We’ve seen in recent weeks how God guides and leads us. God called Abram to leave what he knew and the physical place he was familiar with and move far away to what God told him was the Promised Land. Similarly, Moses led the people, following the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, and God proved again and again that where God guides, He provides.
God guides us and doesn’t lead us to leave us stranded!
Today I want to talk about exactly that… That where God guides, He provides. We believe that God is leading us as a church into our Promised Land, and we have to believe that He will provide in every way for us.
WHERE GOD GUIDES, HE PROVIDES
Romans 8:31 (ESV)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
We need to understand that God is for us. He’s not out there trying to mess up your life. He’s not trying to deprive you, He loves you and wants to bless you. When Moses needed Deliverance, God parted the Red Sea. When Joshua needed to win the battle, God stopped the sun. When Elijah was starving God sent crows to feed him. When Paul was shipwrecked God saved all hands.
God is for you, and He is for providing all you need for you! That’s why Paul said,
Philippians 4:19 (ESV)
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
My life is a testimony to God’s incredible provision. We have seen tough times, but we have never had God leave us stranded and abandoned. I have countless examples of this in my past as do you, but in a few moments I’m going to share 2 from this week.
The scriptures show us over and over again that we have a God who delights to provide for His children. However, that provision is dependent on us learning to give first place in our hearts to Him and His Kingdom.
Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
BEYOND REASONABLE DROUGHT
1 Kings 17:1-7 (ESV)
Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” And the word of the LORD came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.
In this passage a severe drought had come across the land of Israel as a fulfilment of a prophecy given by Elijah. Since the whole nation was going through the drought, with the accompanying famine, one may ask, what about Elijah? Would he survive?
The answer is Yes, he would, because Elijah was under God’s care and provision. So, how did God provide for Elijah in desperate circumstances? From the above passage, let’s look at 4 ways in which God’s provision came through. He will do the same for you and me too, and for Ignite, and for Lily House.
1. GOD PROVIDES WHEN WE OBEY
1 Kings 17:5 (ESV)
So he went and did according to the word of the LORD.
In verse 3 God told Elijah to pull up stumps and move to a new place. In verse 5 we read he did just that. God provided for Elijah because he was obedient to God’s Word. He didn’t stay in the old place and say, I’m not going anywhere Lord, just bless me here. No, he was obedient and followed his Lord.
How can you be obedient to God Word if you never read it? How can God guide you if you never listen and obey. We need to read His Word and meditate on His Word, and then trust Him to provide for us according to His Word. Elijah found a place of safety where God’s provision was there for him when he followed.
I have had Scripture after Scripture calling us to move Ignite, and I believe God is going to bless us. Where God guides, He provides.
Is there some area in which God is challenging you to implicitly obey Him? Do so. It just may be the gateway to His provision being released into your life!
2. GOD PROVIDES WHAT WE NEED
Elijah had only 2 real needs at this time; food and water, and that’s exactly what he got! God didn’t send him money, clothes, or helpers, only food (meat and bread) and water (vs 6). The food was sent through ravens and the water came from either an unknown brook, or a dried-up one that God made active again!
Obviously, others didn’t seem to know that water was available there, since no one else came for water!
God knows exactly what we need and He is more than able to provide, just as He provided manna from heaven and water from a rock.
And God knows our need too. If we are obedient, He’ll make a way. He’s the way maker, right?
When I took over this church, the previous pastor had signed an obligation to buy this building for an impossible amount… $550k. We had 50 people, none of them rich, $25k deposit, and to get a loan we had to raise $250k in 9 months, and God did it. He provided for our every need. He’s done if before He can do it again.
3. GOD PROVIDES AT THE RIGHT TIME
Never doubt God’s timing! Someone said, ‘God is never too early, He’s never too late, He’s always on time’.
1 Kings 17:6 (ESV)
And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
God not only ordered the ravens to feed Elijah, but He also sent them at an appointed time. They were dispatched in the morning and in the evening. They didn’t come in the afternoon. God had it timed to perfection.
We get anxious, when answers don’t come as soon as we expect, we need to remember that God knows the timing that is best. He will come through at the right time, if we hold on and don’t give up.
Joseph was raised at the right time from being a refugee, slave and prisoner, to becoming the second in command in Egypt (Genesis 41). An outcast called Moses waited 40 years in the desert before leading His people out of slavery.
A young Hebrew beauty queen was raised at the right time to become Queen Esther of the Persian Empire, so that God could use her to save His people from annihilation.
Esther 4:14 (ESV)
And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
David was raised at the right time from being a shepherd boy and a back-up musician to King Saul, to become a giant slayer, and eventually, King!
God’s provides at exactly the right time. He can do so for us, so we need to follow Him and trust Him. I have to say that selling this property, buying a new one, getting council to approve, organising loans, DAs, liaising with agents and boards, it’s has just about done my head in. I cannot cope, honestly! All I can do is trust God to do the impossible and do it all in His perfect timing.
4. GOD PROVIDES OFTEN IN UNEXPECTED WAYS
Who’d have thought ravens, who are scavenger birds who seek and hold onto food, would turn provider for Elijah?
One day years ago Fiona and I wanted to bless our kids. They dressed for school, expecting a normal day, but we kidnapped them and stole them away to Brisbane South bank and visited museums and galleries. Crazy thing, unexpected, but they still talk about that day some 15 years later.
God loves to surprise us too. Sometimes He uses the least likely methods to provide for His children. So, never limit or pre-suppose how God can work in your situation or challenge. He opened up the Red Sea for Moses, held the sun up for Joshua and defeated an entire army through Gideon and just 300 men, and God is still doing it today!! He can surely provide for you too and us in unexpected ways!
Some of us need to stop organising God and start trusting Him. I’m about to share a phenomenal, unexpected blessing from the Lord this week. You want to know if God guides and is in it? When you see a miracle, you know God is on the throne!
JEHOVAH JIRAH, GOD MY PROVIDER
Abraham waited a lifetime for the son God promised him. Then God asked him to sacrifice this son. This meant laying down his dream, and trusting God for His answer to His promise. When God stopped Abraham, He provided the ram to sacrifice.
Genesis 22:14 (ESV)
So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide” (Jehovah Jirah); as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
Abraham trusted God to move, then trusted God to provide. When God provides miraculously, you know you are in the right track. He did it for Abraham, Elijah, Moses, and so many others, and He will guide and provide for us too!