurrection power of Jesus Christ to build a fire within us, to cleanse and purify us. When we face a crossroads in our spiritual walk, we can always turn to God for the right direction.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Elijah’s courage to stand up against the pagan leaders. I pray that You would help me to make the right choice when faced with a crossroads. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12).
There is a cycle often seen in the lives of God’s people. Just as the brook dried up at the Kerith Ravine and ended that tranquil time, the season of plenty at Zarephath came to an abrupt end for Elijah. Tragically, the widow’s son died, provoking her anger toward God and Elijah (see 1 Kings 17:17-24).
The cycle of blessing followed by a blasting is not unusual for God’s people. Often a great triumph is accompanied by a great trial. I experienced this in 1987 when we established our church. God blessed us in every way a church can be blessed. Twenty-eight people attended the first meeting in a hotel room; the number increased to sixty the next week, and devoted believers continued to pour in. I was meeting with people morning, noon, and night, running to keep up with the phenomenal growth.
But in 1989, I became seriously ill with double pneumonia. All I could do was lie on my back. God was hiding me as He did Elijah and putting me in a place to be quiet and listen. He taught me I could only minister to others if I would first minister to Him. He taught me I could do nothing in my own strength but everything in His.
God will bring blessings out of the blastings every time if we will listen to His voice.
Prayer: God, thank You for the reminder today that You have blessings for me even during difficult times. Help me to look for the blessings today. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.