Putting God first place in our lives is nothing new. We often put God first in our difficult times of life. Both the prophet Elijah and a poor widow found themselves in a difficult moment. We can read this account in 1 Kings 17. This all took place about 860 years before Christ. There is a evil King named Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, ruling over the 10 northern tribes of Israel. Let me catch us up on the story then we will begin reading from:
1 Kings 17 NKJV
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."
· Elijah put God first because of his calling, his commitment and the condition of his life. Elijah was already being sustained by a miracle … The king wanted to kill him and his only means of food were buzzards bringing him flesh to eat twice each day.
· But – it was about a 100 mile walk to Zarephath through famine.
· Sidon was also the native land of Jezebel, the very woman who was attempting to kill Elijah – her father was the king of Sidon.
· And … what well known Jewish prophet wants to be at the mercy of a poor gentile widow in a foreign land during a famine? Probably not Elijah!
· But the word of the LORD – Jehovah Almighty – came to Elijah …
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."
· Elijah’s journey from Cherith to Zarephath is covered in one simple phrase … however – I promise you, like most God ordained adventures, it took more time to live it than it does to tell it.
· We see this widow cast in a poor condition of life in that she had no servant to gather sticks for her. And she is as yet unaware that she has been chosen by God to be the miracle resource for Elijah.
· Why would God choose a poor woman?
James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
· Thus begins her test … her opportunity … her service to God: “… bring me a little water …” said the prophet without shame.
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."
· It sounds so familiar to life that she, in the already burdensome condition of life as a poor widow possessive of nothing with which to sustain life, was required to bear another’s burden and before she could dispatch the first need there came immediately another burden even greater than the first and one for which she had no remedy.
· “Please bring me a morsel of bread …”
When God wants to bless someone He often finds someone who needs a blessing to bless them.
Note: Remember – we are talking about putting God first …
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."
· God loves kindness, consideration and concern. Ever so humbly the widow finds the least offensive and most understandable way in which to cage her reply …
· “As the LORD your God lives …” Although not a Jew nor reasonably a worshipper of Jehovah at this time, the widow nonetheless noticed Elijah’s ethnicity and profession and paid humble tribute to him by declaring that even his God understood her limitations.
· This widow was well aware of her condition but made no complaints or levied no accusations nor laid any blame to anyone, either man or God, for her woes. She simply stated the facts as she knew them to be: “… 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.
· Fear often stands as the barrier to fully trusting God. Fear is the opposite of faith. Fear freezes life and shuts us down.
· What would you attempt if only you weren’t afraid?
· In order to put God first we must first decide who or what is sitting in His seat and remove that from our lives. Fear of not having enough could have kept this widow from experiencing God’s provision.
· Note – in order for God to be God in our lives we must put Him first.
· The prophet spoke this challenging word to the widow: “Me first and then you 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.’"
· There are always promises and rewards which will accompany our displays of great faith.
· Faith makes things possible it does not however make things easy.
· Throughout the Bible we are given accounts of people trusting God and putting Him first only to find out that God rewards faith and works. James said it best – “Faith without works is dead.”
15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.
· What gave this poor widowed mother the courage to trust God and put Him first?
· Something must have happened on the inside of her that can only happen by God’s design when the Holy Spirit comes on a person.
· The word of Elijah was the Word of the Lord given to him long before. When Elijah spoke the Word of God to the widow it awakened faith in her spirit and she believed.
· The Widow trusted God with her situation, with her son’s situation, with her future and with her present day stuff. She gave God an opportunity to do what she could not do with what she had.
· Unless we are trusting God with what we have right now, we aren’t trusting God!
· She put God first … by faith.
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.
We have our greatest occasions to put God first when we are:
· Cannot meet our own needs
· Responsible for others
· Facing death
· Inspired by the Word of God
However, without regard as to your current situation of life, whether you are inspired or afraid, trusting God and putting His Word first place in your life will guarantee you rewards far beyond your own abilities to supply. God’s Word still awakens trust in us.
Hear the Word of the Lord – God says, “Call upon Me and I will hear you and show you great and mighty things which you have not known before. Come unto Me all of you who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest. Do not be afraid or discouraged for I am with you. I will never leave you or forsake you. Seek My Kingdom and My righteousness above all things and I will add to you everything you need. Trust Me with all your heart and do not be persuaded by your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Me and I will direct your path. Try me now and see if I will not open My treasuries to you in abundance says the Lord.”
Will you trust God today?