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With New Testament Eyes: 35 - Three Examples of Faith

By Henry Mahan


      1 Kings 17:8-16; 1 Kings 18:29-39; 1 Kings 20:31-32

      Long ago, when the Roman Empire flourished, someone said, 'All roads lead to Rome.' Those who study the Scriptures with a desire to know the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent (John 17:1-3), will do well to learn this first: in the Scriptures all roads lead to Christ--his person, glory, and redemptive work (Acts 10:43; John 5:39). From Genesis to Malachi the Old Testament Scriptures declare, 'Someone is coming;' the four gospels declare, 'He has come, behold, the Lamb of God;' and the epistles declare, 'He is coming again.' I want you to consider three examples of faith (recorded in 1 Kings) and how they relate to us; the faith of the elect, the faith of the evangelist, and the faith of the enemy.

      1. The faith of the elect

      1 Kings 17:8-16. Our Lord Jesus referred to this widow in Luke 4:25-26, when he preached in Nazareth and set forth his sovereign power and mercy as the Messiah (Rom. 9: 14-18).

      God sent a famine upon the land for many years. The word of the Lord came to Elijah, God's prophet, to go eastward and hide by the brook Cherith, and there he would be fed by the ravens and drink of the brook (1 Kings 17:1-4). After a time, because there was no rain, the brook dried up (1 Kings 17:7); and the Lord commanded the prophet to go to Sarepta, to a city of Sidon. 'Behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee' (1 Kings 17:9). Elijah found the woman gathering sticks to build a fire. The prophet told her to fetch him a little water in a vessel, and as she went to get the water, he said, 'And bring me a morsel of bread.' The woman replied, 'All I have left is a handful of meal in a barrel and a little oil in a cruse. I am gathering those sticks to build a fire and cook one last cake for me and my son. It will be our last meal, and then we die.' Elijah answered, 'Don't be afraid; go build the fire and prepare the meal; but make me a little cake first and bring it to me; then prepare one for you and your son. For thus saith the Lord, the barrel shall not be empty and the oil shall not cease until God sends rain' (1 Kings 17:10-14). The widow did as she was commanded, and the promise of God was fulfilled toward her (1 Kings 17:15-16).

      How wonderful and sovereign are the ways of our God. He will reject the strength and wisdom of the flesh that he may have all the glory (1 Cor. 1:25-31). In the time of famine, he would send his prophet to a Gentile city, to the poorest of women, a widow, to be fed and cared for.

      This woman was one of God's elect; for, though she knew it not, God had already prepared her heart to receive his prophet and his word. 'I have commanded her' (Psalm 110:3; Gal. 1:15-16; 2 Thess. 2:13).

      The woman heard the words of the prophet and the promise of God to bless and sustain her; and she believed, the evidence of her faith being that she prepared a cake for the prophet first and brought it to him. Like Abraham of old, she believed God against all human reason, logic, and hope and staggered not at his promise (Rom. 4:17-25).

      The faith of God's elect might be summed up in this way:

      Knowledge - 'I know whom I have believed.'

      Confidence - 'I am persuaded he is able to keep.'

      Committal - 'That which I have committed unto him.' (2 Tim. 1:12.)

      2. The faith of the evangelist

      1 Kings 18:29-39. In the third year of the great famine, Elijah called the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the groves to Mt. Carmel and challenged them to call on their gods, and he would call on the name of the Lord, and the God that answered by fire, let him be God (1 Kings 18:19-24). After the false prophets had utterly failed, after crying all day, Elijah's confidence and faith in the living God is seen in two things: (a) His soaking the sacrifice, wood, and altar with twelve barrels of water (1 Kings 18:30-35).

      (b) His brief, God-glorifying, sixty-three word prayer (1 Kings 18:36-37). 'The fire of the Lord fell.' 'I believe, Lord, help thou mine unbelief.'

      3. The faith of the enemy

      1 Kings 20:31-32. Ahab sinned against God in sparing the wicked Benhadad, whom God had appointed to destruction, but the faith of these enemies in the mercy of the king of Israel and the way that they came to him is certainly a lesson for all guilty sinners who seek the mercy of God. Come in the sackcloth of repentance, with a rope about your neck, justifying God's right to destroy you, and owning your just condemnation (Luke 23:39- 43). God is plenteous in mercy to those who seek mercy (Psalm 130:2-8), but the proud he will send away empty. Death, the wages of sin, we have justly earned and deserve; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord (Rom. 6:23).

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant

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