This year, I was delighted that Lifeway made it possible for individuals to be able to watch Beth’s Living Proof Live simulcast.
So, this past Saturday morning, I logged on via my laptop and had an amazing time in God’s Word.
I loved that Beth’s worship leader, the incredibly talented Travis Cottrell began the day by declaring, “This is no ordinary day. Jesus has set aside this day to speak freedom to you!”
Did He ever!
Beth shared that she believed that God’s purpose for this simulcast was to ignite a huge revival of faith.
Her text for the day was 2 Kings 4, which chronicles the accounts of two women. One was very wealthy, one was very poor. However, they did share something: they each were in need of a miracle that only a delivering Savior could provide.
The first woman (who Beth called Girl A) had almost nothing.
Her husband had died and the debt collectors were coming to take her sons in order to pay off the debt that was owed. Can you imagine what a terrifying experience this was? She had already lost her husband and now she would lose her sons. I cannot fathom the depths of her grief and fear.
1. Personal desperation can jar us out of second-hand stories.
Beth shared that it is believed that this woman’s husband was named Obadiah, who heroically hid 100 of God’s prophets from Jezebel’s murderous rage. He housed them in a cave at his own expense, which may explain why he was in debt when he died.
For years, she had witnessed God move powerfully in the life of her husband. However, after his death, she was in the spotlight. She would no longer be living in the shadow of someone else’s story. It was her time.
Beth asked, “Can you recount God’s faithfulness to YOU?” She went on to say, “Your life should be marked by a dramatic, climactic, radical show of God’s faithfulness. It’s time to reclaim YOUR firsthand story!”
We were never meant to simply watch God’s faithfulness to others; we were meant to experience Him ourselves. There are no second-class Christians! God wants to reveal Himself to each and every one of His own!
This was a woman who was in need of a miracle when God sent His prophet Elisha to her.
The only thing she had in her home was “a little oil.” Elisha instructed her to go to her neighbors and request any and all empty jars. And not just one or two. Elisha’s instructions were to make sure she gathered “not too few.”
First of all, it is not easy to admit to others that we are in need. It takes both faith and humility to do this. Yet, it is important not to hide our need from others. God will use our very weaknesses and struggles to minister to others, as we share how He has met our need. This is the one of the ways that the risen Christ becomes visible to others.
As Beth said, “We have to embrace our need. Our need is our invitation to experience the miraculous!”
Secondly, this desperate woman was told not to just gather one or two jars, but many. We need to be just as bold in our prayers.
As Beth said, “Don’t ask for a few. Stop being so polite about your faith! Have you been attacked? Attack back with your faith!”
(Beth then shared that after being inspired by her son-in-law’s preaching on this passage of Scripture, she collected some empty jars and placed them all along the mantle above her fireplace to remind her that “there is a jar-gatherer in all of us. It’s time to find her!” ).
After she had gathered all the jars she could, her instructions were simple: “Shut the door upon you and your sons. Then pour out the oil you have into all those vessels, setting aside each one when it is full….when the vessels were all full….she came and told the man of God. He said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons live on the rest.” (vv.4-7).
There are all some seasons in life where we need to shut yourself in with faith. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Soak in the Word. Believe God.
Because she had obeyed God’s plan, she and her sons were miraculously delivered. There is truly NOTHING that is impossible with our God. He can take our little and make it overflow into abundant provision. He sees our plight and He ALWAYS has a plan!
Now we turn our attention to the second woman mentioned in this Scripture passage (who Beth called “Girl Z”).
This lady and her husband were very wealthy and they were also generous. They added a room onto their home for Elisha, so that when he was visiting the area, he would have a place to stay. When Elisha asked if there was anything he could do for her, she told him she didn’t need anything. She was “fine.”
2. God didn’t call us to “fine.” He called us to FAITH.
Fine isn’t the point.
Beth recalled a question her pastor asked when he was preaching on this passage that spoke to her in a powerful way: “Do you want to live in the supernatural provision of God where you experience the miraculous or do you just want to live a humanly explainable life?”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get to the end of my life and be able to explain it all. Where is the glory of God in that?! I have already been privileged to live the unexplainable and it is one wild, exhilarating ride! There truly is nothing like walking through this life with Jesus.
It turns out that Girl Z did have a need that all her money could not buy: she was childless.
When Elisha told her that she would have a son in a year’s time, her reaction was vehement: “Oh!” she exclaimed. “Please, sir, don’t lie to me! You are a man of God!” (v. 16)
In the modern vernacular, Beth said that she was saying, ” Don’t mess with me!” This was obviously a very tender area in her heart. How many years had she yearned for a child?
People in Girl Z’s situation learn to live like this:” Do the safe thing. Don’t ask for anything so you will not be disappointed. Don’t risk loss. Don’t risk getting out there where it’s rough.”
Beth mentioned that when we choose to live like this, we end up living a little life because we ask little and risk little.
“God has not called any of you to a little life! We are called to an astonishing life! Risk! Then experience a dramatic story and supernatural provision!
(She had us write out the word ‘faithfulness’ then cross out the word faith).
We want to find a way to be faithful without the faith. Then all we have left is fullness, which creates a vacuum that we try to fill with various things (ex: doing good deeds, possessions, etc.).”
She made it clear that she is not talking about material blessing and provision, though that is certainly part of the equation. Rather, “We are to live in the abundance of Christ!”
3. Fear is the crippler of a walking, talking miracle.
We all deal with fear to some extent.
Beth quoted Ps. 44:5 which says, “Through You we push back our enemies; through Your Name we trample our foes.” She said it is time to push back the enemy. Earlier this year, she wrote out 7 pages of “fear nots” in the Bible and read one page a day. You can find this on Beth’s blog and print out your own copy.
After doing this every single day, faith replaced fear…so much so that Beth did not even recognize herself three months later and she wrote in her journal “I have no fear. Who is this You are making me???” That is the power of His Word and His resurrection life that flows through our hearts.
“Are you still accepting the lie, ‘This is how it’s always going to be?’ Are you still drawing breath? Change is always possible! What could God begin to do TODAY that in 3 months, you could ask, ‘Who is this You are making me???”
4. Faith trusts that every call to forsake is a call to also take.
“In Christ, everything He asks us to forsake (such as fear), He gives us something to take (courage).
Just as Elisha promised, Girl Z conceived and had a son the next year. Several years passed and then tragically, her son fell ill and died in her arms. She immediately went to find Elisha, knowing that his God was her only hope.
You can hear the anguish in her voice as she says to Elisha, “Didn’t I tell you, don’t raise my hopes?”
Elisha came to her home immediately and attempted to revive her dead son. The boy began to grow warm again but he was not yet fully alive. Elisha’s first attempt failed.
What happens when we fail? When we believe Him for something and it doesn’t happen?
Do we run or hide OR do we get on our faces before God?
We cannot allow our failure become faithlessness.
The bottom line is that we want to control God… We want a list of things to do so we can do those things and have some control. But Jesus says NO! Get out there in the wind and the waves and find yourself some fiery faith!
5. Faith faces the fact that there is no formula.
If there was a formula, we would go for the results rather than the Redeemer. Pray with expectation! We may not get exactly what we’re asking for, but He WILL be faithful!
We live with mystery. He is GOD and we have to trust Him. Do you have enough security in Him to trust Him with the mystery? In the marrow of your bones, do you believe that He is good? God does NOT have a dark side!
If what we asked for in believing faith doesn’t come down, that means that something is up!
He never says no to us without a good reason! His ways are higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55).
6. Faith rests its case on the resurrection of the dead.
Miraculously, God raised Girl Z’s son from the dead! That was a preview of Christ, who would one day rise from the dead on our behalf.
If Jesus died and rose from the dead, is there ANYTHING He cannot do?!
Within you is the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead! Ask Him to fill you up to overflowing and do what only He can do!
Beth brought up a question that we may have as we read this account. Why doesn’t God raise the dead in our day?
She went on to share a concept. The wonders of God under the established Old Covenant were primarily external & secondarily internal. 2 Corinthians 3 tells us that the O.T. saints saw glory.
In contrast, the wonders of God under the established New Covenant were primarily internal & secondarily external. 2 Cor. 3 tells us that the N.T. saints see a surpassing glory.
Today, the biggest wonder He wants to perform is IN human hearts. WE become the miracle! Every single believer was stone cold dead spiritually and has been raised from the dead.
Do you want to be powerfully used by God? You can be. It’s up to you. Spiritually speaking, gather your jars. He won’t do a wonder without your cooperation. It’s up to you to receive it.
The biggest wonder God wants to perform is not just for you but in you!
7. The Lord speaks; many, many women spread the good news. (Ps. 68:11, NET Bible)
It is our immense privilege to spread the good news that Jesus came for us, that He lived a perfect life and died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserved so that we could have the priceless gift of eternal life.
Now get out there and spread the good news!
If God does not part your sea, He wants you to walk on it!