CAN GOD REALLY MEET YOUR NEED?
1 Kings 17:1-24 (NKJV)
Elijah Proclaims a Drought
1 And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
2 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”
5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. 7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
Elijah and the Widow
8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, 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, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
12 So she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’”
15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 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.
Elijah Revives the Widow’s Son
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. 18 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?”
19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” 21 And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” 22 Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.
23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!”
24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.”
There is a common element that unites all peoples of the world. There is one thing that every person in this world has in common: we all have needs! There will be times in every one of our lives when we will experience a need of some type. Perhaps that need will be material in nature, that seems to be where we focus much our own attention in this earthly life. There will certainly be times when there will be emotional needs, and, at other times, needs of a physical nature will surely present themselves.
At other times, we will face days when the greatest need in our lives will be spiritual in nature. What are we to do when needs arise? The natural reaction is for us to worry, but we know from the Bible that this is not God’s will for our lives, Phil. 4:6; Matt. 6:25-33. Should we try to meet our own needs? The simply answer is “Yes!” When we have is within our power to help ourselves, then we do not really have a need, do we? What I am referring to are those times when we have reached the end of the line. We have done everything we know to do to met our own need. We have exhausted every resource and we are left with the reality of our own inability staring at us in the face. What do we do then?
The answer is at once simple, yet deeply profound. It is an answer given by the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. His answer to getting the needs of life met was this, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.”, Mark 11:22. All I am saying, and what I intend to show from this passage, is that we have a God in Heaven who can be trusted to take care of His children!
When our needs arise, so do our doubts! The devil and the flesh whisper to our hearts, “Can God really meet your needs?” If we aren’t careful, we might find ourselves wondering the same thing! This, dear friends, is the question which faces us this morning. It is a question that we must answer and an issue with which we must come to terms. The question I would like to ask, and answer this morning is this: “Can God Really Meet Your Need?”
I’d like to begin by saying, “God Can!” Let me show you from this chapter why I say that God really can meet your need.
I. THE MANY SIDES OF OUR NEEDS
(Often our needs arise from strange and varied sources. Three are mentioned in this passage.)
A. V. 1-7 An Uncommon Service – Elijah’s need arose from His obedience to the will of God. He was just doing what he was told and then his need came.
(Ill. There are times when you seem to be doing everything just like you are supposed to be doing it. You are paying your tithes, you are going to church, you are living right and still there are troubles and problems that plague your life. Why does that take us by surprise?
Jesus said it would be this way, John 16:33. Whoever got people to believing that once we came to Jesus for salvation that all our troubles were behind us, pulled off the greatest lie of the ages. In truth, instead of being a hedge against trouble, your salvation often opens the door for problems in your life. The truth of the matter is that we can expect life to a time filled with trouble, Job 14:1. Instead of standing around with our mouths hanging open when trouble comes, we are supposed to rejoice, 1 Pet. 4: 12-13, At the very least, we shouldn’t be surprised!)
John 16:33 (NKJV) Words of Jesus
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Job 14:1 NKJV)
1 “Man who is born of woman
Is of few days and full of trouble.
1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV) Suffering for God’s Glory
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
B. V. 9-12 An Uncontrollable Situation – These verses reveal a widow woman at Zarephath who was suffering a deep need because of the wrongdoing of others. Because of the sin of King Ahab, Jezebel and the nation of Israel, God sent a drought that affected the area where this widow lived. She was just caught up in an unfortunate situation.
(Ill. There are times like that for you and me. Through no fault of our own, we find ourselves caught up in unpleasant situations that bring trouble into our lives. Sometimes we make our own trouble, other times it seems to be able to find us on its own. This shouldn’t take us by surprise either! Jesus said things would be this way, Matt. 5:45. If we expect to receive good in this life, why shouldn’t expect our fair share of evil also? Sometimes life just goes south on us and there isn’t a thing we have done to cause it, nor is there much we can do to stop it. Often, pain, sorrow, tribulation and trouble are just part and parcel of the human experience.)
C. V. 17-18 An Untimely Sorrow – In these verses, we find a woman at Zarephath who has given much to the Lord and she has received much from the Lord, yet she is thrown into a time of grief over the untimely death of her only son. Her world, which seemed to be on track, derailed and filled her with much sorrow and pain.
(Ill. Ever been there? It seems like things couldn’t get any better. The Lord has been blessing and you have been enjoying the best that God has to give and then the bottom falls out and all of your hopes and dreams come crashing down around you. It hurts! But, we shouldn’t be surprised when things take a turn in this direction. After all, if it could happen to faithful, holy Job, then it could happen to any person in this world, Job 1-2.)
(Ill. Let’s face it, our troubles have a way of overtaking us when we aren’t expecting them. They sneak up on us and they body slam us and leave us dazed, hurting and confused. I just praise the Lord today that our troubles do not have the last word in this matter!)
I. The Many Sides Of Our Needs
II. THAT MANIFEST SUPPLY OF OUR GOD
(Your need may have caught you off guard and left you standing there with your chin on your chest wondering what happened, but your little old trial did not catch God by surprise. He was not caught off guard by what came about in your life. In fact, He knew it was going to happen before the foundation of the world. I’ll go a step further and say that He even orchestrated this event in your life to help you become more like Him, Rom. 8:28. Since God knew about, and since He even had a hand in it, He has also made some preparations for it. You see, your need is merely the evidence of God’s supply for you in waiting.)
A. V. 3-4 God’s Past Preparations – Thousands of years before Elijah needed a drink of cool, clear water, the finger of God traced out the path of this little brook. God knew that His servant would need this provision and God made away for Elijah long before the need ever arose.
Ill. The name of the brook was “Cherith”. This is a word which means “cutting.” Isn’t it good to know that God made a way to “cut” Elijah’s thirst before Elijah ever got thirsty?
(Ill. Let’s follow this thought and bring it up to our day. If God knows all about my troubles before they come, and if God has a hand in my troubles, and He does, Isa 45:7, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”, and if all things really work together for my good, 2 Cor. 4:17; Rom. 8:18; Rom. 8:28, and they do; then it stands to reason God has already taken all the steps necessary to meet your need before it ever arises.
It may seem that the Lord isn’t moving and that He is just going to leave you to twist in the breeze, but the truth is, God has already met our need, before the need ever arose! He will manifest that supply in His own way and in His own time. Your duty is to be patient and faithful to the Lord and to His will for your life. He will take care of you, Psalms 84:11, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”)
(Ill. No where is God’s past provision more clearly seen that in the area of our salvation. Before there was ever a sinner to save, God has already given up His Son Jesus Christ to be the means of salvation for all who would place their faith in Him. God met your salvation needs before you ever had any! If God can meet this greatest of all needs, and He did! Then He will have no problem taking care of you!)
B. V. 6 God’s Present Supply – In this verse, we see Elijah being fed by the ravens. God knew that His man needed to eat and God supplied the necessities of life for the man of God. Notice that God’s methods were at the same time miraculous and ordinary. They were miraculous in that God used ravens to bring food to the prophet and ordinary in that He used a common fowl of the air to get His will done. Hallelujah!)
(Ill. I want you to know that the Lord has promised to meet your needs, Phil. 4:19! However, I want you to know also that this promise is conditional! The Philippian believers has sacrificed to give to missionaries and to Paul and God tells them that He will take care of their needs. This is not a blanket promise that Christians can lift out of context and apply across the board! You may disagree, But I believe that God will let us experience need to get us in line with His plan for our lives. Will He take care of you? Yes! Does He love you? Yes! Just don’t expect God to bless you all the time at your selfish requests! But, my friends, if you are tithing, and you are being faithful to the Lord, I believe with all my heart that He will meet the needs which arise in your life and mine. He tells us in no uncertain terms what He expects and what He will do, Matt. 6:33.)
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
C. V. 14 God’s Promise For Tomorrow – (Ill. Elijah’s demand and the widow’s response. Elijah tells her not to worry, because the Lord will give her what she needs out into the future!)
(Ill. The future is always uncertain and we never know what kinds of needs may arise as soon as tomorrow, but we have the precious promise of the Lord that He is with us, Heb. 13:5, that He knows the way we take, Job 23:10 and that He will look out for us all the way home to glory! I may not know what will come in the morning, but I do know One who has already been to tomorrow. He knows what will happen and He has already made preparations for my arrival, John 14:2. No matter where the road of life leads, no matter what problems arise, God is always ready with the necessary means to meet the need of His children.)
(Ill. Israel at Marah – Exodus chapter 15. Ill. Hagar in the wilderness – Gen. 21:19. If God would do it for them, He will do it for you – Acts 10:34.)
I. The Many Sides Of Our Needs
II. The Manifest Supply Of Our God
III. THE MARVELOUS SECRET FOR GETTING YOUR NEED MET
(If the secret can be summed up in one word, I would have to say that the word would be “FAITH”! This faith in the true and living God must manifest itself in four areas of life and they are illustrated here for you and me.)
A. V. 3 There Must Be Faith In The Will Of God – Elijah had just confronted the King of Israel and now God is sending him into the wilderness. It must have been a little confusing, but God’s people must learn to place their faith in the will of God.
(Ill. Often, God’s will and our will are 2 entirely different animals. But, the secret of getting your need met by God is trusting that God knows what is best for your life and by being willing to submit to His will even when you don’t understand it. God can bless and use a surrendered life.) (When the mist of life hides the God of glory from view, you must rest assured that He is there and that He is faithfully executing His plan for the ages, and for your life too!)
B. V. 9 There Must Be Faith In The Ways Of God – (Imagine how Elijah felt when his brook dried up and the ravens quit bringing food and God comes along and sends him to a widow so she can keep him up. Widows were poor, they weren’t known for putting food on the table. But, Elijah knew that God knew more about taking care of prophets than Elijah did and he just went.)
(Ill. If you try to sit around and worry about what’s happening in your life and if you spend your time trying to figure out what God is doing, you will go crazy. You can’t understand God and you can’t figure Him out! If you could, He would cease to be God and you would become God. If you were God, then you could fix your own mess and you wouldn’t need Him anyway! We must have faith in the great truth that God knows what He is doing and we must learn to trust God’s ways, Isa. 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”)
C. V. 13-16 There Must Be Faith In The Work Of God – (Put yourself is this widow’s place. She was at the point of starvation, she and her son have enough food left for one final meal and they plan to lie down and starve to death. Then, here comes the preacher! He tells her to feed him first. It must have been a real trial of faith for this woman to make that great a sacrifice, but she placed her faith in the Work of God. Notice, verse 13, she is told to “go and do…”, verse 15 tells us that “she went and did…” This is key, but is often missed by people when they face a trial of life. If you have submitted your life to the Lord and are faithfully engaged in carrying out His will in the world, you are on the Lord’s pay roll and you are His responsibility. Too often we forget to Whom we belong, 1 Cor. 6:20; Matt. 6:25-33.)
D. V. 14 There Must Be Faith In The Word Of God – Ill. This widow woman at Zarephath entered this valley of testing with the greatest promise ever to be given to anyone. Did you see it? Don’t miss this! Verse 14, the prophet gives her the promise in the form of a seven word statement, “thus saith the Lord God of Israel…”
When you have God’s word on an issue, that issue is settled forever! This woman had the promise of God to back up her faith. Now, we all know that “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Therefore, when we read the statement of David in Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”, then we can place our faith in that!
Folks, the devil (our enemy will lie to you, the world will lie to you, your family and friends will lie to you, but you can rest assured that while the universe stands and there is a great God in Heaven He will never lie to you!
And if God said that He would look after your need, then you can take that to the bank of eternity and know that it will draw interest forever. You can place your faith in the Word of God. Amen!
E. V. 17-24 There Must Be Faith In The Wonder Of God – Ill. The context. This faithful widow’s son died suddenly and she went to the man of God for help. Now, as far as I can determine, this is the first account of a resurrection in the Bible. Elijah had never seen one, nor had he heard of one, but he believed that God could produce one by His great power.
Here is one of the great keys to getting your needs met by God. It is simply coming to the place where you just believe God is big enough to handle your problem. It is reaching the place Paul came to when he made the matchless declaration found in 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,”
When we get beyond “God could and God might”, and we come to the place where we become confident that “God can and God will”, then we will see business pick up in that area of seeing our need met. Those who see God consistently come through for them in strange and miraculous ways are people who know God can and will.)
(Ill. See Daniel, the 3 Hebrews, David, Noah, etc.)
(Ill. Does the word “faith” sum up your life? It should! We are to be a people of faith, Hab. 2:4. Faith looks beyond the present pain and sees a God who can and will. Are you there yet?)
Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV)
4 “Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.
I know this message hasn’t been earth shaking and deeply profound, but I hope it has opened our eyes to the truth that if God can do anything, then God can meet your need! Since we know from the Bible that God can, why not bring your needs, your burdens and your worries and fears to Him this morning and find out that not only can He, but that He will also!
Maybe your immediate need is that of salvation, you can come and have that need met today in Jesus Christ. Maybe yours is a material or physical need. You can come and find the assurance that God will take care of that too. Maybe you need is emotional in nature, God can handle that! Whatever the need bring it to God! Satan and the flesh say, “Can God?” Those who walk in faith rest their head on the precious promises of the Word of God and in blessed assurance reply back, “God can, God can and God can!” Amen!