Light Of His Word
The Sermons of Pastor Mike Walls
Freedom Baptist Church
Used By Permission
Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
ELIJAH AND MIRACLES
1 Kings 17:8-24
Introduction: Previously we looked at Elijah, the man of God. What a great example he was for young preachers who faced great opposition. He trusted in God for His strength and vindication of his ministry.
Today we want to look at Elijah and the miracles in his ministry. Elijah did not perform these miracles but God did. In our day there are a great many phonies who say they have a miracle ministry. We are not Jews who require a sign.
Miracles have their place but we are not supposed to be miracle makers but soul winners and real people of God. It is a miracle for God to heal but I am not in the healing business. I have seen the Lord do some miraculous things that no man could take credit for which includes doctors. I believe in divine healing not divine healers. Most of these men and women who claim that they are healers are usually unethical with God’s money and live lives that far exceed those who are under their “ministry”. One of these men flies to a great many places. One layover he had, he stayed in this hotel room that cost over $31,000 a night. Little old widow ladies who send him money don’t have that kind of money in a year. But that is enough about subject. I will be running that rabbit for hours when I should be coon hunt. A coon dog that runs rabbits is not a good dog.
had seven miracles occur in his ministry. I dealt with two of those
in the first message: Elijah- Man of God. I will not be dealing
with the drought or sacrifice consumed by fire or the rain he prayed for.
But there are two miracles that I will be deal with in this message today.
I will deal with others in the second part of this message. There
is too much here to skim the surface.
I. GOD REPLACES 1st Kings 17:8-16
Elijah was camped out on the shore of a brook. It was here God fed him with the ravens bring him food twice a day. Then one day the brook dried up. I don’t know if he waited a day or more but he heads out to the town of Zarephath. This is an interesting choice of places. It was the place where the idols of Baal were made. This put him in the middle of the territory that Jezebel’s father lived. This is a good picture of hiding out in the open.
What did Elijah expect when he got to Zarephath? Was he expecting to put in the care of a rich widow lady? We do not know what was on his mind. One of the lessons that we can glean from this is that Elijah was obedient. How do I know this? Besides what we read here, there is some other information that is pertinent to this thought. When the Lord does speak to Elijah, He commands him to go to Zarephath. This is a strange command considering the fact that Zarephath is in a Gentile nation. It is country of Jezebel. It is a land of idolaters. It is a wicked place filled with wicked people. Yet, that is exactly where the Lord sends His prophet! To top it off, to get to Zarephath from Cherith will force Elijah to march over 100 miles through territory ruled over by king Ahab, who is looking for Elijah everywhere. It seems like this command of the Lord makes no sense at all! Of course, one of the reasons for sending Elijah to Zarephath was to vividly illustrate the impotence of Jezebel's wrath and power! He goes through the land that he is the most wanted man of Israel and Jezebel and all her people don’t know and he is not reported for moving through.
Having to go to Zarephath must have been a serious blow to the pride of the prophet. You see, in those days, widows were the poorest of the poor! In times of drought and want, the widows were the first group to die off. Instead of God telling Elijah, "I have a widow over there in Zarephath and I want you to go take care of her." God says, "Elijah, I am sending you to another place of testing where you will have to look to me for all you receive, every day." For Elijah, Zarephath was a place that would live up to its name. The name Zarephath means, "smelting furnace, or refining". It refers to the furnace into which metal is placed so that it can be heated up and have any impurities removed. Cherith was the place where Elijah had been cut off and cut down. Zarephath would be the place where he would be refined. It would be here that the last vestiges of Elijah's pride and self-reliance would be stripped away.
We are not sure what he ate on this trip. We know that there is not a hamburger joint or fish camp anywhere around. Besides this, he is a fugitive from the law so to speak. But God provided for him in some way even though we don’t have the details yet. If we have needed these details, I know they would have been included in our Bibles. When we get home, we will be supplied all the details we desire to know.
He shows up at the gate of Zarephath. Here comes his widow lady. She is gathering sticks for her last meal for her son and herself. This must have been a pitiful sight and story. But Elijah tells her to fix him a meal. How did he identify her as the widow lady? Maybe it was her clothes. We know for certain except the Lord let Elijah know. Her response was not unreasonable but she fed the prophet first. I have a few questions on God’s replaces.
A. Why did the Lord replace the meal and the oil? I have two answers to this question.
1. The widow was obedient. 1st Samuel 15:22
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
God always blesses obedience to His word. He blessed our lives with salvation when we came to Him in simple faith for salvation. He blesses our lives with service for Him when we do the work of God. I have never been lacking for a place to serve the Lord when I am obedient to Him. My biggest problem is finding the right place. Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe God. She obeyed God’s command and the barrel ran out.
2. The Lord delights in showing His might we are at the end of our rope. She and her son would have died if the man of God had not came to town. There was no Social Security benefits or welfare department. She was not some important person that people would have been delighted to make sure she had food. She was basically a nobody. But God delights to take nobodies and show how he can use them.
“And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
B. When did God replace the meal and the oil? He replaced it just as they needed it. Vs. 14-16
“For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.”
It is passages like this that makes you want to sing the Doxology.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
I was thinking as I had pasted those words into this subject of how many churches sang that song today but really don’t understand it. For one thing, it is full of doctrine and secondly they don’t believe it. They basically think that the blessings that they are enjoying is from their hard work or money. But the widow, her son and Elijah believed it and saw God’s good hand here.
C. What lessons can we learn from this?
1. The Lord can and does supply our needs.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
It may always to our liking but He supplies our needs. Sometimes we want steak when all we need is hamburger. When we were living in West Virginia and working as youth directors in our church, God supplied our needs through the generosity of some unlikely sources. A teenage boy brought us fresh rainbow trout. People gave us deer. These were some of the poor folks. But God provided our needs.
2. The Lord wants us to depend upon Him.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
3. The Lord is never in a hurry but never late. The meal barrel and the oil cruse did not have a lot in them. But they were never empty.
4. Little is much when God is in it. That is as true
as anything we can know. God delights in the little things to
show Himself strong. He used David’s little sling to slay the
giant. He used the lad’s little snack to feed the multitude.
He used Moses little staff to bring water out of the rock.
II. GOD RESURRECTS 1st Kings 17:17-24
A. The situation- the child died. Vs. 17
“And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.”
We don’t know what the sickness is but we know that the child died. We don’t know how old the boy was but he did not have a father in his life and Elijah probably took him under his wing. Think of the things he could learn from Elijah. Elijah was a man of prayer. Elijah was man of God. But one day the boy gets sick and dies.
B. The sadness- the mother blamed man of God for the problem but really she was blaming God. Vs. 18
“And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?”
I am not going to stand in judgment of her. She is striking out to the only one she sees and this is the man of God. Here Elijah has been fed many days in her home and here her son dies.
This is the only son this poor widow woman had. Certainly she had pinned all of her hopes for the future on him. No doubt she was looking to the day when he would arrive at manhood and would provide for her upkeep. She probably expected to be with her son for many years to come. However, now her dreams are shattered and she is devastated and grief stricken. Her heart is broken and her world is shattered.
You see, the widow thought she was passing through a storm of correction. She thought God was hurting her. What she failed to see was that she was in a storm of perfection. God was, in fact, helping her!
C. The supplication- Elijah did not try to defend himself or the Lord but simply puts the child in the Lord’s hand. Vs. 19-21
“And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.”
People have a mistaken idea that you pray when all else fails. But Elijah is on praying ground when this happened. He does not spend hours getting right with God in order to pray for this child. He takes the child up to his loft and is immediately in the throne room.
Even though he is confronting death and baseless accusation, Elijah is the picture of calmness. He doesn't get upset and attack back. He doesn't lash out at the widow. He doesn't even defend himself. He merely asks for the widow to give her son to him. Then he takes the boy to his room and places him on his bed.
There are three thoughts that arrest our attention here. We see Elijah's Compassion. Elijah's heart has been touched by the pain this widow is experiencing. He has watched her grow in her faith. He has experienced her generosity. He has enjoyed her hospitality, and his heart is moved at her need. His compassion for this widow and her son is seen in three ways.
1. It is seen In His Prayer. Vs. 20
“And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?”
He petitions the Lord on behalf of the widow. In doing so, the prophet reveals the heart of one who knows God and cares for others. In fact, he is seen actually fulfilling the law of Christ.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
He is bearing the widow's burden in the presence of God.
2. It is seen In His Position. Vs. 21
“And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD”
He humbled himself and stretched his own body on top of the body of this dead child. Elijah knew that Law and he must have known that touching a dead body would defile him.
“He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.”
The point here is that Elijah was willing to humiliate and humble himself to reach out to another. He was willing to suffer lose that they might gain. That is the heart of ministry! Elijah has learned to feel the need of others. That is the essence of Christlike service.
3. It is seen In His Petition. Vs. 21
“O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.”
Elijah asks God to do something that had never been done before! There is absolutely no record of any dead person ever being brought back to life before this day. This is an amazing prayer that Elijah prays! Elijah places everything on the line for the glory of God and for the need of this one woman. He trusts God for the unseen. His heart is moved for her and he trusts the Lord to do something about!
D. The sufficiency- The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer and answered it.
“And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.”
As I mentioned in the last message, I put myself in the scene. I can see Elijah looking at the child and crying when the child took that first breath. I can imagine the old prophet kissing the child and calling for the boys’ mommy. We have a God who can and does answer prayer.
E. The surrender- this widow knew that Elijah was God’s man without a doubt.
“And Elijah took
the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and
delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.
And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man
of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.”
Conclusion: Here are a few lessons for us.
1. The Lord is able. Ephesians 3:20
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”
How can we doubt Him? He was able to bring the children of Israel through the wilderness. He was able to deliver the three Hebrew men from the fiery furnace. He is able to save sinners such as you and I. How can we doubt Him?
2. There is no great joy or duty than to pray.
This is just two of the seven miracles of Elijah. Next time I want to deal with one that is not seen as often. It is the rewarding of God to men who try to hurt the man of God.
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