1 Kings 17:7-24
When I was a child there was a commercial that advertised 7-Up as the Un-Cola. It seems that the 7-Up company believed that they were offering something different from Coca-Cola. While Coca-Cola just wanted to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony; 7-Up was offering that which was different. Perhaps this is somewhat like our friend, Elijah; while the rest of Israel was content to sing in harmony with other gods, God was working through Elijah in unusual ways that led to unexpected results.
I. God used unavailability v. 7-9
Everything that Elijah is used to becomes unavailable. His brook has become dried up. His very sustenance in a drought becomes unavailable. His safety and protective location becomes unavailable as God has asked him to leave his brook.
God has now asked Elijah to move out of his comfort zone. He has asked Elijah to remove himself from all that which has been readily available to him and allow God to work through him when everything he needs has become unavailable.
Have you ever had those times when God has asked you to trust Him when it seems that everything has become unavailable and you must simply rely on and trust in Him? Everything that Elijah needed for his safety and survival was unavailable, but Elijah’s God was always available. Even when the brook dried up God continues to speak to Elijah and give him direction.
God used the unlikely
Not only does God work in that which is unavailable, but he works in that which is unlikely.
A. An unlikely place
God sent Elijah to Zarephath of Sidon, which was Jezebel's hometown. God had brought Elijah from the safety of the brook to enemy territory.
An Unlikely person
God then introduced Elijah to an unlikely person; a widow who would provide for him.
She was a widow which most likely meant that she had very little since a woman in Old Testament times depended on her husband for wealth.
She was a single mom
She was not an Israelite
She was unstable - She was ready to give up and die
We find God using an unlikely place and an unlikely person to minister to Elijah. Has God ever put you in an unlikely place, or perhaps H has used an unlikely person to minister to you.
III. God used the unthinkable v.17-18
In the middle of the whole scene of events the unthinkable happens; the widow’s son dies and Elijah gets the blame for it. How could God allow this to happen? Why now? Why when God had specifically sent Elijah to this woman had He allowed this to happen? The widow begins to question Elijah, and Elijah begins to question God. Perhaps you have questioned God when the unthinkable has happened.
IV. God’s unconditional love produces unconditional faith
Through all of the events, places and people that seem unavailable, unlikely and unthinkable God’s conditional love comes through and shows Elijah that his faith must be unconditional.
A. That which is unavailable doesn’t matter
God provided food and water during a drought
God provided safety
B.. That Which is unlikely doesn’t matter
God worked through an obedient widow woman
God worked in enemy territory
Isn’t it like God to take His prophet into Jezebel’s hometown and protect and provide for him there. God is so much bigger than the unthinkable, the unlikely and the unavailable circumstances in our life
V. God accomplishes the unimaginable
Because God is not bound by human limitations He can do that which seems unimaginable.
A. He created an endless supply of water and flour in a drought
B. He protects Elijah in Jezebel’s hometown
C. He prevents a widow and her son from dying and giving up
D. He brings life where there was death by raising the widow’s son back to life
E. A non-Jewish woman is brought to faith in Jezebel’s hometown. A witness is planted in the midst of Baal worship.
We have a God who works in unavailable, unlikely, and unthinkable circumstances and can do the unimaginable. God sent his son to a world that was unavailable to Him. He seemed like an unlikely candidate to be the Messiah. It seemed unthinkable that this Jesus who was all man and all God at the same time would die on the cross and take away the sin of all humanity and even more unlikely that He would raise Jesus from the grave to win victory over death!