by Pastor Tim Burt
Hardships show up in every single person’s life at some point! Some draw closer to God in those times but even more abandon God! In 1 Kings 17:1-2 we read about Elijah, a great prophet of God. God is about to do something in the earth having to do with judgment over the ungodly leaders of the land. This judgment will affect the people and hardship will come. When you read a story like this, it’s good to try and imagine it happening in this real world that we live in. Of course no one else on the planet was aware of what God was about to do. Even Elijah, whom God was going to use, may have only had partial knowledge of all that would result. Elijah was a trusted messenger of God and about to be used by God to prophesy and declare the coming days. Once Elijah spoke those words, they would go into effect.
We read: “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.’ 1 Kings 17:1 (NIV)”
Put yourself in the shoes of someone living in that day—maybe a farmer or cattle raiser. Suddenly the beginning of a three-year drought begins. It will gravely affect everything and everyone. It is a judgment and it’s going to happen. Maybe you did nothing to deserve any part of it. Maybe you still love God like Elijah did and are living for Him. Are you still then affected by it? The answer is yes! This kind of judgment can affect everyone. There are specific reasons judgment comes, but to those that follow the Lord and love Him, they have to have faith. They have to have faith that God will minister to them and lead them through these seasons of life with supernatural protection and provision such as when Moses led the children of Israel to the Promised Land.
Can you imagine God commanding blessing to manifest in your life to provide for you during a time like this? Elijah was affected by the drought. And to make matters worse, he knew he would be persecuted by the King for even speaking the words he did! But God commanded provision and protection for Elijah as long as Elijah followed God’s direction. As soon as Elijah spoke the words God wanted him to speak, the Lord then said to him “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook at a place east of where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” (1 Kings 17:3-4 (NIV) It says God commanded ravens to bring him food. God will always command your provision when you look to Him in faith! Always! Are you leaning on Him? Are you looking to Him in faith?
Hardship takes its toll. At the end of three years, God told Elijah there were still 7,000 people who hadn’t abandoned Him to serve other gods. That’s really not very many when you are talking over a million people. Hardship takes it s toll. People give up on God. God does care and will manifest provision if they will seek Him for it in faith. Hardship may seem to touch your life. You may seem to suffer some losses, but in the end God will provide and God will redeem what was taken. The question is; Can you believe in His love for you? Can you stand in faith? Do you believe He hasn’t deserted you? The devil will sing your hardships in your ear. He’d like to convince you that God has abandoned you. During Job’s difficulties (brought on by Satan), Job’s wife said to Job: “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9 (NIV) Psalm 34:19 (NIV) says, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.”
Circumstances in life can discourage you. Satan has an army of discouragers—people who’ve become discouraged and practice “misery loves company.” Can you find personal encouragement through the promise of God’s word? Are you hiding these promises in your heart so that you can think about them at every point of discouragement? If you can, then talk to God about Him leading you into supernatural protection and provision and trust that He will provide what you need now, and restore to you over time what has been lost. Remember: Deuteronomy 4:31 (NIV) “For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which He confirmed to them by oath.”
1 Samuel 30:6 (KJV) “David was greatly distressed…but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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