Thursday, April 25, 2013

Divine Sustenance

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 1 Kings 17:2-3 

1 Kings 17:2-5 reads, “Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there. So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan and stayed there.” 

This is a continuation of my last letter which ended with the statement: The Holy Spirit wants to reveal more to us if we listen and obey.  Sometimes we see Elijah’s life as one miracle after another but really the miracles were a small part of his life and a result of his time spent in preparation to speak for the living God.  We must understand that the faith he manifested was not nurtured in miracles.  Every servant of the Lord, every man of God must have an intimate relationship with his Lord.  The bible highlights the intimate relationship Elijah had with the Lord, greater than all the other prophets of that time.  God has provided a history of individuals like Elijah, Elisha, Joshua, Moses, and Joseph to teach us the process He uses to reveal His word in order to include us in His purpose and unfolding plan.  Our Lord is specific; He doesn’t leave us with questions.  Verse 2 reads, “Then the Word of the Lord came to Elijah.” When did it come?  The word came after he stood before the rebellious, evil King Ahab; Israel’s leader.  I believe God will raise up more voices as His plan unfolds for His end time harvest. These servants will proclaim the word directly to the leadership of the Body of Christ because there is rebellion, disobedience and confusion in the church.  We can see God’s pattern in the Old Testament as He raises up His servants when Israel began to live idolatrous lives by worshipping idols and disobeying the law.

 Note the specifics of God’s instructions to Elijah the Tishbite, “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.”  This is a path of separation; a path leading Elijah into a private time with God. Oh the care of our God who knows our hearts and will always lead us to a humble place in His presence. As God’s children we can learn so much from this example.  We must be kept humble. God is speaking to Israel through the actions of Elijah; the flesh must be crushed.  The Holy Spirit wants us to see that our intimate private times with God will bring about God’s purpose and plan for our lives.

 God is raising men and women in these last days that are going to speak to the Body of Christ through their actions and lives.  He makes it very clear that they must first stand in the presences of the living God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The time is here!  Hide yourself.  This is a time of discipline and separation because God knows what’s ahead for His servants.  The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to show us the way. Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Let’s reread 1 Kings 17:4, “You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”  The Lord is always ahead of us, but sometimes we don’t see or hear Him because we are so far apart. Some of the things that come between us and our Lord are unbelief, fear, murmuring, questioning His presence, rebellion, and unconfessed sin.  Those who believed in the Lord’s name because of the miracles He did were not those in whom He confided; no it is in those who have faith in His presence and nearness that He responds to.  It’s in our nearness to our Lord that we learn and know what is in His heart. We see Elijah driven not only by the word of the Lord but by the affections of the Lord towards His people.  Elijah was being moved by the affections of the heart of the Living God speaking to the situation at hand; famine due to disobedience.  Elijah is taken out of his comfort zone within the Jewish community and now he’s being fed by ravens. It is well to remember that the raven was considered unclean as mentioned in Leviticus 11: 13-15 and Deuteronomy 14:12-14. However, here we see God’s love and care for His servant, sustaining Elijah by whatever means He pleases to show us that He is in control. This is divine sustenance. Many of us are not receiving the revelation that could sustain us in hard times because we have left the place where God’s blessing is; the place of the revelation of His Son.

 I have a burden for many of my brothers, who leave their home and country, the exact place where God put them, thinking life will be better across the border. Sadly, many of these brothers are encouraged to leave their home countries by their church leaders. Please don’t misunderstand, if it’s God who directs you to move - don’t hesitate; make sure it’s God and not your emotions or flesh which will cause you to miss out on all God has prepared for you at your appointed place. I have proclaimed the following scripture in various countries to counter the question of these brothers, “why wasn’t I born in another country where it’s easier to possess things and be successful?”  Paul writes in Acts 17:26, “From one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth.  And he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” God never makes mistakes, we make the mistakes.   Notice that a true man of God listens and obeys. Stop questioning our Lord!    We have been bought with the precious life of His Son and in times of testing and proving we must not question what He is doing.     We serve a living God who wants our trust in Him to grow.  He’s Elohim, creator of all things, even the circumstances and situations we go through.  He wants us as new creatures to grow in Christ.

Again we read Acts 17: 26, “From one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth. And he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”  God’s objective in creating Adam was that from this one man every nation would be created to inhabit the whole earth and glorify God. There is purpose in all that He does. How important to know that God is in control and right where you are the purpose of God will connect you to this glorious plan.  Verse 27 reads, “God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us.” Your purpose is to bring the glory of God into manifestation. You are unique; there is only one of you.   You cannot do what I have been purposed to do or vice versa.  I cannot ask the right hand of my body to do the work of my left foot.  Although my foot and hand are governed by the same purpose, they have distinction in what they do.  You are in the exact place where God has determined you to be and I am in my exact place.  Together as one man we are bringing the fullness of Christ to this world, connected by the Holy Spirit and united with the Father and the Son.  I praise the Lord, I worship Him.  His ways are magnificent and mighty. 

Do you know what it means to have the living God before your eyes?  Our Lord said, “If your eye is single, then your whole body is full of light.”  The meaning is to have one object before our eye; our problem is we’re looking at too many things.  He must always be before us; it’s not your interest, or the neighbor’s interest; but God’s interest.  God’s ultimate interest is Christ always before us which will bring forth the desire of God’s heart.

I Kings 17:5 reads, “So he did what the Lord had told him.” He doesn’t question or excuse himself because he’s Jewish; he knew he had to leave his comfort zone.  Elijah was of like passions as us, but he stayed there, he didn’t move.  How important to see the character, the discipline of the servant of God.  Our Lord said in John 5:19, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  This place was God’s will for Elijah; where you’re at is God’s will.  Elijah, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is revealing the relationship and intimacy that was created during his hidden years with God. Verse 6 reads, “The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”  Note what happens in verse 7 to prove Elijah’s character, “Sometime later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.”  Elijah takes part in the judgment that had come upon Israel, because of their disobedience.   The difference is he is not controlled by the situation around him; he’s being controlled and sustained by the living God.  He’s confirming what our precious Lord said in the wilderness as recorded in Matthew 4:4,    “... Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”   Your existence is not in material sustenance but spiritual sustenance which is “….every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”  The word of God is sustaining Elijah; not the brook, not his surroundings.  Even though he’s partaking of the judgment, God is speaking through him.  What is He saying to Ahab, Israel and us through this glorious experience?  BE NOT AFRAID when you see the resources of your physical sustenance dry up.  God says “I’m helping you to look to me, the true source of your sustenance.”  Are you willing to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you?  Always keep in mind that God is working with the whole Body, but He uses individuals to speak His word to clarify what He is doing. I hear the Spirit of the Lord saying, no one can serve two masters; either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.  Many have missed the mark because they have left their place of revelation.  Elijah is right in place being sustained supernaturally and does not move until verse 8, “Then the word of the Lord came to him.”  Amazing grace!! 

I hear the Spirit of the Lord saying, no one can serve two masters; either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.

My dear brother and friend, God is right there where you feel yourself isolated. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. Hebrews 13:5 reads, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said “Never will I leave you: never will I forsake you.” He wants us to become more a part of Himself, one with the God who created the universe.  The universe displays the glory of God.    He chose us before the world ever existed and He wants us to partake of that same glory; all that He is and all that He has.   Glory came from within His earthen body at the Mountain of Transfiguration, when the face of our Lord appeared as a thousand suns and His garment became whiter than snow. He is within you and within me. 

Elijah is now ready for the next phase of God’s process of preparation.

I Kings 17:9 says “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow there to supply you with food.”    The Lord was declaring his sovereign grace. If Israel was going to limit, hinder, and stop displaying the greatness of God, He would move on to the gentiles.  Isn’t that what our Lord did when they rejected Him?  In Luke 4:22 it is recorded, “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” But read the question they asked next. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” They were looking at the natural state of Jesus and never inquired further.  I’m moved by the Holy Spirit to say that there are many in the church today that are not able to discern whether they are seeing the natural or the spiritual. Jesus used Elijah’s story recorded in Luke 4: 24-26, “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “No prophet is accepted in his hometown.  I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut 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 in the region of Sidon.”    There is a remnant that is willing to pay the price; service to the Lord for the rest of their lives.

Your life today is the culmination of the choices you have made in the past.  If you do not appreciate what you are seeing in your life; repent and ask God to forgive you so that you may again receive the revelation to be transformed into the image of our Lord.  God is good, He is wonderful and He loves us. Together we are bringing strength to each other.  We are one in Christ if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and take us one step at a time.  Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, make your request known unto God.  He knows our heart better than we know our heart. He has one desire and that is to glorify His son Jesus Christ through us.

May the Lord take away the religious cataracts from our eyes so we can see Him as He is.  He is compassion, love, mercy, and faith; the True and Faithful Servant.

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