Have Faith in God: Let Go and Let God

Illustration

A Possible Episode from the Twilight Zone…

  • Imagine if you will, the sun beating down unmercifully upon the tiny town of Zarephath, a remote village well to the north of the land of Palestine.
  • It is there that a poor, widow woman searches for sticks.
  • Why is she searching for sticks?
  • She is searching for sticks because she has no more fuel, and must find something to help her prepare one last meal for her and her son.
  • You see, it has not rained in over 3 years.
  • The land is hard and dry and parched and barren.
  • There is a terrible famine., and as usual, the poorest are hit the hardest.
  • She is resigned to the fact that there is nothing else she can do to sustain her own life.
  • But for the sake of her son, with the hopes that he might somehow survive, she gathers up sticks, trying to ignore the stomach pains and fatigue, yet feeling her life force slowly ebbing away.
  • As she bends down to pick up a dead, dry chunk of wood, she sees in the corner of her eye, from a distance, the hazy figure of a man approaching the town gates.
  • She glances up and as he draws nearer, she can tell by his attire that this stranger is a Jew.
  • And she marvels in the fact that he looks relatively healthy, well-fed, almost portly in appearance.
  • (She does not know that this man of God has been fed each day by Ravens sent by God!”)
  • And this stranger, this middle-aged Jewish man, walks up to the sin-sick widow, and makes a request.
  • “May I have some water to drink?”
  • She is preparing to die, with barely enough energy to complete her chores, and this stranger has the audacity to ask for a drink of HER precious water!
  • What would you do? What would you say?
  • We would likely say,
    • “Get your own water stranger, I have got to worry about myself!”
    • “I am the last person in the world you should be asking for provisions.”
    • Or (out of politeness) we might say, “I am sorry sir, I cannot help you. Perhaps some wealthy citizen of this town could be of assistance.”
  • INSTEAD, she offers no resistance at all.
  • She quickly gets up and hurries over to her water jug, to fetch him some water.
  • THEN, he pushes the issue.
  • “While you are at it Ma’am, could you also give me a little bread to eat?”
  • WHO IS THIS MAN?
  • She turns to the prophet and sadly confesses her plight.
  • She explains to him that she only has enough flour and oil to make one last meal for her and her son.
  • She explains that they are starving and near the point of death.
  • After an explanation like that, we might expect an apology out of this stranger.
  • But instead, he is even more pervasive.
  • “Well then”, he exclaims, “please use the last of your flour and the last of your oil and make me a cake of bread and let me eat it!”
  • Then he adds, “God has promised that if you will serve me what you have, He will take care of you!”
  • WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
  • They say that there is nothing among men as strong as a mother’s love for her children, YET imagine if you will, what may have happened next.
  • She walks into her mud hut.
  • Her son is sleeping on a mat on the floor.
  • She begins to cook up the ingredients, the boy awaking to the pleasant aroma.
  • But then she turns her back to her own son and walks out the door, to the stranger!
  • She gives the cake to the stranger who begins eating it, crumbs falling into his beard.
  • She goes back into her house.
  • She is afraid to look in the jars. BUT WHEN SHE DOES…
  • THERE IS OIL! THERE IS FLOUR!
  • Have we just entered the Twilight Zone?
  • The signpost up ahead reads, “1 Kings 17:8-16”

Scripture

1 Kings 17:8-16 (NASB)
8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 “For thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’ ” 15 So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, as we study Your Word, open our eyes to Your unending provisions. Help us to have faith in You and Your promises. Continue to love us and teach us how to love others as You do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Probing Question

What should Christians recognize from the widow’s example of faith and obedience?

Transitional Sentence

From the widow’s example of faith and obedience, Christians should recognize…

Main Points

1. The Problem

1 Kings 17:8-12 (NASB)
8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.”

  • The widow was at the end of her resources
  • She was preparing to give up… to die
  • She had next to nothing and Elijah was asking her to give up even that to him
  • REFLECT
    • Do we have anything we hold on to?
      • A person?
      • A dream?
      • A job?
      • A thing? (e.g., money, car, etc.)
      • Our will? (e.g., not surrendering to God, His gift of salvation, etc.)
    • It is not easy to give some things up
    • In faith, the widow gave up her and her son’s last meal
    • We have to learn in faith when to stop holding on and instead let go

2. The Promise

1 Kings 17:13-14 (NASB)
13 Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 “For thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’ “

  • The resources at her disposal were not hers… she was only a steward
  • The widow was to steward the resources according to God’s will
  • God’s resources are limitless
  • The Bible tells us “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
    • What is faith?
      • Faith is believing in God
        • Romans 10:17 (NASB)
          17 So faith comesfrom hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
      • Faith is believing without seeing
        • Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
          1 Now faith is the assurance of thingshoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
    • The widow exercised biblical faith
  • Whenever God promises something, you can “take it to the bank”
    • Does this mean if we let God tell us what to give and we cannot give it; but, we give it anyway, we will be able to give it, and we will receive something back in return?
      • That is exactly what God tells us
        • Luke 6:38 (NASB)
          38 “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, andrunning over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
        • Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
          33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
    • Please be sure it is God leading you and not some TV Evangelist with ulterior motives

3. The Provision

1 Kings 17:15-16 (NASB)
15 So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.

  • The widow was an obedient steward of the resources at her disposal
  • God provided resources to the widow from His limitless supply
    • Some preachers debate whether the bowl and jar
      • Were full, or
      • Just did not run out
    • Does it matter?
      • That is not the point
      • The point is God’s supplies do not run out
        • It was true for the widow
        • It is true for us
    • God’s grace in our lives never runs out
      • John 1:16 (NASB)
        16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
    • God’s Word never runs out
      • Matthew 24:35 (NASB)
        35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
    • God’s ability to meet our needs will never run out
      • Philippians 4:19 (NASB)
        19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
  • Would the widow have ever known God’s ability if she did not first have an inability?

Conclusion

From the widow’s example of faith and obedience, Christians should recognize:

  • The Problem – We are at the end of our resources
  • The Promise – “Our” resources are not ours, we are only stewards
  • The Provision – God’s resources are limitless to obedient stewards

We must have faith in God that results in obedient stewardship of the resources He has placed at our disposal.

We must “Let Go” and “Let God”

Closing Prayer

Our most gracious Heavenly Father, thank You for always supplying our need. Help us to remember we are only stewards of Your many blessings and as such, we should be blessings to others. Teach us not to rely on what we think we have; but rather, place our faith and trust in You, Whose supplies are limitless. Please forgive us our sins, for we ask these things in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

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