Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel….I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King, thus says the Lord, Who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters…Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43: 14, 15, 16, 19
“Depend on it. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply. He is too wise a God to frustrate His purposes for lack of funds, and He can just as easily supply them ahead of time as afterwards, and He much prefers doing so.”
J. Hudson Taylor
Today’s Study Text:
“Elijah said to her, ‘Fear not’…For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: The jar of meal shall not waste away or the bottle of oil fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.”
1 Kings 17: 13, 14
“Man lost life by unbelief -- by not believing God’s word; and we get life back again by believing -- by taking God at His word.”
D. L. Moody
When God speaks, do I believe His word?
How do I put the words, ‘Thus sayeth the Lord,’ into practice in my own life?
“What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.”
A. W. Tozer
“The widow begins with her faith in the Word of the Lord and lets that faith dominate her entire life. Because of her faith, which is as firm as the faith of a child, the powers of the covenant of God are released to give her, by way of a miracle, what God promised, what He declared He would give to those who rely on His word in faith.”
M. B. Van’t Veer
In his book, Then Sings My Soul, Volume Two, author Robert J. Morgan shares the compelling story of evangelist Paul Rader who as a young boy traveled with his father, who himself was a preacher. At the age of nine, Paul accompanied his dad across the plains of America and it was this personal experience which lit a fire in Paul’s heart. Sadly, the flame was temporarily extinguished when at university in Colorado, one of Paul Rader’s professors “questioned the reliability of the Bible.” As Paul shared in a 1930’s sermon at Chicago’s Moody Memorial Chapel, ‘I stayed at the close of the class and with cutting sarcasm (my professor) gave me to understand that my simple faith in the Bible came from my ignorance.”
This crisis in faith soured Paul Rader on his belief in God’s Word. He left school and became a boxer, then boxing promoter which he followed by taking a job as a public relations agent for an oil company.
However, God had plans for Paul’s life and in 1912, as he tells the story, ‘I was walking the streets of New York when God spoke to my heart in a tender pleading way, just as He used to do when I was a boy. I almost ran to my room and dropped to my knees beside the bed…Three days and nights the fight with self lasted. At four on the third morning I took the splendid Bible given me…and threw it in the air above the bed, letting it light and settle into stillness. I had promised God that when the old Book became still on the bed I would give up and obey Him at any cost.” This is exactly what Paul Rader did, becoming one of the most visionary evangelists of the 20th century.
What I know Paul Rader best for, however, is a song I was introduced to as a young girl called “Only Believe.” I’d like to share the words with you for they apply directly to the experience of the widow in Zarephath and especially to the thought expressed in our study text in 1 Kings 17: 13, 14.
“Fear not, little flock, from the cross to the throne,
From death into life He went for His own;
All power in earth, all power above,
is given to Him for the flock of His love.
Fear not, little flock, He goeth ahead,
Your Shepherd selecteth the path you must tread,
The waters of Marah, He’ll sweeten for thee,
He drank all the bitter in Gethsemane.
Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot,
He enters all rooms, ‘the doors being shut,’
He never forsakes, He never is gone,
So count on His presence in darkness and dawn.
Only believe, only believe;
all things are possible only believe.”
As I hummed the tune to this familiar song, my thoughts turned to the widow lady whose life we have been studying. Living in a foreign land and calling on the god of Baal to relieve her misery was the pattern of her life. Then one day, seemingly out of the blue, she received a command, what we would call a word of authority, from the God of Israel, who invited her to come into the circle of His love. The God of heaven and earth gave this woman, who lived on the outside, an opportunity to come inside, to partake of God‘s covenant which He made with His children. Here’s how M. B. Van’t Veer describes the invitation God made to the widow from Zarephath:
“The promise made to the widow of Zarephath represents a special application of a rule of the covenant that is always in effect. The Lord promises what He asks His covenant people for and gives them what He demands of them. The tasks He assigns within the context of the covenant relationship are never without promises, and His promises are never without commands…This should be our comfort as we read what God’s Word tells us about Elijah and the drought…The life of the widow was drawn completely into the covenant law. This was her burden as well as her delight, her mandate as well as her promise, her duty as well as her privilege. She was now subject to the law of the Kingdom of heaven, whose citizens are promised, ‘To (her) who has will more be given’ (Matthew 13: 12, K.J.V.).”
Let’s not forget, a covenant is an agreement between two parties -- a sealed agreement, a promise. And so when God went to this foreign widow, someone deemed “outside” the covenant circle, He gave her His word. He told her that if she would provide for His servant, Elijah, she could depend on God keeping His word to her, for He told the truth. And His word was that every need in her life would be supplied. All she had to do was believe that what God said He meant. That what He told her would come true. She had to trust the God of heaven and earth. In the comforting words of Paul Rader, “So count on His promise in darkness and dawn, only believe, only believe, all things are possible, only believe.” In the words of Jesus: “Everything is possible for him (her) who believes” (Mark 9: 23, K.J.V.).
“Of all my prayers, may this be chief;
Till faith is fully grown,
Lord, disbelieve my unbelief,
And claim me as Your own.”
Fred Pratt Green
“I believe, although everything hides You from my faith.
I believe, although everything shouts No! to me…
I believe, although everything may seem to die.
I believe, although I no longer would wish to live,
because I have founded my life
on a sincere word,
on the word of a Friend,
on the word of God.
I believe, although I feel alone in pain.
I believe, although I see people hating.
I believe, although I see children weep,
because I have learned with certainty
that He comes to meet us
in the hardest hours,
with His love and His light.
I believe, but increase my faith.”
Livro de antos
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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