Have you ever been reading a book or watching a movie, and all of the sudden the storyline seems to change? It’s both exciting and frustrating isn’t it? You think you have finally figured out what is going on, and what is going to happen, but then you are thrown a curveball that changes everything. I have to say, following the Lord can sometimes be a lot like that! The amazing thing about it though is this, while the plot twist originally frustrates us, the end result is that we are right where we are supposed to be. It’s in those “plot twists” of God that our faith grows.
1 Kings 17 is our introduction to Elijah, a man who seemingly comes out of no where. Elijah is a prophet of God. He has been used by God to confront the evil within Israel, no matter who it was doing the evil act. God send Elijah to confront the wicked king, Ahab, and to tell him that it won’t rain until Elijah prays for it to rain. Then Elijah walks out, and God tells him to go to a place known as the Brook Cherith which is east of the Jordan River. God promised to provide for Elijah while he was there, and God was faithful to that promise. However, with a severe drought starting to grip the region, the brook dries up. Can you imagine being Elijah? You listened to God and followed Him, but now all of the sudden, it seems as though God’s provisions are going away. What’s next? How am I going to eat and drink? Then comes the plot twist. God tells Elijah to leave where he is and go to a particular city. Now, this city isn’t a Jewish city. Zarephath belongs to a people group known as the Sidonians. Not only is the city Elijah is told to go to seem strange, but who in the city God was sending Elijah to seemed even more strange. God says, “Go to Zarephath, there is a widow there who is going to take care of you.” I would love to have seen Elijah’s face when God told him to go to a Gentile city, and see a widow lady. Unless the widow had family who could provide for her, she was worse off than Elijah was. Guess what, she was worse off than Elijah was when he arrives. She is going to make a meal of sticks for her and her son to eat and then she expects they are going to die. Elijah tells her what to do, and promises that if she does it then God has promised to provide for her family through the drought. She does and God proves Himself faithful once again.
I am a planner by nature. I have often said I not only have a plan, but I typically have a back-up plan, and a back-up of my back-up plan. I am a routine loving guy. I like things in their place, I like order. Yet, that is not how God’s plan works out in my life. My guess is, God has thrown some plot twists in your life as well. So, how do we handle these plot twists when they come?
- Remember that God is faithful. God has already proven Himself faithful by providing for Elijah at the Brook Cherith. Now, He is going to again prove Himself faithful to Elijah by providing for him through a widow. God also proved Himself faithful to the widow, because when she obeyed, God provided for her and her son. The apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 2:13 that even when we are faithless, God is faithful, because He cannot deny Himself. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot lie. Therefore, whatever God promises, God delivers.
- It’s not our responsibility to understand everything. While we might like to know and understand everything that is happening around us, seldom do we. Even when we think we have figured it out, oftentimes, God will throw a plot twist in to remind us that there is a God, and we are not Him. We see in verses such as Deuteronomy 29:29, 1 Samuel 16:7, and Isaiah 55:8-9 that God doesn’t think like you and I do. He has a bigger plan than the here and now. So, when you feel like a plot twist just happened, and you are fearful or frustrated; just remember that God is faithful.
- Our responsibility is to obey God in what we do know. This is the other side of point number two. While we are not going to understand or be able to explain everything that happens in life; we are responsible for obeying what God has revealed to us. So often we want God to give us more knowledge and more understanding, but why should He? If we are honest, we don’t do a great job obeying what He has already told us. Why give us more information to ignore or become accountable for. Because with revelation comes responsibility. Therefore, instead of desiring to continue to learn new things, our prayer should be for God to help us obey what He has already revealed to us. Then, as we obey that, we can know that He will reveal more to us. It’s not how much of the Bible you know that matters. What matters is how much of the Bible we obey for the glory of God and the building up of His kingdom.
What was the last thing God said to you or showed you from the Bible? It could be from your personal time reading the Bible, what you heard in a Bible study, or in a sermon. Are you striving to obey what you learned? That’s where we need to begin our journey today. There will be plot twists throughout our life. However, it is simply God getting us exactly where He wants us for His glory and our good.
By His grace and for His glory,