As I discussed Proverbs 3: 5-6 tonight during Bible study, I was sharing how acknowledging God is speaking who He is: The Great I Am that I Am, the first and the last, the sovereign God…acknowledging He is this big God.
THEN, for the first time in all my years studying this verse, it hit me – or rather was revealed to me – that acknowledging God in all my ways is trusting that His plan is best…His way is best.
Acknowledging God is surrendering to His will and being obedient to that will – even if we don’t understand it. But we trust Him to the point that whatever the outcome, we know he’s got us and we’re safe.
It’s, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” I acknowledge you not just to get me to the destination, but I trust you for the journey as well.
It’s the early morning hours and I’m up reading with interest a story of the prophet Elijah. God had just revealed to him there would be no rain – not even dew – for three years. Essentially, he was told: famine coming!
What stood out to me was not only God provided for Elijah during this time of dearth, but it was HOW he provided that was so interesting.
In 1 Kings 17 verse 4, God “commanded the ravens to feed (Elijah).” We are told In verse six that they brought him bread and flesh each morning and evening; meanwhile, he drank of the brook. God provided food and water via birds!
Later, God told Elijah to go to Zarephath. God “commanded a woman there to sustain (him).” Interestingly, she only had “a handful of meal in a barrel and a little oil in a cruse” for her and her son. Elijah – the man of God – comes along and instructs her to not only make a cake, but make it for him FIRST.
Now wait! This woman was a widow with barely enough. She wasn’t even making the proverbial end’s meet, so this request in today’s society might be considered, out of order, insensitive…ludicrous.
But clearly, this widow trusted this man of God and trusted the process. She did as told. She was not tight-fisted. Moreover, her obedience resulted in the barrel of meal not wasting and the crude of oil not failing during the entire three years of famine (v 14). Verse 15 says she “and her house did eat many days.” Wouldn’t our God do it??!
So much is wrapped up in this story:
1) God will provide in the most unconventional ways. You ever heard about birds bringing food daily? No going to the food store. Butler service!
You might think the school fees, gas to get to that interview for that job you so need, the grocery, the mortgage payment, the train ticket to go see your ailing grandmother, might come one way, but the beauty is not just when God shows up, but HOW he shows up. Expect the unexpected with God. Don’t box Him in!!! He is NOT man.
2) Despite recessions, despite increases in Value Added Tax (VAT), despite famine, GOD IS STILL GOD ALONE and will provide the entire time. It doesn’t matter what others are experiencing, if you remain obedient (this is key), if you remain faithful (also key), you shall not lack. “There is no want to those who fear Him” (Psalm 34: 9).
3) Even with your little…your only…your last, God is all sufficient. If you know without a doubt, He is instructing you to help someone in need, in spite of your own needs – do it. Sometimes God tests us with our little before handing us much.
Will you trust in the God of Elijah? Will you be obedient like the widow of Zarephath?
I remember when I was studying online for my Master’s degree with Kent State University. It was two years of financial sacrifice, but also sacrifice of my time. I worked all day, then went home to conduct research, write papers, do homework and respond to classmates. Weekends, nights, early mornings, holidays, were not mine. So perhaps you would understand why I felt compelled to tour the campus, participate in graduation activities for international students, meet my favourite professor and walk across that stage!
But what I really wish to get across is the fact that I had to make major adjustments early into that Master’s program. I found that I would go home, eat and then head straight to a book or my computer. I then noticed I would finish LATE at night or sometimes not really be finished, but just decided because I was soooooo mentally and physically drained, I needed to shut down the computer or close the book.
I also noticed that when it was time to pray, it was quick, just to acknowledge God at the end of the day and I wasn’t spending as much time in His Word. Note, I was doing something positive – studying for a degree. This would result in advancement in life, but while studying for higher attainment of something natural, my spiritual life was being sapped.
As a Christian, you know when you’re not spending quality time with God. You feel it. Just think about how many of us can spend over an hour at dinner with a friend or loved one, chatting about the latest happenings in our lives. It’s like nothing to watch a movie that is over an hour. And we have no problem spending hours – literally hours – at theme parks. After all, we have to get our money’s worth – right?! I sure do!
But what about spending time with God?
What woke me up besides the emptiness I was feeling, was also passing a church sign that said, ‘Don’t give God what’s left. Give Him what’s right!’ That immediately resonated with me and even to this day, though I’ve previously and since passed many church signs, that is the one which stands out to me. It is the one I remember and have shared with others.
I have found that it is easy to be busy doing good! There is nothing wrong with volunteering for charity, mentoring youth, studying towards a degree etc., but that quiet, personal time in prayer, study of God’s Word and meditation – more importantly application of that Word – are extremely important for spiritual sustenance and growth.
The Word of God is bread. It is water. Just as the body needs food and water to survive, so our spiritual bodies need food and water for sustenance.
I encourage you to be intentional about your time with God. We give the world and family LOTS of our time. What about God, who gives us life, health and strength to do the things we do?
As Paul admonishes in 1 Timothy 4:13, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.’ The Word of God is God’s blueprint for living a godly life right here on earth.