The Widow of Zarephath: The Leap of Faith

The Widow of Zarephath: The Leap of Faith

Scripture: Philippians 1:6, 1 Kings 17:1-24
Date: 12/11/2010  Lesson: 11
An unnamed widow during Elijah's time demonstrates the "great controversy" in miniature form.

Unwrapping the Pharaohs by John Ashton

Unwrapping the Pharaohs by John Ashton
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to "central study hour" this morning during this wonderful holiday season. A very special welcome to you that are joining us as guests here in our sanctuary, a very special and warm welcome to you that join us every week from across the country and around the world to study with us. We know that you will truly be blessed this morning. Our first hymn this morning we're going to sing is a Christmas carol, hymn 122, "hark! The herald angels sing.

" And this comes as a request from jessica, ariel, kenyon and felicia in australia, carmetta and birdie and ralph in the bahamas, Mark in California, mederick, doreen, reanne and mickkel in england, rey, dinzi and dinarah in florida, conor in Georgia, candy in guyana, Paula and bob in Idaho, anand, ruby, corinne and cheryl in india, dave and stephanie in jamaica, lisette, kelvyn, myriam, janice and aurelie in mauritius, joyce in Michigan, beth in New York, onuwah in nigeria, jamie and jenny in North Carolina, melvert and shirwin in the Philippines, abel in puerto rico, joyce in saint lucia, herman, eve and dina in saudi arabia, tito, alma and jenny in South Dakota, ruby, rholyn, peace, yet, subin and annabella in south korea and robert in Virginia. Hymn number 122, "hark! The herald angels sing." [Music] If you have a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at saccentral.org, and there you can click on the "contact us" link. Any hymn in our hymnal that you would like to sing on a coming Sabbath, we'd love to sing that with you. Also, if you are interested in more Christmas music and enjoying the time of the season, we invite you to go to saccentral--is it saccentral.org--and you can live stream our Christmas program this evening, December 11. And you can watch that live and celebrate Christ's birth with us.

So invite you-- oh, it's at 6:00 p.m. Thank you, debbie. At 6:00 p.m. Pacific standard time you can join us. Our next hymn of praise for this Christmas season is "o come, o come emmanuel," hymn number 115.

And we will sing all three stanzas. And this comes as a request from cassandra in Alabama, cody in australia, fernando in brazil, aleah, rodney and heather in California, dawn and patrick in Canada, dave and stephanie in jamaica, rose in Kansas, hervin in Louisiana, jean, walter, howard and dian in Mississippi, bakari in Missouri, lee-ann and jonathan in New York, and abel in puerto rico, hymn 115, "o come, o come, immanuel." [Music] Let's bow our heads. Our Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for Jesus. We thank you that you created us, and you walked with us. You sent Jesus to walk on this earth to save us, to show us how we can live through your power.

And we are looking forward again to the day, Lord, when we will walk with you again, when we will be redeemed to live forever. We're looking forward to that day. And until that day comes, Lord, just keep us faithful. So be with Pastor Doug today as he brings us Your Words of life. And Lord, just help us to take them to heart, to believe them, to instill them in our lives that we can share this good news with others, especially during this holiday season when we have a little more of an opportunity.

Help us to just show your love, your compassion and your mercy that you have given us and that we can give to others. So Lord, just be with us. We just thank you for this Sabbath day. And we pray these things in your precious name, Jesus. Amen.

Our lesson study will be brought to us this morning by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. Thank you to our musicians. We appreciate that. It's fun to start singing the holiday songs. They bring back a lot of memories and some beautiful, classic melodies in there.

I want to welcome all of our friends, welcome our members who are worshipping and studying with us today at Sacramento central. I want to welcome our visitors that may be here today. We always have a few. Welcome to our friends who are watching, streaming on the internet right now, or you're watching on tv. I want to welcome the extended members of Sacramento central, as you've heard us say before.

We have some members, and it's a growing number from all over the world. And this is their church, 'cause there is no local church that they can go to. But through the miracle of either satellite television or through the internet, they've connected as much as possible with this church family. And we're happy to have you. And you know i--i don't know any way to gently segue into this thought, but you know I have a Facebook account.

And I've got about 7,000 friends on Facebook. And there are many more--Facebook has actually capped how many I can add. I can't add any more, but still there's a lot of other people that still contact me that not necessarily added as friends, but about twice a week I get online and I answer Bible questions as well as I can. Please make them short questions, 'cause I type with two fingers. I just want to mention that.

But you know the most common question I get, "is this really you?" People say. Yes, it's me. It's my account. Well, I think one time somebody actually hijacked my account. But most of the time it's me.

And but I say that because I want to welcome all the friends that I've got on Facebook. And I only get on a couple times a week because I'm not one of these people that believes you all want to know when I'm brushing my teeth and that kind of stuff. So I try and have something worth saying when I get on. Anyway, that doesn't have a lot to do with Sabbath school, but I do try and answer Bible questions there and that's why I mentioned it. We are continuing in our study dealing with background characters in the old testament.

Now we're on lesson number 11. We have a free offer. It's talking about Elijah today. And we have a free offer. And it's offer number 161.

It's called, "when the brook dried up." Our lesson today is about when the brook dried up and Elijah went to the woman of zarephath. And so that's offer number 161. We'll send it to you. All you have to do is request it. Call the number on the screen.

And that number is 866- the acronym is "study more," -study-more. Here's the Numbers: -788-3966. And we'll send that to you, help enhance your Bible study along with the lesson today. In lesson 11, we're talking about the widow of zarephath. And it's called, "the leap of faith," "the leap of faith.

" And we have a memory verse. Of course it comes from Kings 17 principally, the story is found there. And we're going to try and go through that whole experience today, 1 Kings 17. Memory verse is Philippians 1:6. I'd be happy to have you say that with me.

Philippians 1:6, and this is from the new king James version. You ready? "Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." I love that passage because it reminds us that the work of sanctification is an ongoing process and that if we are faithful and we stick with the Lord and we continue to grow and follow what God reveals, that he will finish what he started in our lives. the Lord is referred to as, "the author and--" what's the rest? "Finisher of our faith." How many of you have started a project in your life you never finished. By the way, if you're building a house, don't move into it until you're done. Because once you move into it, you're done.

And if that baseboard is not completed yet, it probably never will be. You--temporary things have an amazing way of becoming permanent. And you'll get used to it. We have our home in covelo, and someone told us, "oh, you can move in and finish it while you're there." A friend warned me, if you do you'll never finish it. And you know that baseboard is still not done, 25 years later.

So he is the author and finisher of our faith. If you continue to walk with the Lord, he will finish what he started. Alright, turn in your Bibles, we're dealing with the story found in 1 Kings 17. It's about this famine that came in the days of Elijah. And you've heard about the widow of zarephath, and that's what we're talking about today.

Of course, Elijah goes in to king ahab, and he utters that prophecy and a curse, and said, "there will be no rain these years except at my word." And then he Marches out. And no rain came. And you can read in verse 5, Kings 18:5, "he went and did according to the word of the Lord, and he stayed by the brook cherith, which flows into Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook." So you need some of the bare things you need to stay alive is you need some shelter there by the brook. Now you know, I lived like this for about a year and a half.

I lived by a creek in a cave. And you do get some shelter just by the vegetation. Usually trees grow even in the desert by a creek. And so you have a certain amount of shelter there. There were probably some rocks.

And he was miraculously fed through nature at this point. Now I emphasize that because he's now going to be transitioning from being fed by nature to being fed by a person. And he's in the wilderness and he goes from the wilderness to at least some semi-civilization. He also goes from a meat diet to a vegetarian diet in the next transition. I think that's interesting too.

And so, and you wonder where are these ravens getting the food? And I've got a theory. Can't prove it, but I feel happy to share it with you, 'cause you can't prove me wrong. There wasn't very much food in the land of Israel during this famine. And I think the ravens were taking it from ahab's kitchen. And they were getting the bread.

And do you know that ravens are from the corvid family? They do actually-- they can learn to speak. And these ravens may have learned the name of Elijah. And you know, the King was sending messengers all over the world. And the messenger was saying, you know, "where is Elijah?" Everyone's wondering, "where's Elijah?" And he was even taking an oath of people looking for Elijah. Elijah's by this creek out in the desert there that runs in the Jordan river.

And I just picture those ravens, a couple of them flying in right during ahab's lunch time. And the big banquet table, and they fly in the open window, 'cause you know it's hot and there's a famine. And they land on the table and they go, "where's Elijah?" And then they grab bread and meat off the table and they fly away. And they're--now ravens make very loyal parents. And you wonder why would ravens bring food to this prophet? But raven chicks, you know, when they're first fledging, they just look like black, furry, balls.

And Elijah, it says, was a hairy man. It's what it says. It says he wore a hairy garment. And it might have been black. And he might have had black hair.

And he probably looked like a big chick to them, I don't know. But I'm just trying to figure out why they did this. I mean, you know, you look on the natural side. Now our study hasn't begun yet. This is just some stuff that is background.

So the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat, I'm sure it was clean meat, 'cause that's what he would probably get from ahab's table. And he drank from the brook. And he's just praying and waiting, 'cause God told him to go there, and he's waiting. Now the names of these places. He's getting ready to go to zarephath, they all mean something.

Zarephath means "smelting or refining." It's like a place of refining metal. That can mean a trial. And he's going from the brook of cherith. And cherith means cutting. So he's going from cutting, a place of cutting, to a place of refining, during a famine.

Sometimes it's during these times of famine that God is trying us. Now, Numbers in the Bible mean something. What does the number seven mean? Typically the number seven represents a complete or perfect cycle. Our time is divided into an unending cycle of sevens that go from creation to the present. Right? God began a seven-day week.

All over the world they've had a seven-day week. So seven represents a complete cycle of time. Another time period that you find often appearing in the Bible is three and a half, which is exactly half of seven. Jesus died in the midst of a prophetic week. A prophetic week is seven years, half of that is three and a half years.

Now how long is the famine in which Elijah is having these experiences? We know it's three years, six months. And that's 1,260 days, months, a time, a times and the dividing of time. You'll hear these periods mentioned many times in the Bible. A time being a complete cycle of seasons or one year. A times means a couple or a pair of years.

So you got one year. A couple more, which is two, that's a total of three. And the dividing of time means cutting a year in half, three and a half years. You find that time many times in the Bible. If seven represents a complete, or perfect cycle, what does cutting that in half represent? An incomplete, or something that is a time of rejection or persecution.

Jesus died in the midst of a seven, three and a half years. He taught for three and a half years and encountered severe persecution and rejection. The disciples and apostles taught for another three and a half years where they were resisted and persecuted and in prison. And stephen is stoned at the end of that, just like Jesus is cast out of the city. They take away his clothes.

He's executed. He prays for their forgiveness. At the end of another three and a half years, stephen is thrown outside the city, after being falsely tried. They take away his clothes, and he prays for the forgiveness of those that kill him. And so three and a half represents a time of persecution.

There's a prophetic three and a half where God's people flee into the wilderness that you find during the dark ages, ,260 years. Was that a time of persecution and rejection also? And so you'll see this pattern. And there may be another three and a half at the end of time. I can't prove that. But you know you wonder sometimes.

And anyway, how long is a small time of trouble, I don't know. But I wondered before if it was going to be 3 1/2 years. Now don't quote Pastor Doug on that. I'm just musing in my mind right now. This is by permission, not by commandment.

Everybody clear? Someone's going to come away from there and say, "Pastor Doug teaches--" no, I'm not teaching that; I'm thinking. I'm just thinking. Okay, so he's told now, you go back to chapter 17, after being at the creek, and it doesn't tell you how long he was at the brook cherith. It says, "the word of the Lord came to him," in verse 8, Kings 17:8, "the word of the Lord came to him saying, 'arise, and go to zarephath, which belongs to sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.

'" Now this is a very strange command. But Elijah obeys. Zarephath is about--i think it's 90 miles north of where the brook cherith is up in the land of the phoenicians. It is not Israeli country. It is pagan territory.

So much so, it actually is the stomping grounds of jezebel. It's where jezebel comes from, who is killing all the prophets in Israel. I mean, it's kind of clever when you think about it. Where's the last place in the world that ahab is gonna send to be looking for--and of course jezebel is stirring him up, the Bible says. She's persecuting the prophets.

Last place in the world you would think would be in her hometown, where all the pagans were, where all the idol worshippers are. God sends Elijah there to the land of the gentiles. Isn't that strange? Now somebody read for me Jeremiah 10:8, just to get an idea of how God's people felt about the pagans that worshipped idols. I think we gave that to somebody. Who has--who has that? Over here.

And you got a microphone? Let's get you a--who has the microphones? You got a microphone. You're armed and ready. So we're going to be reading Jeremiah 10:8. And we're just talking about what the attitude of the Israelites were towards pagan worship or idol worship. Go ahead, read that for us.

"But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; a wooden idol is a worthless doctrine." Now I could read a long list, pages actually. I could read pages of Scriptures that talk about how foolish they believed idol worship was, and praying to statues, and the work of men's hands. And you know, people make a work of art, and it might be beautiful to behold, but it does not become a God. God made us; we do not make God. And so there was a lot of loathing that the Israelites felt for the pagans because of their idolatry.

And now the Israelites had turned to idolatry with baal worship. Sort of mixing the two together a little bit. Could that happen to God's people in the last days? Does an idol have to look like a statue with 20 arms? Can an idol have a bmw sticker on it? An idol can be a home. An idol can be a television. I mean there's all kinds of things we can make an idol out of.

Anything where we give first place to it and dedicate our time to worshipping it can become an idol in our lives. But the pagans had given themselves to idolatry. Now Elijah becomes the first prophet that is sent to the gentiles. Have you thought about that? He lives before Jonah who goes to nineveh. Did Jesus speak to a woman who was a pagan that lived in the north country of phoenicia, and did he heal her daughter? Very much like what happens here with Elijah.

We'll get to that in just a minute. Jesus referred to the experience of Elijah going and staying with a pagan woman. Luke 4:24, I'll read this to you, Luke 4:24, "Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time when the sky was shut up 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, to a region of sidon." So here God sends Elijah to the pagans, to the gentiles, to a woman there. Now I'll say more about that and what that symbol represents a little later in our study today.

But I just wanted to repeat, zarephath, the word means smelting or refining. It was on the coast, about 109 miles actually from the brook of cherith and it's in the land of the phoenicians. Did God ever tell his people to turn from their native kin and go to the gentiles. Elijah is being told, "pass by all of the widow houses that might take you in here in the land of Israel. There are probably some Godly widows there.

And I want you to go up to where the gentiles are." Had that happened? Was that going to happen again later? Turn to acts 18:6. I think I gave that to somebody too. Who has--over here. Acts 18:6. You'll find that the experience of Elijah is repeated later by the apostles.

Go ahead, sylvia and read that for us. "But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, 'your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the gentiles.'" There was an obligation to go first to their people. You know, you start going to your own people. But when they reject it, you'll end up going out in the highways and the byways and the hedges eventually.

And Elijah's people, when he went to ahab, they were rejecting the Lord. And so now he's sent to the gentiles. Now among the gentiles, are there people who are looking for God? I mean, you know, one of the common questions that we get, I had it last week: what about all the people who may be living in australia or in china or in india or in africa that for millennia never heard the story of Jesus per se? Are they all automatically doomed to "do not pass go," directly to hell, because they didn't hear the name of Jesus? No? Well, if they can be saved without hearing the name of Jesus, then do we need to send missionaries. Yes, we do. It's rare, but there are exceptions.

Does God have people that are looking for him in every country? Does the Lord speak to people only through missionaries and the Bible, or can he speak to them through the Holy Spirit and through nature? Can he speak to them through angels if he wants to? And I believe there's a promise. First of all, God's Spirit is everywhere. God's Spirit is in every country. I believe that it's maybe more active some places than others. But when people are searching for God, doesn't the Lord say that if we draw near to him, he'll draw near to us? Wherever there are people seeking after God, he will draw near to them.

And so there was a woman, living in this north country, who believed in the God--first of all, was the famine, did the famine reach up there? Were they neighbors of Israel? Did the people in Israel know that Elijah had pronounced this curse because they were worshipping baal? Yeah. Ahab is sending everywhere looking for him. There are posters everywhere, "wanted: dead or alive, Elijah the prophet who troubles Israel." That's what he said. And so they knew that a prophet of God was doing this to them. Did the neighboring nations know about the miracles that had happened to the Israelites over their history? Sure they did.

They were all acquainted with the various traditions. This woman in her heart, though by blood she was a phoenician, by faith believed in God. She was thinking about the God of Israel. She may not have totally surrendered, but she knew who he was. Who was it that helped David build his house? He was a king from the north, king of tyre.

Hiram. Did he seem to believe in the true God? Who helped Solomon build the temple? Wasn't it someone up from tyre, from phoenicia? There were people up there that knew about God and some of them believed. So I just want you to have that background. Even though this was pagan territory, God had his people there. And the Lord sent a messenger to this person.

So it says, "he arose," in verse 10, and he went to zarephath, "and he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks." Now, we probably should read this whole story, and I'm reading--oh, let's see here, verse--i read--he said, "I'll have a widow there that will provide for you." A woman was there gathering sticks. "And he called to her and he said, 'please bring me a little water in a cup, that I might drink.'" Why do you think he said that? A couple of reasons. Probably thirsty. There's a famine, obvious reason. Another reason would be how many of you remember when eleazar is looking for a specific woman.

He knows that God has chosen a bride for his master's son. And he goes to the city of haran, which is not totally Jewish country; it's somewhat pagan country. He doesn't know which virgin is supposed to marry Isaac, so he uses a test of a drink of water. So Elijah now comes, and God says, "I got a widow here. He doesn't say what the name of the widow is.

Remember Elijah had read that story about eleazar. And he says, "well, Lord, you guided eleazar by asking for a drink. Perhaps you can guide me today. I don't know which widow I'm supposed to stay with. Here's a widow out gathering sticks.

And he tests, and says, "can I have a drink of water?" And that ends up becoming-- that question ends up becoming a segue to salvation. When eleazar asks Rebekah for a drink of water, that question becomes a segue to a whole nation being born. All of Israel comes through Rebekah. Yeah, Jacob had lots of wives and lots of sons, but Isaac only had one wife named Rebekah. And all of Israel came through Rebekah.

So that question of a drink leads to a whole nation being born. Does Jesus sit down in a well, by a well in a pagan country, the land of samaria and ask a woman for a drink? Does that then open the Gospel to this whole town of samaritans that end up believing? See some of the parallels here? She's out gathering a couple of sticks. Why? Why a couple of sticks? So he asks her for a drink. "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I might drink-- and as she was going--" does she have a problem with that request? No, she's willing to do it. "As she's going to get it, he calls her.

" He feels inspired to just make this outrageous request, "please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand." Well, she's going to get the water, and by the way, you might be thinking well there's a famine, how's she going to get some water. Well, they still have probably a little drinking water in the well. They just don't have enough for the farms and all the cattle. And so she's going to get him a drink of water, and then he says, "and bring me some food." Now there's a famine. You have to know.

You got to have a picture. It's gone on at least a year, year and a half, no rain. The land is just--every time you put your foot down, clouds of dust billow up. There's sandstorms every day when the wind picks up. Elijah on his way during that miles that he walks, he's going by a lot of mummified sheep and goat and cattle carcasses and donkeys that have died from the famine.

Ahab, a few days after this, it says that he's going out and says, "let's see if we can find any grass for the last remaining horses that are left." All their cattle are dying. There's no fields. It's really pretty severe. People are starving to death. Kids are walking around with bloated bellies and ribs protruding.

I mean it's a severe famine. And so for Elijah to say, "bring me a loaf of bread," that's a pretty ambitious request. But he's not done. He's getting even more ambitious. He says, "please, bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.

" He's not asking for a lot. And she stops in her tracks and she says, "as the Lord--" now she invokes the name of jehovah there. She doesn't say baal. She doesn't say, "a God." She uses the name of jehovah. "As the--" notice, capital, l-o-r-d, "your God lives.

" She's not talking about her God. Did she know who his God was? Had he introduced himself yet? Can you tell something about prophets' dress back then? You know they had the school of the prophets from the days of Samuel. And they typically wore these hairy, it was actually kind of a camel-fur garments. It was like burlap. It was a hairy garment with a leather belt.

And they often had beards. That's how John the baptist dressed, right? It was a common attire. So he's got the dress of one of The Sons of the prophets. She understands that. He is a worshipper of jehovah.

So she says, "as the Lord your God lives." She's now swearing by his God. She says, "look, I'm telling you the truth. I'm not hiding anything from you. I do not have bread. We don't have anything bread.

All I have is the raw materials for one more loaf." "Only a handful of flour," not even a whole loaf in a bin, "and a little oil in a jar." They needed that to make the bread. "And see, I am gathering," right here now, I'm gathering, "a couple of sticks that I might go and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die." She is now preparing this last sacrificial meal. You know there's a lot of analogies there. What does a woman represent? A woman is--you know, not every time you see a woman in the Bible, don't insert, "church, church, church," you'll go crazy doing that. But in these stories, you'll often find there's a spiritual analogy.

And Elijah going to a gentile woman, and dwelling with her, is analogous of Christ taking the Gospel to the gentiles. And she is preparing this last meal, but he asks for bread. It's like Jesus asks for a drink. It's in the context of asking for a favor that he then is going to resurrect her son, not too many--by the way, I haven't gotten to that, have i? Not in the story, but I'm hoping you know the story, right? That's like the resurrection of Christ. All these resurrections in the Bible, in the old testament here, are boys, are types of Christ.

So this is telling us something about the Gospel going to the gentiles when-- during this famine. By the way, during the three and a half years of prophetic famine in Revelation, during the 1260 years, where's the Gospel then when it goes into the wilderness? Isn't the Gospel going to the gentiles during that time, to 1798? There's a lot of parallels here. So he says, "make me a loaf of bread." Notice that there, "prepare--" sorry he says in verse 13, she says, "we're going to eat it and die. It's our last supper." Elijah says, "do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; afterward make some for yourself and your son." Well, that would be too much, but he does add a promise here. "For thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'the bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar," or the cruse, "of oil run dry, until the day that God sends rain on the earth.

'" "If you will trust me, and you will prepare a loaf for me first, God will sustain you from now on through the rest of the famine." Can you imagine how critics of the Bible have looked at this story and said, "what in the world? These prophets taking advantage of a starving widow and her son. Bring it to me first! I mean, when you first glance at it, doesn't that sound kind of selfish? Why is he doing that? Doesn't the Lord often say, "look, I'm going to work a miracle for me--I'm going to work a miracle for you, but you need to put your feet in the water. And you need to trust me." Was there a time where the disciples needed to feed a great crowd, and they didn't have enough food. And Jesus said, "what do you have?" "Oh, we've just got a little bit." And he said, "bring it to me first." They placed what they had in the hands of Jesus. Then a miracle happened, after they placed it in the hands of Jesus.

Oh, let me see here. Where's that? Did I give that to you? Read that for us, Matthew-- what did I give you? Matthew 15:36. Let's get a--looking in my notes, I don't see it. Let's get a microphone for mike here. And he's going to read that passage.

Matthew 15:36. "And he took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to his disciples; and the disciples gave them to the multitude." Now, there's that miracle again. They gave them to Jesus. He took it in his hands. He blessed it.

And then it multiplied so many more were fed. Now right here on the surface is a wonderful lesson, that lesson being, whatever your resources are, or whether they're financial, whether it's food, whether it's your time, whatever you give to God and ask him to bless, he then will multiply. In your Bible study, what does bread represent symbolically? How many of you have thought, "I can't give a Bible study. What do I know? I'm not prepared. I stumble over my words.

" I actually said all of that once. "I can't share the Gospel with anybody. I'm not educated." the Lord says, "you give to me, you consecrate to me, you offer to me what you do have, I'll bless it, give it back to you, and it'll multiply." And that's not the first time that's happened in the Bible. You can read in the Bible it tells us about in the story of Elijah--or Elisha. Oh, hang on here.

Maybe it's because I'm looking on the wrong page. I was. Kings 4, this is in the old testament. Elisha who ends up getting a double-portion of Elijah's spirit, during another famine. It says, "then a man came from baal shalisha, and brought the man of God," Elisha, "bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley bread.

" These are little, these are little cakes. Well, he's got 100 sons of the prophets there, and there's a famine. They don't have enough to eat. "And newly ripened grain in his knapsack. And Elisha said to him, 'give it to the people, that they may eat.

' But his servant said, 'what? Shall I set this before men?'" It'll be an insult. It won't go far enough. And he said, "give it to the people, that they might eat; for thus says the Lord: 'they will eat and have some left over.' So he set it before them; they ate and there were some left over, according to the word of the Lord." Now when Jesus multiplied the bread, was there leftovers? When that widow obeyed Elijah, and she went back to her home, and she reached in the bottom of the barrel and took out that last handful and made a cake and poured in a little bit of what was left of the oil, when she went back and lifted up the lid of the bin, was there still some there leftover? And was there leftover the next day and the next day and the next day? And it doesn't even say only six days a week--well, manna fell six days a week and there was none on Sabbath. But evidently he provided for her every day. I don't know.

Maybe he gave her twice as much Friday. It doesn't say. But he provided every day. Couldn't you imagine the faith of those in that household? Every time they'd open it up and say there's one more. Have any of you kind of had those experiences before? I remember roger morneau.

How many of you remember who roger morneau is? He wrote some great books on prayer? And he and his wife just live south of here. We've been to their home, and they had this ministry, prayer ministry. And he told this story about his copy machine. And he just didn't have money to buy a cartridge. Karen and I just bought a cartridge for our copier, and I forget, it was like $100.

It was expensive, 'cause they don't make them anymore. And he kept praying that God would bless. And even after it said, you know, it's empty on the register. He kept praying over it, and kept printing and printing reams and reams of paper. He kept printing and praying.

And he said God just blessed and multiplied his copier. And I've seen so many stories like this. I remember I ran out of gas once on Sabbath, but we were taking someone to church the day it happened. We just totally forgot. And we drove 70 miles to church.

And we got to lubbock, Texas and we were out of gas. I mean it was on empty. And she said, "well, you better pull over and get some gas." And I was young and probably a little idealistic, and I'm not condemning those who might have done things differently. I'm just telling you I had simple faith back then. And I said, "well, we're going to pray.

" And then God will just make what we have left. And I still remember this lady's name was beth campbell. And she had her kids. And we'd taken her to church. And we said we're just going to pray.

And we started driving back to dickens, Texas. And the car kept going. And it kept going. And she said, "you guys are crazy." She said, "you're out of gas." And we kept going and going and going. And the thing, needle hadn't moved in 50 miles.

It was on--it was just pegged at empty. We were running on hopeful the whole time. And we got there. And she couldn't believe it. And she never forgot that.

We even got in touch with her years later. She said, "I've never seen such a miracle before." Well, I think the Lord did it, 'cause she needed it that day. Again, I'm not recommending you all tempt the Lord and just don't fill up your gas tank, especially the price of gas these days, he might take that the wrong way. But some--have you ever seen God multiply things for you before? You know what I'm talking about? It's happened at many of our potlucks. And then we've had a couple of potlucks too where there was no luck left in the pot when I got there.

So don't tempt the Lord now. But so there was this miracle that God performed, where it kept blessing. So she did as the man of God said, and you can read about this here. "And she went away and did," verse 15, "according to the word of Elijah. She and her household ate for many days.

And the bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry according to the word of the Lord which he spoke by Elijah." Can we claim the promises of God and expect miracles? Is there going to be a time, maybe before the end where God's people are going to have to go into remote places and pray that he'll provide for us? Can we trust him to provide if we're faithful? In the same way he provided for Elijah in the wilderness, he provided for the children of Israel in the wilderness. He miraculously fed Jesus, the angels fed him at the end of his 40-day fast in the wilderness. As he fed his people during the dark ages in the wilderness, he can feed us during that time. Our bread and water, I believe, will be sure. Alright, read on.

Verse 17, "now it happened after these things that The Son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him." That means no spirit, no life. "So she said to Elijah, 'what have I to do with you, o man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?' He said to her--" now she's got some--first of all, it's a good testimony that Elijah's lived with her all this time and she still thinks he's a man of God. Now, sometimes another member of the church moves into your house, and after a few weeks you wonder about their Christianity. But he's lived with her and she's still calling him a man of God.

So that says something about the consistency of his faith. And she becomes convicted of her sin by exposure to him. And you know, if we live with Christ in our home, Elijah's a type of Christ, it helps us realize our need of holiness. So should we just not invite Jesus in our homes? No, I think we should invite him in anyway. So whenever anything bad happens, should we automatically think, "oh, God's punishing us for our sin? No.

Her first reaction was, "what have I done wrong? But it wasn't because of her sin. It was that the glory of God might be revealed. "He said, 'give me your son.' So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying." Isn't it interesting, Elisha who's sort of a clone of Elijah, did he have an upper room? Didn't the widow of-- the shunamite woman--she wasn't a widow--didn't she make an upper room for Elisha? Do miracles often happen in the upper room? Where was dorcas resurrected? Seems like it was in upper room. Where's the Holy Spirit poured out? Upper room. Where does God have the last supper with his disciples? It's in an upper room.

And here this great miracle of a resurrection, the first resurrection by the way in the Bible. Now Moses was resurrected, but that's not recorded. You don't really know that until you get to the new testament and read Jude and you see Jude Moses appear. Right? So this is technically the first resurrection. Yes, Elijah goes to heaven without dying.

Enoch goes to heaven without dying. This is the first resurrection in the Bible. Happens in an upper room. It's of a son. And so he says, "give me your boy.

" Puts him on his bed in the upper room. And then he prays, "he cries out to the Lord and he says, 'o Lord my God, have you also brought tragedy on this widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?' And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and he cried out to the Lord and said, 'o Lord my God, I pray, let this child's soul come back to him.'" You know, one thing you notice about Elijah is he was tenacious about his prayers. When he believed that something was God's will, he kept praying until it happened. How often did Elijah pray for the rain before it came? Seven times. Did he decide, "I'll pray seven times and then give up?" Or did he pray seven times and that's when the answer came, so he quit? He might have prayed seven times or twenty times for this boy.

So Elijah was persistent in his prayer. And God answered his prayers. "And he stretched himself upon the child." And it says, "the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. And he took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, 'see,' or behold, 'your son lives!'" Was there a time when the church thought that its Savior was dead? And did the disciples gather in an upper room when Christ appeared to him and said, "peace be unto you.

" And basically was saying, "I'm still alive. I'm not dead." And so there's a lot of analogies. And there's something else we can take from this story. Some of you may have children that you feel like the Spirit has gone out of them. They've lost their faith.

They don't believe. What did this woman do with her son? She placed her son in the arms of Elijah. And then Elijah interceded and placed him back in her arms alive. Sometimes when you feel like there's nothing else you can do, you need to just take your children, you might have some children that are out in the world or they're lost or they've turned their back on the Lord and they don't have that spiritual life anymore. And you pray that God will raise them.

You place them in Jesus' arms. And you pray for a miracle. Amen? And God hears those prayers. And you got to be persistent, like Elijah. Just continue to pray.

You know, I don't believe in vain repetition in praying. Someone asked me one time, "we shouldn't pray in vain repetition, but I pray every day for my children that are lost. Is that praying in vain repetition?" No, it's not what God is talking about. He's talking about just sitting there and saying the same prayer over and over again. That's vain repetition.

But to pray about the same thing daily, I pray for victory daily, don't you? I pray for forgiveness daily. Is that vain repetition? There's a lot of things you might continue to pray for. And so he places the child back in her arms. Now there's some other Scriptures here that I wanted us to look at. This woman was asked to put God first in her life.

Someone read for me Matthew 10:37. I think we gave it out. You've got that here? Now I'm backing up a little bit. You remember when Elijah said, "bring even before your son, even before you feed your son, put God first." And that was also a teaching of Jesus. Read Matthew 10:37.

Okay, Matthew 10:37, "he who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Now, that doesn't mean that we're to--i think one version says, "he that hates not." It means that we're really to not love anyone more than Jesus. Now some people put their spouse ahead of the Lord. You know, one is a believer, one's not a believer. And the unbeliever says, "oh, you know, you're always taking off and going to church, church, church." He says, "you're supposed to honor me. Stay with me.

" And they kind of try and talk them out of their relationship with the Lord. You need to know the best thing you can do for your loved one is by putting God first in your life. And what would have happened? It never says that her son caught a cold from Elijah and died. Whatever her son got that killed him was probably still going to happen whether she invited Elijah into her house or not. But by inviting Elijah into her house, it saved her family from starvation and sickness.

Have you ever thought that that kind of hospitality can save you? Can you think of anyone else in the Bible that is saved by "housebitality?" Lot invites the angels in and he is saved. Who else? Abraham, remember he entertained the two angels. And in one sense I think they're saved. There's other examples. It escapes me right now in the Bible of where people are--where? Rahab.

Yeah, that's the one I was thinking of. Rahab invites the two messengers into her house and it saves she and everybody in her family. "Some have entertained angels unaware," the Bible says. And so when we see somebody in need, and they say, "can I have a drink? Can I have a morsel of bread?" I know that it's probably hard for us, especially if you have hungry families to say, you know, "I can't give it all away. What's going to happen to my family?" We all are inclined to think that way.

But what does Jesus say when we do something for someone else in need? Who are we doing it for? "In as much as you've done it for the least of these, my brethren, you've done it for me." So there's some wonderful parallels in this story. And you know, one thing I want you to notice before we run out of time is look at the symbols in this story. It tells us that here you have a woman. A woman is a symbol for, an allegory for a church. She's gathering two sticks--that's what a cross is made out of--so that she and her son might eat it and die.

Jesus ate the last supper and then he died. All she has left in her house, she's got oil, she got bread. What does the church need in our house? What does the oil represent? Holy Spirit. What does the flour, the bread represent? The Word of God. And if you've got those two things in your house--and Elijah, who does he represent? Jesus.

Elijah means, "my God is jehovah." And so he's a type of Christ in the story. You've got Christ in your home, in your church, if you've got spirit in your church, if you've got the Word of God in your church, then what else happens there? Their faith is strengthened because of a resurrection that they witness. Have we witnessed the resurrection of Christ in our church, in our home? And there's the upper room. That's the new covenant. We're going to be celebrating communion later today.

That's the symbol for the covenant, the new birth. And there's a miraculous provision that takes place. So after her son is raised, he hands him back. Last verse in the chapter, verse 24, "then the woman says to Elijah, 'now by this I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord is in your mouth, that it is truth.'" By what? By the resurrection. "I know the word in your mouth is truth.

" What is the greatest evidence that everything Christ said was true? That he came back from the dead. I mean what hope do we have for eternal life if Jesus didn't rise and we're still dead in our sins, right? Because he rose, there's hope for us to rise. And so that's the great evidence. The whole truth is built upon this miracle of the resurrection. Well, we are out of time.

I want to remind our friends that are watching, we do have a free offer. It's called "the brook dried up," when the brook dried up. It's offer number 161. And if you call the toll-free number on your screen: -788-3966, we'll be happy to send that to you. This is a great study today.

Amen? A great story in the Bible. It always inspires me, these analogies that you find in the Scripture that tell us all about Jesus. Thank you for joining us, friends. God willing we'll study together next Sabbath. Hi friends, Amazing Facts is so excited to tell you about our new prophecy study Bible.

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