Are You There? Part 1 & 2 – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

Watch Part 1 here

Watch Part 2 here

Are You There?

I Kings 17:4-9

Intro: Let me begin by saying that I believe with all my heart that God has a “there” for every child of God.

No matter how many options the world offers, God has a “there” for you.

No matter how many paths Satan shows you, God has a “there” for you.

No matter if you can’t see the end of the road, God has a “there” for you.

Even if life doesn’t seem to have a purpose or a plan, God has a “there” He wants you to find.

When we were growing up and our family would take a road trip, the catchphrase was “Are we there yet?”

I’m asking you this morning – are you “there” yet?

“There” meaning the place where God wants you, God planted you, God led you and directed you.

“There” is the place that represents God’s perfect will for your life.

“There” is the place that God designed as the place for you to grow, serve, minister, labor.

“There” is the place where you find the riches of God’s blessings for the obedient believer.

               A. It was a time of great IDOLATRY (16:29-32) – but God still had a “there” for Elijah.

               B. It was a time of great INFILTRATION – (16:31) the king intermarried with the Zidonians

               C. It was a time of great INDIGNATION (16:33) – but God still had a “there” for Elijah.

               D. It was a time of great INFLICTION (17:1) – but God still had a “there” for Elijah.

Let me add: the “there” that I am preaching about today is not just about one area.

When I ask you ARE YOU “THERE”, it can involve a host of things.

1. Are you “THERE” geographically?

QUESTION: Why is it that people think only pastors and missionaries have to move to be in God’s will?

I’ve said it many times, including in an interview on Friday morning.

I was asked what I would do if I lived somewhere in a state or city where there was no good church.

My answer was immediate: I’d pack up my family and move to where there WAS one.

Life is too short not to be where God is.

I know God is omnipresent.

But God’s glory is not evident and it is not manifested everywhere.

  • 1 Samuel 4:21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.

There is no way in the world I would let a job, or a house, or a barn full of toys keep me from being where God is!

Being where God is far outweighs being near my friends, my family, my favorite ball team, whatever…

ILLUSTRATION: In February of 2000, God changed my “there.”

The “there” that God had picked for me was halfway around the world.

I shut down my business, sold my vehicles, put my house on the market and moved my family to Africa.

In July of 2006, God changed my “there” again.

We sold everything we owned and moved to South Carolina.

In July of 2014, God changed my “there” again.

Trust me when I tell you – being in the right geographical “there” is more important to me than anything!

By the way – many of the great saints of God had to find the geographical “there” before God could work in their lives.

God in many cases had to move His people around like a chess-master moving chess pieces to get them to the place where He could work in their lives and use them to reach their maximum potential.

Example:

In Genesis 12, God commanded Abraham to pack up and move so he could get “there.”

In Genesis 39, God used Potiphar’s wife to position Joseph in the prison. (see verse 20)

In Exodus 3, God had to set a bush on fire in the desert to help Moses get “there.”

And the whole point of the burning bush message was to get the nation of Israel to Canaan – or “there.”

In this story, God had to move Elijah more than once to get him to the “there” that God wanted him to be in.

2. Are you “THERE” mentally?

When we are talking about somebody that is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, we sometimes say that “they are not all there.”

Meaning, they are physically in one place, but mentally somewhere else.

They are not aware of their situation.

  • Ephesians 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Fully comprehending and achieving God’s will for you life will hinge on your mind and mental state.

I Peter 1

  • 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
  • 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
  • 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

3. Are you “THERE” spiritually?

Being where you are supposed to be is important if you don’t want to miss out.

Illustration: John the Beloved was in the right geographical “there” in Revelation 1.

But that wasn’t enough. God needed him to do something of great spiritual significance.

Thankfully, he was in the right spiritual state.

Look at Revelation 1:9

  • 9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
  • 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

NOTE: He was “there” geographically, (Patmos), he was “there” mentally (for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ) and he was “there” spiritually (in the Spirit).

We now have the book of Revelation because John the Beloved found his “there.”

I’m asking you today – ARE YOU THERE?

Look at our text in I Kings 17

“There” is…

I. A Place of God’s Provision – vs. 4 “…I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.”

So many people are afraid of God’s will, as if He is going to starve them to death.

Where God guides, He provides.

Not just physical, literally food, but spiritual food.

Not being where God wants you to be will result in a disconnect between you and God

               A. The Source of the Provision – ravens

God works in mysterious ways.

He chose to use one of the most unlikely ways to provide for Elijah.

God met his needs with a raven – who is known for stealing food; not delivering it!

FACT: If a raven knows another raven is watching it hide its food, it will pretend to put the food in one place while really hiding it in another. Since the other ravens are smart too, this only works sometimes. In the wild, ravens have pushed rocks on people to keep them from climbing to their nests, played dead beside a beaver carcass to scare other ravens away from the feast, and stolen Costco customers’ packaged meats right out of their carts.https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/53295/10-fascinating-facts-about-ravens

It’s obvious that the raven stole the meat and bread. That we can understand.

What we have to admit is God provided for Elijah in one of the most unlikely and unexpected ways.

               B. The Substance of the Provision – bread and flesh

When God provides, He doesn’t do it halfway.

God has always provided the best.

For the children of Israel, He sent manna – called angel’s food. – Psalm 78:24, 25

He rained down quail for them to eat.

The point is – you won’t go without; you won’t lack when you find your “there.”

               C. The Steadfastness of the Provision – it was like clockwork.

When you are where God wants you to be, He will provide for you.

You don’t have to worry.

God doesn’t need to schedule a reminder on his phone.

God doesn’t have memory lapses.

God feeds the sparrows; He clothes the lilies of the field – are ye not much better than they?

“There” is…

II. A Place of God’s Proclamation – vs. 8 “And the word of the Lord came unto him…”

Let me be clear – God’s Word is not bound.

  • 2 Timothy 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

God’s word is able to come to you – no matter where you are.

  • Jeremiah 33:1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,

However, God’s voice is missing in many people’s lives.

Sometimes it is because they are in the wrong place.

If you are not in the place where God’s Word is promoted and proclaimed, you will miss it.

  • 1 Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

Sometimes, His voice is missing because they are not receptive.

In fact, God will turn you away from His Word and unto lies and deception.

  • 2 Timothy 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

II Thessalonians 2

  • 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
  • 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
  • 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

NOTE: Because Elijah heard the word of the Lord in verse 8, he was able to proclaim what God said in verse 14.

And the miracle of the barrel of meal wasting not was a result of the word of the Lord, WHICH HE SPAKE BY ELIJAH.

Being “there” will not only put you where you can hear God, but where you can speak for God!

“There” is…

III. A Place of God’s Promise – vs. 10 “…behold, the widow woman was there…”

What a blessing!

God said to Elijah in verse 9:

  • Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

Elijah took God at His Word and notice what happened next:

  • 1 Kings 17:10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.

It is important to understand that many of God’s promises are CONDITIONAL promises.

God promised to do His part if we will do OUR part.

Elijah went to the THERE that God told him to go to, and the woman that God promised would be THERE was THERE!

We many times want God to perform supernaturally in our lives but we fail to be where we can get them.

“There” is…

IV. A Place of God’s Power – vs. 17-24

At the end of this chapter, Elijah had the glorious opportunity to bring this woman’s dead son back to life.

The Bible tells us in verse 17 that “…there was no breath left in him…”

I find it interesting that this widow woman didn’t have to get out the phonebook and look for a man of God.

She didn’t have to call 411 and ask to check a listing.

She didn’t have to Google for a preacher.

Thanks to God’s foresight and foreknowledge and Providential guidance, a man of God was already “THERE!”

There just happened to be one sitting at the kitchen table.

Because Elijah was dwelling “THERE” – the “THERE” that God told him to dwell, he was positioned to be used.

He was in a place where God’s power could be manifested.

               A. It was a REVIVING POWER – vs. 22 “…the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.”

               B. It was a REVEALED POWER – vs. 23 – “…See, thy son liveth.”

               C. It was a REASSURING POWER – vs. 24 “by this I know that thou art a man of God…”

Conclusion: You might say, “Elijah hadn’t gone to Zarephath, that boy would have died that day and never been raised.”

That’s true. But hang on.

He found them getting to eat their last meal (vs. 12)

They were going to eat that last morsel of bread and die.

Not just that boy would have died, but that widow woman would have too.

But that’s not all.

See, God said in verse 9 – I have commanded a widow woman THERE to sustain thee!

If Elijah hadn’t gone to dwell THERE, he would have died too.

So, if Elijah hadn’t gone to Zarephath, they would have all three been dead.

God let Elijah save that widow woman and her son by GOING “there.”

But God let Elijah save that boy at the end of the chapter again because he DWELLED “there.”

See verse 19 “…where he abode…” and vs. 20 “…with whom I sojourn…”

Closing point: Finding your “there” will not only save your life, but it may save the lives of others.

Get “there” and stay “there!”