Faithlife Sermons

Mother's Day 2020 -- The Maxed out Mom!

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The Place — Vs. 8-9

Zarephath — Refinery — A refinery is a production facility where raw materials are converted into products of value by having their impurities removed. Whenever a material needs to have unwanted parts removed in order to be made into a usable product, it must be refined.
A sugar refinery, for example, converts sugar cane or beets into familiar white, refined crystals of sugar. An oil refinery takes crude oil you find deep down in the ground and refines it into products we use every day like gasoline or diesel. The word Refinery comes from refine, which is rooted in the now-obsolete verb fine, "make fine."
God sent Elijah to Zarephath because there was someone there who needed to be refined, someone who needed some impurities and insecurities removed, someone who needed a change in their life in order for them to be a useful vessel to him!
Can I tell you this morning Church, we all started out as raw materials and in need of Godly refining, Amen!

The People — Vs. 8-9

Elijah“my God is Jehovah” — Elijah’s very name made a statement about who he was and who he believed in!
Widow Woman — The Bible doesn’t give us her name but by informing us that she was a widow it actually tells us a little bit about her. She had lost her husband and in this day and time the husband was normally the sole provider for the family.
He was the one who made sure there was food on the table. He was the one who made sure his family was taken care of and that their needs were met but now this lady had lost that.
Now, she’s having to depend on herself and those around her to provide for her and her son and no doubt, right now, with this drought that has come upon the land and the people she’s struggling! She’s maxed out!
There’s no food to be had because there’s no water to grow any crops and the food that has been grown, people are using to take care of themselves before they take care of anyone else and she’s struggling!
As we’re going to see here in a minute, this Maxed out Mom was ready to throw in the towel! She was ready to give up completely! But little did she know, God was about to teach her a very important lesson; with God, a little goes a long way!
Listen this morning friend, maybe you’re sitting here and you find these same emotions running through your mind! Your maxed out! You’ve had about all you can take! You’re struggling and some days seem as they’re just too much!
Listen, never forget who it is that you serve! You serve a God who specializes in the impossible, Amen! You serve a God who can, when everyone else says you can’t! And if you’ll give Him control, He can turn your problems into provision, your fear into faith and your doubt into total dependence on Him, Amen!
And we’re going to see this very thing take place here over the rest of this chapter! So, now that we have a good understanding of where this is taking place and the people our teaching today is about, let us look next at The Petition made by Elijah.

The Petition — Vs. 10-11

Seeing as there was a drought going on, just asking for some water was pushing it but the widow woman offers to oblige him. Then Elijah takes it a step further as she’s walking in the house and says, “can you also please bring me a small piece of bread?”
Can you imagine what’s running through this widow’s mind at this very moment? Here she is, wandering around in her yard, wasting time because in her mind this will be last meal she’ll ever make for her and her son. So, she’s in her own world and she has a million thoughts running through her head right now and none of them end well and she is in full desperation mode!
She’s dreading the time when she has to go back in because she knows that she will have to look her son in the face, that sweet face that she has nurtured and watched to grow up, and she can’t stand the thought of having to tell him that this will be their final meal!
She can’t stand the thought that after this, their both going to die of starvation and chances are, her son will go before she does because he’ll be the weaker vessel and the thought of seeing her son pass away in her very arms is killing her! So she walks and she picks up sticks and continues to think of a way out.
And then all of a sudden, her concentration is broken by the voice of a man. She looks up and sees this man standing their watching her pick up these sticks and he says to her, “Ma’am I’m really thirsty. Do you have some water I can drink?”
Train of thought broken, she replies, “sure give me just a moment.” She thinks nothing of it and begins to head in, mind staggering back to the thoughts of her and her son’s last meal.
And then Elijah hits her where it hurts. He says, “can you also please bring me a small piece of bread?”
Uh oh! I believe in this very moment you could have probably heard a pin drop as this widow stopped dead in her tracks! Can you imagine what she’s thinking now? I’d almost ask what you women would be thinking but I’m scared of what kind of response I might get! I’d probably see some shoes flying my way or something!
The water was one thing but then Elijah goes and hits this widow’s pressure point! The thing that has been plaguing her for hours now! Look with me in Verse 12 if you will at her problem.

The Problem — Vs. 12

Notice what she says here, “As thy God liveth”. Here’s where Elijah’s name comes into play. Just by knowing his name, this lady understands who it is that Elijah serves!
As I was thinking about this, listen to the thought that crossed my mind…is your name synonomous with Jehovah? When people hear your name do they automatically associate you with God?
Listen I’m not talking about the meaning of your name but the thought I had was this…we ought to be living our lives in such a way that when people hear our very names the first thing that should pop in their minds is that man or woman is a godly man or woman! They are the servants of the most high God! Their God is Jehovah!
That’s what I want people to say when they hear the name Bobby Lee Hale, Amen! I don’t want them to know me for me, I want them to know God through me, Amen!
So, the widow responds and says, “as thy God liveth.” The problem was, Elijah’s God wasn’t her God or at least not yet.
So she begins to tell Elijah her problem. I don’t even have a piece of bread. All I have left is a handful of flour and just enough oil to make my son and I one last meal. That’s why you see me out here picking up these sticks. I’m gathering them to make us one last meal and so we can eat it and die!
This widow had a major problem and she expresses that problem to Elijah. The Problem with her Problem is that it had become her Priority!
Maybe you’re here today and your problem has become your priority! Listen, try as she might, this little widow woman had a problem that she couldn’t fix but guess what…the God of Elijah could!
And I’m here to tell you this morning honey, that He can fix your problem too! Whatever it is that’s going on in your life that you continue to stress over but have no way of fixing, give it up and give it to God for He alone has the power to save, Amen!
So, we see her problem, now let’s look at Elijah’s Proclamation.

The Proclamation — Vs. 13-14

He begins by saying… “Fear not!” Fear not! Here is a lady who has been living her last few weeks in nothing but fear! Even her last few hours have been spent living in fear!
Fear that their food is going to run out. Fear that her and son are going to die. Fear that she’s failed her son. Fear of what he will think of her and that his final thoughts while passing away in her arms form starvation will only be “mom why didn’t you do more!” For the last little bit of this mother’s life, the only thing she has known is fear!
And now this man, whom she’s never met before, is telling her to fear not! Forget about throwing a shoe, I bet at this point, this little widow is ready to take those sticks she just picked up and beat this fellow over the head with them!
But he says, “fear not; go and do as you had planned but make me some first and then some for you and your son. For the Lord God of Israel has said that until he shall send rain upon the earth, your meal and your oil shall never run out!”
This maxed out mother has now come to a crossroads in her life! She can go ahead as planned and fix her and her son their last meal and die or…or she can put her faith in the God of Elijah and allow His provision to take care of the problem that she has been making a priority!
Continue to live in Fear or put my Faith in someone who can overcome my Fear? That is the question she was tasked with! And for someone here or listening online today, I believe this is the same question you are being tasked with!
Will you continue to live in Fear or will you put your Faith in the one who can overcome your fear!
This maxed out mom chose Faith and I want you to see what happened as a result of choosing Faith over Fear. Look at God’s Provision in Vs. 15-16.

The Provision — Vs. 15-16

The Bible says here that they ate “many days” and down in the footnotes of my Bible it says, “a full year!”
By turning her fear into faith she fed herself, her son and Elijah for an entire year!!! And praise God, I love what the Bible says next there in Verse 16…the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord!
Can I tell you this morning friend, when God says that He’ll take care of it, you can take it to the bank and find peace and rest in His promise!
The Bible says in Titus 1:2 that God cannot lie! It’s not in His nature to lie! It’s impossible for Him to lie! So, if God says He’ll take care of it, believe Him and don’t worry about it!
So, we see God’s provision and we see how this little widow put her faith in His word but listen, just because you come to know Him doesn’t mean you won’t face other trials in the future, Amen!
Once we come to know Him, then we must grow in Him! Remember, being a child of God is a refining process. He takes out the impure and insecure in order to make us more useful to His Kingdom and sometimes the refining process isn’t always easy!
Look at the widows pessimism next in Vs. 17-18.

The Pessimism — Vs. 17-18

Everything had been going great for the past year. She had even allowed Elijah to live with them and then all of a sudden, one day her son gets deathly sick and dies. And her first instinct is to blame Elijah for it.
1 Kings 17:18 (NLT2) — She says to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”
How many times do bad things come our way and we automatically begin to blame God for it? God had just provided for this lady every single day for a whole year! Every morning she’d wake up and go into the kitchen and open the barrel of flour and there’d be just enough for one meal and she’d scoop it out and then she’d use every last drop of oil in the cruse and then at lunch she’d return and there’d be enough for another meal and the same at supper.
Day after day after day, God had shown her His power in providing for her entire household and now another problem has come her way and she instantly forgets about the God who has been providing for the last year of their lives and begins to fall back under the spell of fear!
If God was big enough to provide for her first problem why would she not believe that He could provide again?
You see, the problem was that she had gotten so use to the provision that she had forgotten who the provision was coming from! So God allowed a test to come her way to remind her who it is that’s in control and to grow her faith in the process!
When hard times or problems come our way their not always for our demise! Some of our greatest lessons are learnt in the valley, Amen! Some of your greatest victories will won in the valley!
And you know why? Because we aren’t alone in the valley, Amen! 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!
Praise God, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior this morning, you are not alone! And God was using this situation here to remind this maxed out momma that she was not alone!
Sometimes God allows us to hit rock bottom to remind us that He’s the rock at the bottom, Amen!
Look what happens next!

The Prying & the Pleading — Vs. 19-21

Elijah says, “give him to me” and then notice what the Bible says… “he took him out of her bosom.” This mother had already given up hope! She was clinging to him as tight as she could! She didn’t want to let him go! She’d already lost her husband and now in her mind she’d also lost her son!
No doubt she was beginning to question… “why?! What have I done to deserve this?”
Elijah takes the boy up to the room she’s allowed him to stay in for the last year or so and here’s where we see even Elijah getting some refining!
The Bible says he cries out to God and asks Him why He’s allowed this evil to come upon this widow by slaying her son and then in the next verse he begins to plead with God to allow the child’s soul, his breath of life, to come into him again.
This just goes to show you that sometimes even those who are close to God run into situations that they don’t understand. Elijah questioned God here. God was not only using this situation to refine the widow but also to refine Elijah!
Look next if you will at the Answered Prayer in Vs. 22-23.

The Answered Prayer — Vs. 22-23

And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah! I just love that! You see, when you get earnest and sincere with God, when you cry out to Him and plead to Him, He will hear your voice as well, Amen! The Bible says in...
1 John 5:14 (KJV) — And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:
I don’t know about you but I’m thankful to know that we serve a God who can and wants to hear from us, Amen!
God heard Elijah’s pleading and answered his prayer!
Elijah then brings the boy back downstairs and says to his mother “see” thy son liveth!
When he says “see” here I find it very significant. I believe Elijah was saying, look at him, touch him, inspect him, hug him, hear his heartbeat, feel the warmth of his skin…that’s what my God can do!
I believe Elijah, in not so many words, was saying the fact that your son stands in front of you right now alive is proof that my God lives, Amen!
I’m thankful we serve a living God today Church, aren’t you!
God answered and honored Elijah’s prayer and then we end this mornings message with this maxed out mother’s Profession of Faith.

The Profession of Faith — Vs. 24

She says, “Now I know” that you’re a man of God and the words you have spoken to me about your LORD are truth!
She not only believed in Elijah but she believed in the God of Elijah, Amen!
God took this Maxed out Mom’s fear and turned it into faith! He took her impurities and insecurities and turned them into a testimony that would leave a lasting impression thousands of years later on this Mother’s Day!
And the best part is, if you will put your faith in Him, He will do the same for you!
I’m not sure what you’re going through this morning, but maybe God is in the process of refining you at the moment! Why don’t you take this opportunity today to allow Him to take away your fears, your anxieties, your struggles and turn them into a testimony for Him!
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