SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Follow His Instructions
July 5th, 2015
1 Kings 17:7-24
Who follows instructions anymore?
Playing a game?- Better follow the rules
Building a house or facility?- Better follow the plans
Sure, you can freestyle, but can you build anything really cool?
Making something worthwhile requires instructions
The coolest things you can make with LEGOS require instructions
Even the pros who freestyle amazing sculptures with the little blocks start by following the instructions.
Why do we think that we can just freestyle when it comes to our own life?
New Living Translation (NLT)
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Proverbs 19: 20-21 (NLT)
20 Get all the advice and instruction you can,
so you will be wise the rest of your life.
21 You can make many plans,
but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.
BIG IDEA: The most meaningful things we can make out of our lives require God’s instruction!
“I would rather have one God idea than 1,000 good ideas.”
Today, we want to look at a crazy story from the Old Testament to learn what following God’s instruction looks like in real time...turn to 1 Kings 17.
It focuses on a prophet named Elijah and a poor, widow woman & her son
Elijah was a prophet who helped people follow God’s instructions in a time when God’s voice wasn’t speaking to everyone.
Sometimes God used him to challenge the government and religious leaders and sometimes God used him to bless people who needed to experience God’s love and provision.
But we will see that God’s love, provision and instructions don’t always look like we’d expect them to.
1 Kings 17:8-24
New Living Translation (NLT)
The Widow at Zarephath
8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
The little pieces are just as important as the big pieces.
Elijah was able to observe the widow’s willingness to obey in the small things.
Small acts of obedience show that we are ready for greater things!
12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
The most meaningful things we can make
Out of our lives require God’s instruction!
Leave your preconceived ideas about how God works behind
Go ahead and do just what you’ve said,
but make a little bread for me first…
New Living Translation (NLT)
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Consider the future blessing that will come from your present sacrifice
For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:
There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers…
Seeing God’s plan come to bear on your life will always cost you on the front end, but the reward far outweighs the pain.
UNLIMITED THOUGHT If God is a God of more than enough, then His plan will always bring greater blessings than you are thinking.
God even wants to use your miracle to provide blessings for others.
So she did as Elijah said,
and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days...
Stick to the plan!
15 So she did as Elijah said…
Stick to the plan until it is completed.
It doesn’t do you any good to follow a few steps
and then decide to wing it.
17 Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. 18 Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”
19 But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed.20 Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”
21 And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” 22 The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! 23 Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”
24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”
The widow’s obedience and willingness to follow the instructions paved the way for the miracle she needed in her most desperate hour, but it was the prophet who provided the miracle the widow needed to know God was at work in her life.
We are the Elijahs of our day and time and it is our job to stretch ourselves out over the dead places in peoples lives so that they can see God at work in their lives and give Him glory!
MOMENT OF INTERSECTION
Where do you need to leave behind your preconceived ideas of God?
Where can you begin following God’s instructions?Where do you need to sacrifice so that God can release His future blessings?