In 1 Kings 17:17-24, a further piece of a strange puzzle becomes clear for Elijah, even though for the widow with whom he was staying, this puzzle piece must have been quite a puzzle. After keeping Elijah and the widow and her son alive through God’s miraculous provision, the widow’s son suddenly died. This drove the woman to grief and to blame the Lord God of Israel that this was a form of punishment ‘for her sins’. However, this was not the case, and the miracle of the resurrection of her son (the first in the Bible) once more would prove God’s ways to be right and his servant a true man of God.
So far into his important ministry of declaring God’s Word to King Ahab of Israel, Elijah may be forgiven for wondering (if he ever did) what God had in mind – for no sooner had he appeared before the face of King Ahab, just as soon – the Lord directed him to disappear to a remote place. There, by the brook, fed by ravens, Elijah may well have also been surprised to find that his next place to stay would be with a widow and her son in Jezebel’s country! But there, as 1 Kings 17:8-16 tells us, God had plans for His prophet and there was a good reason for it all (as we may always expect with God!).
After bursting onto centre stage to stand for a moment or two under the spotlight, Elijah had announced his one line to the king (about there being no more rain) and then just as quickly as he had come in, he exited stage right. 1 Kings 17:2-7 continue the story of where the Lord sent his prophet so that he too might survive the drought, there by a brook fed by ravens. The story is one of survival, but more than that. God was also teaching his prophet a lesson – one that we also might learn, because every circumstance, yes, even our survival is all dependent upon Him!
There have been many people who have shot to fame (and so to the limelight) out of obscurity. In the Scriptures, Elijah the prophet is one such man. Not much is known about Elijah’s past except to say that he was from the town of Tishbe. Not much is known about his calling to be a prophet, but according to 1 Kings 16:29-17:1, we do know that his call to be a prophet brought him into the presence of Ahab, king of Israel. He could do that, of course, because Elijah knew how to stand before Israel’s true King.
This morning we posted the news (in good faith) that with the easing of restrictions coming in on Monday June 22, we would be returning to worship on July 5. However, the Vic Government has just now delayed the easing of those restrictions until a further announcement to be made on July 12.
So….no, we won’t be meeting on July 5 after all….but keep your eye on this space for further updates.
The life of the Apostle Paul was full of trial. At the time of his conversion, the Lord said of him, ‘I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name’ (Acts 9:16). Reading through the book of Acts and any of his letters will bring those trials to mind – beatings, shipwreck, imprisonment, hatred, scorn and threats against his life – all of these were part of Paul’s experience. But there was another aspect of Paul’s life that he wrote about in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10… his ‘thorn’. The passage is helpful, for Paul was not the only one to have a ‘thorn’, and if you have one, then you will want to know how Paul dealt with it!
In the Scriptures, perhaps it is the character of Job who gets the title of ‘the saint in the tightest of spots.’ His story is well-known and told to us in the book that bears his name. It’s a long read but worthwhile, especially Job 1:1-2:10. In these verses, the mystery of why Job suffered what he did is unfolded for us as we are told things that happened behind the scenes, behind the heavenly curtain, giving us an rare insight into the mystery of the trials that God allows – which are for our good and for His glory. Let Job’s story give you reason to ‘give thanks in all things’ – like the Scriptures teach us to do.
There are times when the need to pray becomes all the more urgent and important. The Scriptures also record for us the many examples of those who found relief by calling upon God in a moment of danger or trial. King Jehoshaphat was one of these. His prayer recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 stands out in Scripture as a prayer of great integrity and urgency, one that God, in His grace, chose to answer, encouraging us to seek after Him and so bring ‘everything to God in prayer’.
The story of the three Hebrew men standing firm in the face of the fury of the King Nebuchadnezzar and his infamously hot furnace, has long been a Sunday School favourite. Yet the story is far from one that belongs to the children alone. Daniel 3:1-30 tells of courage, bravery and obedience – all in the face of great trial and remains something that urges God’s people along today on our walk with the Lord in this world.
The book of Esther, as the name suggests, tells the story of the Jewess Esther who became Queen of a mighty kingdom by virtue of being married to its King. Although the book never once mentions God, His fingerprints are all over it – especially in the decisive moment when Esther was faced with a choice of having her own people (the Jews) perish or facing that risk herself by entering unannounced into the presence of the King). The book is remembered for her words, ‘If I perish, I perish’, but it does more for us that relate a climactic story. It points ultimately to the One who chose to perish for His people – even Jesus our Lord.