Has God ever placed you in a job, a location or a situation that you would never have chosen for yourself?
For me, that was going to Tyndale. It was right after university when I felt God calling me to go to seminary. However, my Sikh family vehemently disagreed. I was told in no uncertain terms that if I went to Tyndale to study theology – worse yet, Christian theology – I would be disowned.
Why would God send me there? How could God be calling me to leave the comfort of my home and family to do what? Study God? Really? Was I getting it right?
I didn’t understand this urge to go to seminary, and yet the call was clear and strong. After much prayer and guidance from a few trusted individuals, I moved to Toronto. Scared, penniless and alone I left the comfort of my home and family in St. Catharines to study about God – a God I was falling deeply in love with.
Last Sunday we began a series about the great Old Testament prophet Elijah. In 1 Kings 17:7-16 we saw how God can accomplish His purposes and bless us abundantly, as well.
One day while Elijah was enjoying the restful protection of the Lord at the bottom of the Kerith Ravine, the brook dried up, and his time of being fed by ravens ended. The Lord told him to go to Zarephath where a widow would feed him.
This new direction from the Lord didn’t make any sense to the prophet. Zarephath was hit hard by famine. I am sure Elijah was wondering, “Why would God send me there?”
Not only that, Zarephath was in the heart of Baal-worship territory and a short distance from Jezebel’s (the evil queen’s) home. To make matter’s even more confusing for the prophet, the name Zarephath meant “smelt." The city had a reputation for being a smelly, polluted place where iron was smelted.
Elijah must have wondered why he was being asked to leave his comfortable hideout and walk across miles and miles of desert to an awful, smelly and dangerous place.
But Elijah knew that if God had given him the order that God would provide all he needed. I love Verse 10, it simply says, "And so he went to Zarephath.”
For me, at that time, deciding to follow Jesus cost me my family. It sounds so dramatic and at the time, believe me, it was. I remember nights crying myself to sleep and yet knowing deep, deep down inside it was where I needed to be. And God in His time and mercy has brought healing to my family.
It is my prayer for you and me that we have the courage to trust like Elijah. I pray that we will obey God’s commands, even when it doesn’t make sense and it takes us way out of our comfort zone. What I do know is that if we do we will be blessed beyond our greatest imagination.
Listen, respond in obedience and be prepared to be blessed!
"I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands" (Psalm 119:60).