Monday, March 19, 2007

widows obedience...

Tonight's blog stuff will come from Sundays worship at FBCOC. I know most of the staff from seminary: James Hilton (pastor, served on student leadership team together, friends, someone I greatly respect and seek advice from on numerous occassions), Jason (the worship pastor), and Jeremy (the youth pastor). I also met some guys at the Ligonier Conference that go there too. It was great to see Shana - whom I hadn't seen in 3 years or more. And to meet their kids: Josiah, Gracyn, and Halyn (who got a lot of prayer this first year of their life).
The worship was good. The one song I really enjoyed was :
"How can I keep from singing Your praise? How can I ever say enough? how amazing is Your love? How can I keep from shouting Your name? I know I am loved by the King, and it makes my heart want to sing" - that was just the chorus. Shouldn't our knowing our Jesus make us want to sing - shout - dance - exclaim - proclaim? What a great song. You can't help but sing loud on that song! Thanks Jason - great song!
The sermon was on money - (yes, typical Baptist as some would say), but I don't think I've ever heard a sermon preached on these verses - and James brought out some great thoughts on it.
1 Kings 17
Main Characters: Elijah (great prophet, proclaimer of God)
Widow - lady who lives in the heart of Baal country, but knows that Yahweh LIVES!
Setting: Zarephath - main worship place for Baal (false god) and Queen Jezebel
Other FYI: there was a severe drought in Israel at the time (key to know)

God tells Elijah - great man of God - to go to a "foreign" country known for its worship of false gods. Guess what - he obeys. Even when we don't understand the Word of the Lord - obey it - be blessed.
God has already told him that a widow is going to provide for him. There are several things we know about widows from Scripture: we are to take care of them, they are really nobodies. laws protect them from harm (ex 22), God will be a judge for them. But yet, God says that this widow will take care of a prophet?
E asked the W for water - and what did she do - she went and got it. Here they were having a famine, (so they have no water), and she goes and gets it for this stranger who has just found her? That doesn't make a lot of sense?
Oh, and while you are at it -bring me some bread as well. Huh? First you want water, which I have none, now you want some bread? Just take everything I have why don't you. Aren't you supposed to be protecting me. What must have been going on in this ladies mind?
v 12 shows us that she knows the LIVING GOD - even in a land of idolatry.
This bread was going to be their last - they were going to eat it and die, because she probably had no way to earn income to buy more bread. And E asks for it?
This next verse (13) is funny to me. Kinda selfish one would think on E's part. First he says, don't be afraid (kind of like Doc Reid's bless your heart) and then he says go and make the bread for yourself, but before you do that, make mine. Its like he hadn't even listened to the W. Didn't you hear me - I won't have any to eat - yet you want me to feed you first?
Here comes the blessing of the Lord - you almost have to know one is coming. I wonder what this widow is thinking? Does she think a blessing is coming? I don't know.
But...since she OBEYED - God was willing and able to bless her. Her and her son ate bread till there was rain again on the earth. SHE OBEYED - GOD BLESSED. Malachi 3.10 all over again.
Now - here's where we gotta be careful. You may be reading this and say - I give, I obey, and I still have no money and God's not blessing me. Did you read the words of that song at the front of this entry? He's our SAVIOUR - that's our blessing - that is all we need. But - God is in the business of blessing FOR HIS GLORY. I loved this verse that James brought in:
"You will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God!". This is not health, wealth, prosperity. This is blessing of God for God's glory - not ours.
Widow - obedience - filled bread jar.
Obedience from His kids - glory to HIM! isn't that our ambition?

Thanks James!

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