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By Andrew Wommack
Who did this man think he was? What gave him such authority, confidence and boldness? The answer is that he had a word from God. That's what put him in control. Any person with a true revelation from God has the authority to be in control if they will just exercise their authority. Elijah had the courage to step out in the supernatural because he had heard from God and believed what God told him.
Each true believer has a revelation from God. If nothing else, we have heard the truth about salvation and believed it. If we would be bold and share that truth with others, we would witness the miracle of the new birth in the lives of people all around us. We must place a high value on the revelations we have and boldly speak forth the truth.
If Elijah hadn't been bold enough to speak the word that God had given him, then when the drought occurred, Ahab wouldn't have associated it with a judgment from God. It would have been easy to dismiss it as just one of those things that happens. Since Elijah prophesied the drought before it came to pass, there was no doubt that God was the author of this drought and that Elijah was the instrument He used to bring it to pass. Elijah's willingness to risk everything for what God had shown him was one of the key elements that propelled him into leadership in Israel.
The Lord has a perfect plan for each one of us. As Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." God has a plan, and He is faithful to reveal that plan to all who seek Him, but more often than not, we play it too safe. We have dreams and goals from God, but we are afraid to make more than token steps toward them because of what it may cost us. The faint-hearted never become anyone's hero. It's risky to do what God lays on your heart.
God knew that Elijah's obedience to Him put Elijah's life in jeopardy, so in verses 2-4, God spoke to Elijah again. He said, "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."
Being obedient to God puts us in a position to receive His supernatural supply (Is. 1:19). One of the reasons so few people experience supernatural provision is because they aren't doing what God has told them to do. There is no need for God to supply our needs when we aren't doing anything that requires more than what we can produce.
Each year we take mission trips with our Bible College students, and they preach, teach, and pray with people at the altars. Invariably, they give testimonies about how they have never experienced God using them like that before, and I always try to make the point that most of them have never let themselves be put in a situation where God had to come through for them.
We don't experience divine intervention until we get out on a limb — that's where the fruit grows. Most of us are hugging the trunk. We're afraid to get out there on the limb because we don't like swaying in the breeze. We want the stability of the trunk. To be fruitful, we have to let go of our security blankets and take a leap of faith. Too few people are willing to do that.
One of the great lessons to learn from Elijah's life is that God didn't send Elijah's provision directly to him; He sent the provision to where He told Elijah to go. In verse 4, God said he had commanded the ravens to feed him "THERE". "THERE" was beside the brook Cherith. If he would have stayed where he was, he may have starved, not because God wasn't faithful to provide, but because he wasn't "THERE". The ravens were already in transit with Elijah's first meal when the Lord spoke to him. Verse four says, "I HAVE commanded" (emphasis mine). The bread and meat would have been deposited at the brook Cherith regardless of whether Elijah appeared. Unless Elijah obeyed, he wouldn't have benefited from God's faithfulness and provision.
How do you think Elijah knew the exact place to hide along the brook Cherith? What if he had chosen one place and the Lord had the ravens deliver the food to another place? It is most probable that when Elijah got to the brook Cherith, he found the bread and meat waiting for him. That's how he knew he was in the right place.
I'm convinced that the great love that God has for us always causes Him to supply all our needs. It's obvious that we don't always receive those provisions, not because God isn't faithful to give, but because we aren't all "THERE". There is a place called "THERE" for all of us, where we act in obedience to what the Lord has called us to do. That's where God's supernatural supply is. The supply is always "THERE", whether we are or not.
In the area of financial prosperity, God has told all of us to give and then it shall be given unto us (Luke 6:38). Until we give, we aren't "THERE". Many Christians are asking for God's help in their finances. He always gives it, but His supply is "THERE", in the faith that it takes to give first and then receive. If we don't give, we won't receive. This is not because God hasn't made provision but because we aren't willing to go to that place called "THERE", where we trust God with our finances.
That place called "THERE" isn't a static place either. God's way of providing for Elijah changed. In verse 7, the Scriptures say that the brook dried up because of the drought. That in itself didn't mean that it was time for Elijah to move. The ravens were still bringing the bread and meat each day, but Elijah needed water too. Notice that Elijah didn't do anything until the word of the Lord came to him again in verse 8. We must keep doing what the Lord last commanded us to do until new instructions come, regardless of our circumstances.
Sometimes we think we have no choice but to move, even if we haven't heard a word from God. After all, didn't Elijah have to leave when the brook dried up? No, he didn't. God had already brought water out of a rock for Moses and all the nation of Israel (Ex. 17:6). God had quenched Samson's thirst by making water come out of the jawbone of an ass (Judg. 15:14-19). God could have given Elijah a supernatural provision of water. Circumstances may have caused Elijah to look for an answer, but he didn't move until the word of the Lord came to him.
"And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee." (1 Kin. 17:8-9)
The word "THERE" is mentioned twice in verse 9. God wanted Elijah to minister to a widow, so He moved Elijah's "THERE" to where the widow woman was. Elijah didn't go "THERE" for himself. He went "THERE" for the widow. Jesus spoke of this woman in Luke 4:25-26 and said that Elijah was specifically sent to this widow.
The woman also had to be in the right place at the right time to receive her miracle. Verse 10 says, "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." She could have been at home complaining. She could have said "What's the use; we're going to die," but she didn't. She was "THERE", gathering sticks to prepare and eat her last meal. She was doing what she could.
Gathering sticks doesn't sound very important, but if she had been sitting at home in depression, she wouldn't have encountered Elijah and her miracle. Miracles don't come to those who are withdrawn and sulking. We need to use whatever faith we have, even if it is small. This woman was "THERE", doing what she could.
This woman's response to Elijah's first question gives us some insight into her character. He asked her for a drink of water, and she went to get it for him. How many of us would let a stranger impose on us for a drink of water on a good day? This wasn't a good day for this widow. This looked like it was going to be this woman's and her son's last day on earth, and she was still willing to do for others what she could. This woman was a giver. No doubt, that is partly why the Lord chose her over all the other widows who needed help in this drought.
Then Elijah asked her for something to eat. She was going to get the water for Elijah without a word of complaint. No doubt, she thought about the dire straits she was in, but she didn't voice it. When Elijah asked for all that stood between her and death, she said something. Jesus said Elijah was sent to this woman (Luke 4:25). She wasn't just picked at random. She had been believing God for a miracle. Could this be the way God was going to supply? She needed to be sure. She informed Elijah that this was all the food she had for her and her son and Elijah gave her a word from God.
It's one thing to get a word directly from God, but it's another thing to receive that word through a person, even if they are a minister, or sometimes, especially if they are a minister. There is always the possibility of self-serving being on the part of the person delivering the word which makes it suspect. It actually takes more faith to hear from God through another person than to receive the word yourself.
Elijah's word was definitely suspect. He wanted to take this little widow woman's last bite of food. She was starving to death, and Elijah told her to fix something for him first. What! I can see the headlines in the Tyre and Sidon Gazette now: "Prophet asks for starving widow's last morsel of food!" But Elijah wasn't asking for himself. Elijah could have eaten at the local restaurant. He could have stayed in the best hotel. He wasn't asking this for himself but for the woman. This woman needed to let go of the trunk and get out on the limb of faith. Her trunk was the last little bit of food she had. Her limb of faith was believing the word of God through the prophet, that her food would be multiplied. She "went and did " (verse 15) just as Elijah "went and did" what God told him to do (verse 5).
The results of her faith were that she, her son, and Elijah ate of that food for nearly three years. The meal and the oil didn't multiply all at once to produce a three-year supply, but every morning, there was just a tiny bit of oil and meal left in the vessels. Each day this woman acted in faith to make a cake first for Elijah, and then she would fix a cake for herself and her son.
This was a great miracle, but most of us wouldn't have liked it. We don't want to receive our provision on a daily basis. We want to believe God for a windfall so we can put the extra in the bank and feel secure, but God told us to pray for our daily bread (Matt. 6:11). The just have to live by faith — they don't just visit there on occasion. It needs to be a daily walk.
The benefits of this woman believing God and His prophet went far beyond just food. Her son later died, and she placed a demand on Elijah to do something. Elijah raised her son from the dead. This had never happened before. This was a greater miracle than the oil and meal being multiplied, but none of it would have happened if this woman would not have been willing to take a chance and believe God.
I have a three-part album available that not only covers the things we've talked about in this article but contains other great lessons from Elijah's life. Elijah called fire down from heaven and caused a great revival in the nation of Israel. Yet in just a matter of hours, Elijah was so depressed that he was asking God to kill him. In this series, I talk about why many times our greatest victories are followed by our greatest failures.
In 1 Kings, chapter 19, God told Elijah to do three things; however, Elijah only did one of those three things yet was a man who didn't die but was taken up into heaven by God in a whirlwind. There are some wonderful lessons to learn about how the Lord has never had anyone qualified working for Him yet.
Please order your copy of this three-part album entitled Lessons from Elijah. They will help you get "THERE".