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1 Kings 17:1-7
ARE YOU THERE?
Intro: Ill. The context of these verses. Elijah is brought from obscurity and set front and center upon the stage of history. God takes a man who is an absolute nobody and He uses him to shake the throne and the nation of Israel. You see, Israel was in the grip of the pagan worship of the Phoenician god, Baal. Baal was the god of fertility. When the sun rose high into the sky, his followers believed they were seeing his face. When the great thunder heads rolled into the sky, his followers believed they were about to receive the blessings of Baal in the form of rain for the earth. Baal worship was a sensual, wicked orgy of the flesh and God hated it to its core! When God allowed Elijah to stand before king Ahab and boldly say there will be no rain, it was a divine challenge! By the way, it was Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, who was promoting Baal worship among the people of Israel. Yet, when this challenge was issued, God was telling Israel, “I will teach you Who is really God. It is Jehovah and I will prove it by cutting off the rain and there is nothing you, nor your god can do about it.”
As soon as Elijah stands before the king and issues God’s challenge, he is immediately told to go and hide himself by the brook Cherith. The word Cherith means, “to cut down, or to cut off”. God tells Elijah that just as quickly as He placed him before men, He will just as quickly remove him from view.
Elijah is told to go to Cherith, which incidentally means “to cut off or to cut down”. According to verse 4, God has plans for Elijah when he gets “there”. After being at Cherith for a time, the Bible tells us the brook of water at that place dried up. Then, Elijah is told to go to Zarepath, which incidentally, is in Jezebel’s old stomping grounds. God promises the prophet that He has arranged for Elijah’s needs to be met “there” as well. When Elijah arrives at the brook and when he arrives at the widow’s house, he will be “there”. When he gets “there”, he is assured of the Lord’s blessings and provision.
Tonight, I want to ask you this question: Are You There? You say, “Where is there?” I would answer you by saying that for Elijah, “there” was a brook and later a widow’s house. For Noah, “there” was an Ark. For Daniel, “there” was a prayer room that led to a lion’s den. For the three Hebrew boys, “there” was a fiery furnace. For Ruth, “there” was a field owed by Boaz. For David, “there” was the throne of Israel. For Paul, “there” was a prison cell. For Jesus, “there” was a cross.
In other words, “there” is that place in your life that finds you where God has placed you. “There” is His perfect will for your life! When you get “there”, you will know it! When you aren’t “there”, you will know it also!
When you get “there”, there are some things you will find out about that place. From this great chapter, I want to point out some truths about that place called “there”. I want to ask you again, “Are you there?” If you aren’t, I want to encourage you to find “there”, get “there” and stay “there”. Let’s look together at what the Bible teaches us about being “there”.
I. V. 4, 9 “THERE” IS A PLACE OF PROMISE
A. God promised Elijah that the ravens would feed him “there”, by that brook. He is told that a widow woman “there” in Zarephath has been commanded to sustain him! When Elijah went “there” as the Lord commanded, he found out that the Lord was as good as His Word!
B. When you get “there” you will discover that God always does what He promises He will do! He is a God Who keeps all His promises, Rom. 4:21; Heb. 6:18. God is as good as His Word, Psa. 138:2. He will keep His promises whether you and I ever get “there” or not. But, those who have arrived at their “there” are in a position to see Him do “exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask or think”, Eph. 3:20! Those who are “there” will see more than those who aren’t! (Ill. They are put into a position of dependence upon God that most others never experience! Ill. Elijah and what he saw!) When God puts you “there”, He will take care of you “there”!
II. V. 6, 15-16 “THERE” IS A PLACE OF PROVISION
A. When Elijah got “there”, the ravens flew in right on time every morning and evening with his meals. (Ill. Where did they get the food?) When he arrived at the widow’s house, he saw the Lord suspend the very laws of nature to provide for his needs and for the needs of that widow’s family!
B. When you get “there” in your own life, you will find that the God Who promises is also the God Who can bring it to pass! (Ill. He knows how to meet the needs of His children! Matt. 6:25-33; Phil. 4:19!) (Ill. Napoleon and “God proposes and God disposes!”)
III. V. 4, 9 “THERE” IS A PLACE OF PROVIDENCE
A. When he arrived “there” Elijah was reminded that God is a God Who is at work on both ends of time! Notice in verses 4 and 9, before He commanded the prophet to go to Cherith or Zarephath, He had already commanded the ravens and the widow! In other words, before there was a need in Elijah’s life, God had already taken care of supplying that need!
B. Those who go with God and find their “there” soon come to understand that they are serving a God who is not bound by the limits of time and space! He transcends both! Your tomorrow is His right now and whatever takes place in your life is the result of His advanced planning! There are no accidents! There are no coincidences! There is just the providence of God working out His plan and His will in the lives if His children. If we ever got a hold of that, it would change us forever! Why, because we would be reminded that our needs, whatever they are, are merely the evidence of God’s supply in waiting! When a need arises in your life or mine, if we are “there”, it just means that God has the check written! This thing that we are in is under His perfect control! (Ill. Never surprised. Never caught off guard. You’ll never see God scratching His head saying, “Well, I sure didn’t see that coming!”) (Ill. God never has to switch to “Plan B”! Ill. When that might have happened - 3 Hebrews; Daniel; David; Lazarus; Jesus on cross!)
IV. V. 9, 15-16, 22 “THERE” IS A PLACE OF POWER
A. Because Elijah was “there”, he got to see the ravens bringing his meat and bread. He got to see the meal barrel and the cruse of oil supplying the widow, her son and the prophet for many months. He got to see the Lord raise a dead child back to life. Something, by that way, that had never happened before! He got to see the power of God manifested before His very eyes, all because he was “there”.
B. When you get “there”, and stay “there”, you will be in a position to see His power manifested in your life as well. Many people live out their entire Christian lives and never experience His manifested power. Why? They never get “there”! Being “there” will sometimes place you in a situation that is out of your control. But, I will remind you that when life is out of your control, it is well within His! Those who are “there” will experience the power of God! (Note: I would just remind you that regardless of what you face in life, God has the power to take care of that situation, Matt. 28:18; Job 42:2; Luke 1:38! Getting “there” may frighten you because you may think you can’t handle life from “there”. The fact is, you are right! You will never be able to handle it, but He can!)
V. V. 3, 9 “THERE” IS A PLACE OF PROTECTION
A. Because of what took place, Elijah was a wanted man. Chapter 18 finds Ahab searching everywhere for the prophet, 1 King 18:10-11. But, because Elijah was “there”, he was in a place of safety and divine protection. Even in Zarephath, Jezebel’s backyard, Elijah was as safe as a baby in its bed. Why? Because He was “there” and he was under divine protection!
B. Friend, the safest place you can be is “there”! Dead center of the Lord’s will is where you need to find yourself! Why? Nothing can touch you while you are “there”. You are safe in His will! He knows how to protect His children, regardless of what they face in life, Psa. 23:4-5! (Ill. Some people refuse to trust the Lord. They feel that He is out to hurt them, or that somehow, He won’t look out after them. In truth, He can take care of you better than you can take care of yourself! You can trust Him, your best interests are His priority!)
VI. V. 9, 15-16, 22 “THERE” IS A PLACE OF PRIVILEGE
A. By being “there”, Elijah learned more about God and His power than he could have anywhere else! Being “there” was no doubt hard at times, any step of faith is! But, it was the best place he could have ever been because it afforded the man of God an opportunity to watch God work and to see God do things firsthand!
B. God’s path for your life may lead you through some treacherous waters, but until you go with God and watch Him do the impossible in your life, how will you ever know what He can do for you? (Ill. Mary and Martha, Moses, David, Noah, the disciples in the storm, the three Hebrews, Daniel! None of those would have ever known what God could do unless they had first faced the trials of faith and stood in their “there”.)
Conc: Are you “there”? Have you reached that place in your life where you can honestly say, “I am in the will of God. I am where He wants me to be?” If you are, let me encourage you to stay there. Notice that when Elijah arrived at Cherith, the Bible says that he “dwelt” there. That word means “to live, or to set up housekeeping”. Elijah went “there” to stay “there” until orders came to go somewhere else! So, if you are “there” just stay there!
But, if you have never arrived “there” and you know that you are somehow missing out on God’s best for you because you aren’t “there”, let me invite you to come before the Lord, to get before Him and ask Him to show you where “there” is. When He shows you where“there” is, get “there” and stay “there”!
Some folk get “there” and they see the Lord move in power and glory. They get to see the miracles and they see the Lord move in remarkable ways. Others never arrive “there” and they wonder why they don’t see the Lord move in their lives in power and glory. The secret to seeing His glory and experiencing His best is no secret at all. All it requires is getting “there”! Are you “there”?