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By Andrew Wommack
Many of you probably know the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. I’d like to point out something in this story that you may’ve missed. It’s a key to fulfilling God’s will for your life.
The story begins in 1 Kings 17, where Elijah delivered a prophetic word from the Lord to King Ahab.
“Elijah…said unto Ahab…there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Kin. 17:1).
Elijah heard from God, and he obeyed His word by telling Ahab that a drought was coming. This was risky because Ahab had outlawed worshiping God and was out to kill all of His prophets. From the natural point of view, this was not a smart move for Elijah.
Elijah could very easily have rationalized this away and just stayed in his prayer closet to pray for the drought to come. But he didn’t, and because of that, he became the most powerful man in the nation. When the drought came, proving his words true, it gave him the clout to tell the king what he should do, and the king proceeded to do it (1 Kin. 17:17-20).
That one step of obedience, as illogical as it looked in the natural, started him on the path to fulfilling God’s will. This is where so many Christians miss it. They discover God’s will for their lives by seeking Him and leaning not on their own understanding (Prov. 3:5). Then, when God gives them specific steps, they come up with a million excuses why they can’t do it.
I see this over and over again with prospective Bible college students. So many have told me that they know God wanted them to come to our college years ago, but for whatever reason—parents, children, pets, you name it—they didn’t come. The truth is, if you wait for everything in your life to line up perfectly before you obey God, you never will.
After Elijah told Ahab about the drought, God spoke to Elijah again:
“Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there” (1 Kin. 17:2-4).
God told Elijah exactly what to do, and then He told him where to find His provision. But notice, this word of provision didn’t come—couldn’t come—until Elijah obeyed God’s first word. So many times, we want God to lay out His whole plan for our lives, but He doesn’t operate that way. Why should He give us step number ten when we haven’t obeyed steps one through nine?
Elijah had to take a step of faith and obey this word from God. He had to totally trust that God was going to come through for him. You can’t allow fear and doubt to keep you from fulfilling God’s will for your life.
If God has told you to do something, don’t try to figure out how it will work or where the provision will come from. God told Elijah to go and that He would provide for him when he got there. (I have a teaching on this, called “A Place Called There.”) Elijah had to act in faith and go to the brook if he wanted to see God’s provision.
It’s like football. Good quarterbacks don’t throw the ball directly at the receivers; they throw it ahead, where the receivers are supposed to be when the ball reaches them. God won’t send our provision until we move and act on His word. He’ll send His provision where He told us and expects us to go. We may want to wait until we have the provision in hand before we obey God, but God says, “Obey Me, and the provision will be there.”
We see in 1 Kings 17:5 that Elijah again obeyed God:
“So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith.”
And, as before, once he obeyed, God showed him the next step:
“Arise, get thee to Zarephath…I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee” (1 Kin. 17:9).
This was Elijah’s next place called there. It was also the widow’s place called there. She, too, had to step out in faith and obey God’s word through the prophet in order to see His provision. Because she and Elijah both obeyed, she received supernatural provision, her son was raised from the dead, and a revival broke out (1 Kin. 17:10-18:39).
You’ll miss a lot if you don’t obey God. If you want to finish your race strong and do all that God has planned for you, you must obey the steps God gives you. There are no shortcuts!
Now, I want to clarify this by saying that if you don’t obey, God will still love you. You’ll still be His child, you’ll still make it into heaven, and He’ll still use you in His kingdom.
None of us are perfect. There will always be times when we don’t obey and follow perfectly. That does not change God’s grace toward us or His love for us.
What disobedience does, however, is open the door for Satan to kill, steal, destroy, and take advantage of us. Romans 6:16 tells us that whatever we obey will eventually dominate us.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
If we disobey God, we are opening the door for Satan to control us, and we will not be able to completely fulfill what God has called us to do.
“If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land” (Is. 1:19).
In order for us to walk in the fullness of what God has for us—“the good of the land”—we must obey all He tells us to do.
This applies not only to specific instructions He may give but also to general principles found in His Word. For instance, God’s Word has plenty to say about giving.
One such scripture is Proverbs 3:9, which says,
“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.”
To me, it doesn’t get much clearer than that. Yet many people choose to be influenced more by their checkbook balances than the Bible when it comes to giving. If they have extra, they might give to God, but if money’s tight, they’ll ignore what God says and choose to pay for other things they feel are more important. That is a huge mistake. You can’t just willingly ignore God’s Word and expect to fulfill His will.
Other general principles we possibly choose not to obey are forgiving others (Col. 3:13), walking in love (Eph. 5:2), being students of the Word (2 Tim. 2:15), and so forth. God will still love us if we don’t obey, but we’re hindering ourselves and yielding ourselves to the devil by disobeying His Word.
Many of you have something that God has impressed on your hearts to do, and for whatever reason, you just haven’t done it. Stop making excuses and get started! If you don’t know exactly how to do it, pray and ask God to give you wisdom (James 1:5-8).
It’s like steering a ship: You don’t have to go full steam ahead if you’re not exactly sure where you’re headed, but you do have to start moving in some direction before the rudder will take effect. Then the ship can be turned in the right direction. As you begin to move, He’ll give you clearer directions. Remember, faith without works is dead (James 2:20 and 26).