OUR GOD IS MORE THAN ENOUGH
By Mark E. Hardgrove, D.Min.
Text: 1 Kings 17:1-16, Read vv. 13-16
13 And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.'"
15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.
If you watch the news at all these days, you see that the news is mostly bad news. I won't go through the list of problems our world is facing in this age of political unrest and economic instability. But I want us to notice something that is a self-evident fact, namely, it is easier to trust God during the times of plenty than it is during times of want. In fact, studies have shown an inverse relationship between prayer and trust depending on the economy. When times are good, people pray less and trust more, but when times are tough, people pray more, go to church more, and are generally more religious, but they tend to trust God less and have more anxiety.
When we know that we've got a good paycheck coming in and the job is secure, it's easy to thank God for His blessings and then go about our business. But when the brook dries up, when the ravens no longer deliver our meals, when the company starts cutting back jobs, that's when our faith is put to the test. Yet in these times of economic chaos and employment uncertainty, I want to stand before you today to remind you that our God is more than enough. He's not just enough, but He's more than enough!
I) THE NATURE OF GOD
That's the way God is. One of the names of God is Yahweh-Yuri, some pronounce it Jehovah-Jirah. This name for God means, "The Lord Who Provides." However, God doesn't just provide enough because our God is more than enough. David said in Psalm 23
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Look at that! Our cup runs over, because our God is more than enough. He doesn't do it half-way or part way. He doesn't even fill it to the brim, but David said, "My cup runs over"-more than enough!
In John's Gospel, chapter 1, verse 16, John writes, "And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." The Greek words translated "grace for grace" are charis anti charis, which the New American Standard Version translates, "grace upon grace." God doesn't just give us grace, but He has multiplied His grace toward us, grace upon grace upon grace. The New International Version translates it to say, "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." The Apostle Paul said in Romans 5:20, "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
I want to remind you today that regardless of what is going on in this world God is still on His throne, and He said that you are in the palm of His hand. The resources of heaven have not been depleted, there is no deficit in the kingdom of God, and there is no panic in Paradise. God is not worried or wringing His hands over the economic situation on earth. He is still large and in charge, and our God is more than enough!
In Matthew chapter 14 Jesus had been teaching the multitudes (about five thousand men, plus women and children), and as the day wore on the disciples were concerned about the people and they told Jesus that He should send the people away so that they could get something to eat. In verse 16, Jesus said to His disciples, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
The disciples said, "We have here only five loaves and two fish." In other words, "Jesus, we don't have enough!" Then Jesus said, "Bring Me what you have." Then he told the people to sit down on the grass while He took the five loaves and two fish and after blessing them, he broke them and gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. After the people had eaten and were full, there were twelve baskets full of food for leftovers. What is not enough in our hands is more than enough in God's hands.
You may not know how you're going to make it, and you may have to make some changes, but God said to give your cares to Him, because He cares for you. Don't fret or worry over the temporal things. Don't let the devil get you down. When things are at their worst God is at His best, for when we are weak He is still strong and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Despite the bad news we must continue to believe the Good News. We must remember that God is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). He will never leave us nor forsake us.
I can testify that God has always provided for me and my family. There were times when I didn't know how, and I didn't know where it would come from, but God has always been faithful.
II) THE NATURE OF GOD'S JUDGMENT
Look at our text. Most of you know the story. King Ahab had become king over Israel and he was an evil king, doing more evil than any king before him. The Bible translation called The Message says that Ahab was "a new champion of evil." He married Jezebel and began to worship the false god Baal. He even built a temple and an altar for Baal in Samaria. Then he built a shrine to the erotic goddess Asherah (Ash-eer-ah).
Ahab made God angrier than all the previous kings of Israel put together, so God sent the prophet Elijah to confront Ahab. Elijah stood before Ahab and said, "As surely as Yahweh lives, the God of Israel before whom I stand in obedient service, the next years are going to see a total drought - not a drop of dew or rain unless I say otherwise."
By all appearances Israel had been living the good life, but things aren't always what they seem. They were militarily strong and they were prospering financially, but because of sin, because of idol worship, and because they had forsaken God, judgment was coming.
As you can imagine, the king didn't want to hear that his plan wasn't going to work. He didn't want to hear that worshipping false gods was going to bring judgment. So after this prophet stood up and spoke the word of the Lord, the king and Jezebel intended to do harm to Elijah. However, God had already made provision for Elijah's protection.
God knows how to judge the nations, while at the same time protecting and preserving His people who have been faithful to Him. Even in judgment, God always preserves a remnant of true believers who have not bowed their knee to Baal.
God told Elijah, "Get out of here fast. Head east and hide out at the Kerith Ravine on the other side of the Jordan River. You can drink fresh water from the brook and I've ordered the ravens to feed you." God had a hiding place for Elijah. It wasn't in a five star hotel, it wasn't the Ritz-Carlton, but it was more than enough.
"Elijah obeyed GOD. He camped in the Kerith canyon on the other side of the Jordan and just as God had promised ravens brought him his meals, both breakfast and supper, and he drank from the brook." Not a bad life: Time to pray; time to relax; time to contemplate the plans of God, and God provided food and drink. It was a sabbatical for Elijah, a time of rest and rejuvenation.
Even though God was taking care of Elijah, eventually the effects of God's judgment on Israel began to impact Elijah's life. The brook dried up. Elijah was sitting pretty, but then the book dried up. Life was good, everything he needed was supplied, but then the brook dried up.
That may be where some of you are today. Not long ago, things seemed to be fine, money was no problem, you had no job insecurities, but then the brook dried up. God could have allowed the brook to keep running, but He didn't. God had other plans for Elijah. God was going to used Elijah's need to become an opportunity to bless a little widow woman who was trying to feed herself and her son.
Look at verses 8 and 9:
8 Then GOD spoke to him: 9 "Get up and go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I've instructed a woman who lives there, a widow, to feed you."
III) THE NATURE OF GOD'S PROVISION
Look at that again. God said, "I have instructed (some translations say "commanded") a widow there to provide for you." Notice that God speaks as though He has already instructed the widow. He said, "I have instructed," past tense, but when Elijah approaches her, she doesn't seem to be aware of God's commands.
Verse 10 says that Elijah arose and went to Zarephath, and just as God said, there was a widow there. One might have imagined that God would have had wealthy benefactor in mind, or at least a middle class man, but instead Elijah finds a widow woman on the brink of starvation, trying to get enough together for one last meal for her and her son before they die.
Elijah saw the widow and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup that I may drink." And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand." Doesn't that sound like a man? Honey, could you get me a Diet Coke? Oh yea, and while you're up, could you fix me a sam'itch?"
God said that He had commanded her, but look at her response to Elijah in verse 12:
12 So she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, 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."
God had indeed commanded her; she just didn't know it yet. God may have a job ready for you that your future employer doesn't know that he's going to give you yet. God may have a pay raise already approved, only the boss don't know he's approved it yet. Do see what I'm seeing here? Our God is more than enough, even if we don't see it yet, and even if the people who are about to bless us, don't know it yet.
Now it if had been me, at this point I would have probably said something like, "Well, I'm sorry. Let me give you what money I have in my wallet and I'll be on my way. I'm sorry to have bothered you." But that's not what Elijah said or did. If he had said that he would have robbed this woman of her blessing and his meal. Instead, Elijah obeyed the Lord and said:
13 Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.'
This woman's faith was about to be tested. Elijah told her to first fix him a meal, and then after she did that, she would have enough to fix for herself and her son. Not only that, but he promised her that she would have more than enough until the Lord's judgment had passed and the blessing of rain was returned to the land.
There's a message here for us. Do not fear. Do not hold back. Do not withhold your gift, because until we release to God what we have we will never have enough. But when we give it to God, like the little boy with the fishes and loaves, God always returns more than we give because our God is more than enough!
What did the little widow woman do? Verse 15 says, "So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days." She thought she only had one more meal, but when she obeyed the Lord, she had more than enough. Verse 16 says, "The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah."
I believe American is facing God's judgment. We've aborted babies by the millions, we've allowed sexual perversion to become the norm, as a nation we have turned our back on the principles of God until now morality not even a consideration. It may well be that God's judgment is here, but do not be afraid, God will care for you. Trust Him with your resources. Trust Him to provide for you. Have faith because our God is more than enough. In Matthew 6:28, Jesus asked
28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
This message is for someone here today who has become anxious, even fearful, during these times of economic uncertainty. God just wanted me to remind you that He is more than enough. He said to cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you.
This morning as we end in prayer, I want you to lift both hands to heaven and just give God all your anxiety and all your cares, and I want you to leave here today with a peace that passes all understanding. I want you to leave here with the joy of the Lord, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.