18th October 2018

Elijah is Tested Again

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
1 Peter 1:7 (NLT)

Elijah’s brook had dried up—so God spoke to him and said; “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you” (1 Kings 17:9 AMP).

I can imagine Elijah’s joy at those words, because his source of water had disappeared and this new place Zarephath would probably have lots of food and water. This widow was probably wealthy and had lots to spare! But that’s not how things worked out! It’s interesting that the name Zarephath means a smelting furnace, a refining process and I wonder if he knew this as he journeyed to that village? When he arrived, he discovered that his hostess had only enough flour left for one small cake for her and her son. What were her resources? One little meal and then death! God had sent the prophet to a poverty-stricken lady so that his faith would have to be in God and no one else. He told her to make a cake for him first and reassured her that afterwards God would provide for her and her son. As she obeyed, the provision from God kicked in and the bin of flour was always full and the jar of oil never ran dry until the Lord sent rain on the land (1 Kings 17:10-16 AMP).

Just like his servant, God might send us to a Zarephath, a place of testing, a place of refining because he wants us to put our hope and trust and faith in him—to squash our self reliance, our self sufficiency, so that we can totally rely on the God who can do the impossible! You see, sometimes God puts us in a crucible and subjects us to a refining process. In past times silversmiths and goldsmiths used to do this with silver and gold to purify and perfect them. They would heat the ore up until all the dross rose to the surface and could be skimmed off. What’s left is so pure the smith can see his reflection in it.

So, has the heat been turned up in our lives? Are we being refined? Yes! God is lovingly removing all of our old self and as Job said, “When he has tried me, I shall come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous]” (Job 23:10 AMP). The purpose of course is so that we might reflect his Son Jesus Christ, in our every day lives!

Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you my Master, ready to do your will. (Hymn by Brian Doerksen)

Study by Cliff Neill

About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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