Over the last few weeks we have been looking at growing our faith. Our key verse from Hebrews 11:1 says: “faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the last few messages, I’d encourage you to scroll down and listen to them - they contain some encouraging teaching on faith.
This week our focus is on a couple of examples from the Old Testament book of 2 Kings of people who showed courageous faith. The reading comes from 2 Kings 4:1-37.
In this passage we meet two women who both come to the prophet Elisha. Both of these women have met incredible obstacles. The first woman we encounter is a widow who needs a breakthrough in the area of provision. We see that her husband, a man who loved the Lord and was part of a group of prophets has died and left the family in debt. It was custom at the time that when someone was in debt their children could be taken as slaves in payment for the debt. We see she has no way of paying the debt herself – she is destitute with nothing but a small amount of oil. Her act of coming to the Elisha is one of complete desperation.
The circumstances of the second woman we meet in 2 Kings 4:8 are quite different in many ways – but she too has met a challenge that seems completely insurmountable. She is not in poverty like the widow, rather she is wealthy enough to build an extra room on their home for Elisha when he passes through. Yet she has a problem – her husband is old and they have no child to inherit their land and look after them when they are old. Because of her generosity and faithfulness to the things of God, she is blessed a child. We read that one day when he is older, the boy suddenly is struck ill while working in the field and dies. Her only child, a miracle in his birth, is now dead and her plight is seemingly hopeless.
Yet the response of these two women, and Elisha shows us the importance of having courageous faith!
I’d encourage you to listen along as we explore the miracles that these two women receive.
As we continue to focus on our theme for 2018 – Grow – it is important that we strive to grow our faith!
Scripture defines ‘faith’ for us. Hebrews 11:1 says,
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
Faith is about perspective – it challenges us that there are two perspectives from which we can view our day to day life.
Faith provides us a different perspective to what we normally see. It shifts our eyes from the temporal – the things that fade to things eternal. It shifts our eyes from our circumstance to know that we are called of God – we have the promise of eternity.
2 Corinthians 4:8 says,
So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
What a challenge this can be! We see this different ‘gaze’ displayed in a practical sense in a number of places in scripture.
Often though, as we face new things or unexpected challenges, we adopt a perspective of fear. The Israelites faced this same issue as they stood on the cusp of entering the promised land – and stepping into the promises of God.
Fear makes us forget that the God we serve is not confined by the challenges that we face or the circumstances we find ourselves in. When we seek God – praying that he will show us the spiritual realm, we take confidence in Him, and our faith that He will bring his promises to pass.
If you or someone in your family is struggling at the moment with a lack of faith – I’d encourage you to listen along to be encouraged and challenged – and cry out to God align your vision with His. You can be confident that He hears your prayer!
It is very easy to drift in to a small limited life where we simply go through the motions and live within our natural limits and abilities. Our challenge is to live by faith – living beyond ourselves. God calls us to live by faith and not by sight. This means being willing to join Peter and get out of the boat with no guarantee of success but a guarantee of God’s favour and blessing.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Three principles to live large:
1) Living Large is living a life that is not possible when relying only upon your natural abilities.
2) Living Large is living beyond what you can see.
3) To live large you have to step away from your safety net. If you don’t then it cannot be called faith.
Ask yourself: how large am I living?
Remind yourself that we serve a God who is able!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.