Then the word of the LORD came to him: "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." (1 Kings 17:9)
Faith life can be exciting and intriguing at times. Earlier God had directed Elijah to the Kerith Ravine and told that he would be fed by ravens; the water from the brook there would quench his thirst. The quencher (brook) finally got quenched and God gave him new directions of which we read in the title verses.
Interestingly God didn't specify which widow in Zarepath he was to meet. The address was not complete yet Elijah went nevertheless in unquestioning obedience. And the Bible says,
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?" (1 Kings 17:10)
Jesus once said,
I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. (Luke 4:25, 26)
It was not just coincidence that Elijah had come to the right address, God had guided his steps. Yes, God does that for his children. The Bible says,
Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. (Psalm 25:12)
Elijah first asked the widow for a drink and then for a piece of bread. A drink of water she could afford to give, but the bread was the last one she could make from what flour and oil she had left so that she and her son could have a last meal together before they died.
Then came the prophesy and promise from God that changed her life.
Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake 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 gives rain on the land." (1 Kings 17:13,14)
She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and 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. (1 Kings 17:15, 16)
When there is famine in the land, God will feed his children. He is faithful. Hope in him. The God of Elijah is your God too. The God who did a great miracle in the home of the widow of Zarepath is your God too. Trust in him. Praise the Lord.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice. (Isaiah 42:3)
The Old Testament saint Job yearned to die while undergoing bodily and mental torture at the hands of satan, but he couldn't and wouldn't die because God had already planned to bless him after the period of suffering. Job couldn't stand the torture anymore and complained bitterly. Everyday that he lived was agony personified. His friends accused him, his body was sore and his mind was in utter confusion.He wanted to argue with God regarding his condition but couldn't find him amidst his chaos.
He accused God of many things.
"If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas - no wonder my words have been impetuous. The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God's terrors are marshaled against me. (Job 6:2-4)
He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. (Job 23:14)
His threshold of bearing insults and sufferings were reaching it's zenith. And when he thought the torture saga would never end, suddenly everything changed. Was it a dream? Was he seeing visions? No it was reality. His health, his friends, his family, his livestock and a lot more just came back to him in a new way. It just happened. The Lord Almighty opened a new chapter in his life, a chapter that lasted 140 years. He saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.
And the Bible ends his story by saying,
And so he died, old and full of years. (Job 42:17)
There's hope for you and me...because (as Job said amidst his sufferings).... My Redeemer lives.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:20,21)
I like the part of the above verse which says, "power that enables him to bring everything under his control."
Power and Control are 2 inseparable words. People often have a feeling that the amount of power a person has is directly proportional to the control that person can exert. Of course in human terms there are limitations. But the above verses say that Jesus has the power to bring everything under his control. That means he is All Powerful. No wonder he is called the King Of Kings and Lord Of Lords.
And when we entrust our life with it's problems to Jesus who is All Powerful, we can have peace and joy at all times. That doesn't mean we won't feel hurt or we won't grieve, but it means that we will have peace and joy that is able to overcome the hurts and griefs.
That peace and joy comes from Jesus. He says,
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
In Psalms 121, the psalmist exudes confidence regarding his faith in the All Powerul God. He says,
I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you - the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:1-8)
Nice psalm to read aloud. Give it a try. It'll boost your faith. Remember, you serve an All Powerful God. Everything is under his control.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22,23)
Sometimes believer's tend to think that it's because of their faithfulness that the Lord is blessing them. In one way, this may account for several blessings but if we realize the utter helplessness of man without God, we would be able to affirm what Jeremiah says in the verses given above.
It's God's love for us that keeps us going amidst life's uncertainities. If you are the only one in your family who has acknowledged salvation through Jesus, how great a responsibility lies on your shoulders. It's like you holding an umbrella in incessant rain and all your family members are sheltered under this umbrella that you hold. In such a situation, it's your prayers that are so very important for the others. Your pleading for them to acknowledge Christ may fall on deaf ears yet they may be escaping from dangerous situations in their lives because of your prayers. They may never realize that or realizing they may ignore it. And the futility of it all can make one despair.
Jeremiah understood life's vagaries firsthand and thus strengthened himself while lamenting for Israel. His prophesies fell on deaf ears and he was often frustrated by the hatred and torture that he had to face.
When Jerusalem was destroyed and the people went into exile, the prophet lamented the downfall and penned his thoughts in this book called Lamentations.
Yet he found solace when he thought of the Lord's faithfulness amidst all these calamities and thus he writes,
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22,23)
May the Holy Spirit help us to meditate on the faithfulness of God and be strengthened amidst situations in our lives where things don't seem to be progressing as we wish it had. Remember, his compassions never fail, they are new every morning. God bless.
Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." (John 1:50, 51)
Nathanael is promised here by Jesus that he was going to witness greater miracles than what he now thought was a miracle. He was astounded at the comments Jesus made regarding him although it was the first time that they were meeting.
....."Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." (John 1:47)
....."I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." (John 1:48)
Jesus was telling him that he was going to witness greater things after becoming a disciple. Jesus also promises him here that he was going to witness the resurrection and the ministry of angels to Jesus.
Many people come to Christ after they witness a miracle from the Lord in their lives. It may be a small miracle or a great one that brings about a life changing experience. The promise given to Nathanael was fulfilled as he witnessed miracle after miracle being done by Jesus and he was witness to the resurrection too as were the other 10 disciples.
The writer of Hebrews says,
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
As we keep trusting the Lord amidst the numerous troubles in our lives, we can see the Lord doing greater miracles than what we witnessed before. As our faith in the Lord increases we can see the Lord's miraculous deliverances in our lives.
The Bible says,
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Dr.Johnson Cherian M.D.PhD.
All my literature & art work are free for non-commercial use on blogs/webpages.
Main Website: http://jesuschrist.co.in
Main Blog: http://bless2009.com
E-Mail Me: email@example.com
The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:22)
"No one will be condemned who takes refuge in him."
A similar promise is found in Romans Ch.8. It says,
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1, 2)
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Isn't that wonderful?
Are you in Christ Jesus?
Do you feel that you are being condemned by people? Or is the devil using people to condemn you? Don't fall for that trick. Stand firm, rooted in the Word of God.
The Bible says,
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Romans 8:33, 34)
The Bible also exhorts us saying,
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31, 32)
Are people belitteling the salvation that you have through Jesus Christ? Satan is jealous of the honor that you have in the presence of God as his child. He was jealous of the blessings that God bestowed upon Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. That's why he plotted against them and made them fall.
God has given you the Holy Spirit who will guide you in all the truth. Be led by the Spirit of God each day. That alone will keep you victorious against your enemy, the devil.
Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16)
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)
David, the psalmist was quite convinced about what he had tasted. He had tasted the goodness of the Lord and is exhorting others to do the same. He sang this song after he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away.
He had tasted that the Lord was good regarding two major matters which he details:
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. (Psalm 34:6)
Deliverance from fears and troubles.
That's what we all desire in our lives. And regarding this most of us have tasted that the Lord is good. Time and again we have seen the faithfulness of the Lord come true regarding several issues.
This was not the last time that David had to go through problematic situations. Far from it.
Yet he found that his continual trust in the Lord Almighty brought him into a state of blessedness. That's why he says,
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
You and me, we can (some have) repeatedly taste and see that the Lord is good; amidst worries, sicknesses, financial crisis, failures, back-slidings and a whole lot of imaginable and unimaginable situations.
The verse that lies sandwiched between the 2 deliverance verses (34:4,6) is an affirmation of David's faith in God Almighty. He says,
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. (Psalm 34:5)
I guess we too can say that with him. Praise the Lord!
You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall and like the heat of the desert. You silence the uproar of foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled. (Isaiah 25:4, 5)
Notice the part of verse 4 which says- For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall and like the heat of the desert.
The psalmist cried out in despair:
Help, LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. (Psalm 12:1, 2)
We are hurt the most when people speak sweetly when we are face to face with them and then when our backs are turned, they stab us with their words and actions. And sometimes this is done by people whom we have loved from our hearts.
David once made a complain regarding this to the Lord:
They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother. But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; attackers gathered against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing.
Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked ; they gnashed their teeth at me. O Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. (Psalm 35:12-17)
Sadly this is true in the life of many a believer.
But then the promise says,
God is a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.
Yes, the Lord is mighty to calm the storms of your life. He loves you and he will still the storms that ravage your life. Remember his promise,
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)
Another wonderful promise from the book of Isaiah. The Israelites were not literally blind yet their living demonstrated their blindness. Here God promises them to lead them by ways they have not known. But why does God want to lead them by ways they have not known?
Long back God answered this question through Moses when he lead the Israelites through the wilderness to Canaan. He said,
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:2,3)
The Lord again warned them through Moses,
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Deuteronomy 8:10-14)
Sadly, people tend to forget the Lord after they get what they desire through prayer. There are others on whom the Lord has shown mercy countless times, yet they never thank him or even acknowledge him. But that should not be our attitude. The Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of worship because he paid the price for our sins and unrighteousness on the cross. He purchased eternal salvation for us and thus he is worthy of praise.
As the Bible says,
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Revelation 5:12)
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”(Jeremiah 1:5)
So many things happened without Jeremiah even realizing it. He was known by God before he was formed in the womb, he was set apart by God before he was born and he was appointed by God as a prophet to the nations.
Jeremiah was one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Here the Lord was calling him to begin his prophetic ministry to the Israelites. He replied to the call in this manner: "Ah, Sovereign LORD," "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." (Jeremiah 1:6)
There's always a tendency for us to judge us by ourselves. How good we are or how capable we are. Jeremiah did not know what the Lord actually wanted of him, so he replied in that manner. But we must remember that when God calls one to the ministry to do his work of proclaiming the Gospel, he is the one who equips us for the task.
Thus the Lord replied,
"Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant." (Jeremiah 1:7-10)
Jeremiah prophesied to the Israelites at a stage when they were living in rebellion to the Lord. He prophesied judgement and destruction and deportation. He was not popular because people did not want to hear about impending judgement and destruction. That's why he had to suffer at the hands of his fellow men. Yet he was faithful to the Lord who had called him to the prophetic ministry.
God expects us to be faithful to his call and do the work that he has entrusted us with. Whether people listen to us or not is not the issue we have to be unduly worried about. It's whether we are faithful.
When God called another priest Ezekiel to the prophetic ministry, he told him one thing very clearly:
You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. (Ezekiel 2:7)
Let us then, who have been called by him to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ be faithful to him. God bless.