A few years ago, I taught that before Adam and Eve were even created, the Lord supplied all the food and air and everything else they could ever need. He didn’t create them and then think, “Oh, they will need something to eat and air to breathe, so I’d better create those things.” No, their supply was created before they ever had a need.
This is a truth that is true for every one of us. The Lord doesn’t respond to our need. He anticipates and creates the supply first, and then we respond to Him. Faith is just our positive response to what He has already done.
So, when Elijah’s water supply dried up with the Brook Cherith, he didn’t just get up in search of another supply. He waited until he got a word from God and responded by going where God told him to go.
I’ve been meditating on this principle, and I want to share with you some things from this story in Elijah’s life that I think will help you.
Let’s look at 1 Kings 17:9, which says,
Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
Notice that the Lord had already commanded this widow to sustain Elijah. This is significant. When Elijah meets her, she tells him she had planned to fix her last bit of food so that she and her son could eat it and die (1 Kings. 17:12). But the Lord had already commanded her to sustain someone else.
I don’t believe this widow was expecting to die. She had a word from God, and she had to live in order to fulfill that word. She knew the principles of giving, and that’s why the Lord chose her. In Luke 4:25-26, Jesus referred to her as being selected. This wasn’t just a random lady. There are reasons some people receive miracles and others don’t. Faith is one of the reasons. This woman was believing God. She had very little to give, but she had a word from God. Anyone with a word from God is not broke!
When asked by Elijah for her last bit of food, she tells him the natural facts—but not in unbelief. She is sounding him out, wondering if he is the one the Lord wants her to sustain. And the first thing Elijah does is ask for her bit of food.
I can just imagine the headline in the Jerusalem newspaper: “PROPHET TAKES WIDOW’S LAST MEAL—DEATH IMMINENT!” That’s the way most people look at giving. They see it as money down the drain. But God looks at giving like a seed. When we sow finances, they never leave our lives; they just enter into our futures where they grow and multiply.
Elijah wasn’t taking from this widow; he was giving to her. That’s the way we should look at giving. Although the Lord had spoken to her about sustaining Elijah, He didn’t send her to Elijah. He sent Elijah to her and with a message to step out in faith and give. What this woman had wasn’t enough for her need, so she needed to turn it into a seed and sow it. Elijah was anointed by God to be this woman’s supply by getting her to give.
I don’t know all of the reasons for the Lord doing things this way, but I do know that “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb. 11:6). God is a God of faith. He lives by faith and wants us to live by faith. It took faith on this widow’s part, and it also took humility and faith on Elijah’s part to make this request.
The Lord has spoken very clearly to me that He has people who will help me build student housing for those coming to our Charis campus in Woodland Park. But He told me I need to place a demand on them, just like Elijah did—not for my sake, but for theirs. Because Elijah gave this woman an opportunity to give, not only was her food miraculously supplied for three years, but her son was also raised from the dead (1 Kings. 17:17–23).
If the Lord had just continued to have the ravens supply Elijah’s need, this woman and her son would have died. The Lord supplied Elijah’s need through this woman for her sake. Likewise, the Lord has shown me that He wants to meet my need through you because He wants to bless you.
I know many of you have desired to be a part of what the Lord is doing in and through Charis, but like this widow, you think you don’t have enough to give. The Lord is saying give what you have to Him first, and He will miraculously multiply it back to you (Matt. 6:33).
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