The Daybreak of Faith; Part 2

February 24, 2021
Dear Visionary Leader:
Last week we began looking at the daybreak of faith I have no doubt that the Hebrew writer was thinking of Elijah, when he wrote, “Women received back their dead by resurrection.” One of the most colorful characters of the Old Testament is Elijah. God used him in a mighty way in a time when spirituality was at an all-time low in the land of Israel. James tells us this about Elijah. James 5:17-18 “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” Elijah was an ordinary man who knew how to get hold of the extraordinary God and answer prayers in his behalf.
We Are Not To Become Indignant By Our Pain
Because her eyes were not on the Lord, because her expectations were wrong, and because she felt guilty thinking maybe she was to blame in some way, her guilt and pain took the form of despair, anger or resentment, and then blame. She took the downward process. Pain is never wrong. It is only natural, and God expects and allows us to feel pain. The problem comes when we allow our pain to twist and deform us and cause us to react rather than respond to what God is seeking to do in us or in others.
(I Kgs 17:19-21)
“He said to her, Give me your son.” Then he took him from her bosom and carried him up to the upper room where he was living, and laid him on his own.
She was reacting normal under this situation. She had the normal dreams for her son. She wanted to see him grow up to manhood. She really wanted to die too. She is questioning God. She cannot reach God, so she hurls those hot jabs to the closest one to God, Elijah.
Had it not been for Elijah, she would already be where her son was now. But it would have been by that slow painful death of starvation. Her bitter words revealed the evidence of the bitterness in her heart. Everyone who ever has helped someone, especially in the ministry, has seen him or her turn on him or her. Even our Lord Jesus had some to turn on him. I am sure that some even heaped some very bitter words on Him.
Yet, Elijah shows true godly character. He does not blast her. He does not answer her charges. He makes a tender request to her. He wanted the privilege of helping the one in need. I am sure that Elijah had grown attached to the boy. And I am sure that the boy had grown attached to this man of God.
Elijah lays the boy very gently upon the bed, and now he turns to God. In verse 20, we read, “O LORD, my God, my God, have You also brought calamity to the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?” Evil in the Old Testament also has the sense of calamity. And that is the calamity meaning of the word here. “O LORD, my God, have You also brought calamity upon the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?” He brings this problem to the only one who can solve it, and that is God.
Notice what he does. And with this, the Hebrew text says he “measures himself upon the child.” I can just imagine Elijah getting upon that bed – this is not mouth-to-mouth respiration – but he lies down upon the top of the child. He stretches himself out upon the top of the child. And then, as he is stretched out over the top of the child, he calls out to God and says, “O LORD my God, I pray Thee, let this child’s soul come into him again!”
This was mostly likely a small room on the second floor of the house. This is a poor widow’s house. It was a place of poverty everywhere. That is, except in this room. This was the place where Elijah had an audience room with the King of Glory! Because the power of God sought in this room, the meal barrel was never empty, and the oil flowed freely. It was here that the man of God had met with the God of man many times. Someone has said that you can go to each great victories and revivals and take it one place- a secret place of prayer. The great victories of faith are first hammered out on the anvil of prayer in the secret place. Many of our battles would turn into victories when we seek out that secret place of prayer.
Our Lord’s Providence 
His question, “Have you also brought calamity . . .” expresses his knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all that happens in life, but the fact he connected this death with his presence in the home of the widow suggests the realization of some special purpose of God for him in this tragedy. He was focusing on the Lord in terms of the revelation of God in Scripture. God had placed another bend in the road, and he was considering what God had done and what the Lord might want to do through him.
We see in this amazing story the mystery of God’s providence. If you had lived in Sidon, in Zarephath, and you had looked all over that community, and you had wanted to pick out a home in which a calamity from God should come, I think of all the homes in the region this would have been the last one that you would have picked. Because, you see, the prophet of God is there.
Our Lord’s Provision
Now this is the same prophet who has told Ahab the King of Israel, it shall not rain, nor shall dew come for three years. And it’s been a long time. Many months have gone by, every month that goes by proves that this prophet is a prophet of God. And now he has come into this home, and there is famine in the land. And in that home, they are supplied day by day. Not only are they supplied because the prophet is there, but they are supplied in miraculous fashion.
Look at the woman, she just as healthy as an ox. And look at that boy, and those pink cheeks, isn’t he healthy? What do they have over there? If you go in and you look around, you’ll see that their provisions are a jar of meal and little jug of oil. That’s all. And furthermore, those jars and jugs are right down near the bottom, too. And yet, they’re healthy, they’re happy, they’re praising God. Of all the homes in the community, this is the last place you would have expected calamity to come. And yet, it comes.
(I KINGS 17:23-24)
“Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother: and Elijah said, See, your son is alive. Then, the woman said to Elijah, Now I know you are a man of God and they word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”
I imagine Elijah pacing and praying in the prophet’s chamber. Elijah gets up and he paces around the room. The Spirit of God takes hold of him again and he lies upon the child, on the bed, and he cries out, “O LORD God, I pray, let this child’s soul come into him again!” And he’s in very much anguish over this, because a great deal seems to depend upon it. For him, the woman downstairs is very distraught and disturbed and obviously in the throes of unbelief.
So, he cries out again, and he looks at the child and nothing happens. Elijah paces around the room a little more. Then, for the third time, the Spirit of God has burdened him deeply. Thus, he goes over, and he lies down upon the child, and for the third time he cries out, “O LORD my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come into him again!”
Elijah sees the limbs begin move. And the eyes flicker and begin to dilate. The pulse begins to beat and the soul returns, and the prophet of fire has rekindled the dead ashes of the life of this son. No doubt, Elijah was thrilled in his heart as he picked up that little boy again and walked down the steps and into the room where the mother was staying. In the midst of her mourning and bereavement, he says, “Look! Your son’s alive.”
We read that the woman looked at the child, and she looked at Elijah, and she said, “Now, by this, I know that thou art a man of God”—she has already called him a man of God once before. But now, you see, she really knows that he is a man of God and that the word of the Lord in his mouth in truth.
The widow learned grace by the supply of her needs through the barrel of meal and cruse of oil, but in the restoration of the son, she learned truth. She did learn the mercy and the grace of God in that daily provision. But she learned something about the greatness of God and his power to raise the dead when her son was restored.
We will never come to understand the God of our Lord Jesus Christ until we have realized that he is the God of the resurrection. All through the Old Testament, God is trying to get over to us is that He is the person who calls the things that be not as though they were. That he is the one who speaks to the dead. And he quickens the dead, and he brings them to life. And in the New Testament, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ is the God who raised him from the dead.
Elijah most likely had told them of the feeding twice a day by the ravens. This woman knew of the unfailing supply of oil and meal. Now she is seeing the crowning miracle performed by God through his servant. She sees with her eyes her son alive standing before her. I can imagine how she felt when she saw him. She probably ran and hugged him tightly. There was no question in her mind any longer that this was a man of God. I know that there was no question in her mind that there was a God in Heaven who cared about her. One of the most remarkable parts of this account is that this was a Gentile woman.
One of the laws of Bible study is the law of first mention. Is there some important truth that we can glean from this first mention of a physical resurrection? The months turned into years and years stretched into centuries. The centuries turned into a millennium later. It was in that millennium later that the resurrection of Christ takes place. It was three days after his death that Christ arose from the dead.
The God of Elijah lives still. He is still as powerful as He was on that day that He raised that child from the dead. He is still rising folks who are dead in trespasses and sins. God is still in the saving business.
I know that there are times when God answers prayer. I know that there are times when he reaches down and touches a life in which, humanly speaking, there exists no hope, because he is the God who heals. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. That’s why I want to pray when someone is sick, because God might perform a miracle. There are times, of course, when it’s his will and his way, that his life be taken.
Why did he stretch himself upon the body of that little child? To identify himself with that little child. In that child’s sickness and death, especially his death. And just as that child came to life, and just as our Lord came to life, so too we shall come to life someday if we have put our trust in him. Our Lord today is touched with the feelings of our infirmaries. He has walked where we walk today.
Moreover, Elijah has the wonderful joy of taking that child down and returning that child to its mother, because you see there is to be a reunion, too, of all who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  We are going to experience resurrection, reunion and rapture at the return of Jesus Christ!
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking
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