"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « How a Right Understanding of the Doctrine of the Fall Can Promote Love | Main | The Vital Necessity of Knowing the Power of Truth in our Own Experience »

    On this Independence Day

    May the Lord really bless you and your family this Independence Day.

    When the Lord called Elijah to hide from the king's wrath and find water at a time when the land was under the judgment of drought, God directed him to a brook called Cherith. Yet, in what I am sure was a situation that brought great anxiety to Elijah, day by day he watched the water level shrinking further and further. Lets remember that this very drought was the result of the words God had instructed him to proclaim. What a challenge this must have been!

    Elijah Predicts a Drought

    1 Kings 17:1 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.” 2 And the word of the Lord came to him: 3 “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 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. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

    Yet even in the midst of famine, God had not forgotten his man and had provided means for supplying Elijah's needs, through a very unusual source - a widow who was preparing what she thought was her last ever meal before death. Think about that. This widow, at the very end of herself, was God's appointed means of provision for His prophet. God was surely showing Elijah that He has countless ways of providing, but also showing this widow such amazing love and mercy (though she might not be aware of this when asked to share her last meal with him). How tender He is with His people even as they face great trials and hardships. How great is His love.

    God provided the Cherith brook for Elijah, but this means of provision was ending, and so God instructed Elijah to leave that place and go to another.

    The Widow of Zarephath

    1 Kings 17: 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now 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.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

    The initial drought came as an act of judgment on the land because of the sins of King Ahab (which we could read about in the previous chapter of 1 Kings 16). Perhaps you are experiencing a drought of a different kind. It may be some special season that has passed; losing a job or some illness or relationship problem. Some of these situations are extremely heartbreaking and challenging; others the Lord lifts quickly by the prayer of faith. Yet whatever we face, our God is in the heavens and He does what pleases Him. He wants us to look to Him as our Source recognizing that He has many different means of supply for us. Our mistake is to put our confidence in the means rather than Him as the Source. Whatever God does to provide for us we need to see it as simply a temporary means of supply (sometimes it lasts a very short time, while at other times it can last decades before that particular brook dries up... but it is simply a means nonetheless and not the Source). God Himself is our Source, Jehovah Jireh, our Provider!

    Let us remember that He alone is our Source both as individuals and families and even as a nation. Here in these United States of America, we remain, one nation under God.

    God bless, and happy 4th of July to you and yours.

    P.S. As we celebrate the great freedom we have in our country today, please remember the victims of a horrific attack against Christians in Pakistan that has left over a hundred houses vandalized and eleven people acid-scarred. See here.

    Posted by John Samson on July 4, 2009 10:28 AM

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