Steven Furtick - Waiting For God To Give Directions
This is an excerpt from: Enough Until It Comes
Everything you depend on that does not come from God will eventually dry up. I'll take it further. Everything that is not God, even if it's good, will eventually dry up. Even people who like you will get tired of you if you start needing them to meet needs that God is designed to meet. Some of the people who you are angry with… They are good people, but they are not God. When you try to make a good relationship a God in your life it becomes an idol. The passage in 1 Kings 17 is about idolatry. It's about what happens when you decide to run to the resource and neglect the source. I'm going to break this down so everybody in the room can confront it.
When I fill every spare moment of my life with social media, how can God speak to me? If I run to that, if that becomes my first resource and recourse any time I want to escape my mind then how can the peace of God guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus? You could say that about sex. You could say that about a pill. You could say that about a donut. I could go all day long. How long do you have? I mean, I have a big list of stuff that I've tried to run through, run to, that wasn't God, and… I said that accidentally, but it was kind of good. If you run to something that's not God, you will run through it eventually. It will not sustain you, it will not last forever, and it can only give you so much.
Now there's been no rain in the land. Why? Because the people needed to repent and come back to God. Maybe you do too. Maybe you need to say, "You know, God, I'm experiencing a dryness in my life right now that indicates the fact that I have been replacing you with something that is not you". See, I think dryness is often a gift God uses to direct us. God directs by dryness to show you, "Something is wrong here. This isn't working here. Wow… I keep putting more effort, more effort, and more effort, but I'm not getting more results. I'm not getting more joy. I'm not getting more peace. I keep doing more, and I keep feeling less".
That is a sign that God is redirecting you. To the text… First Kings, chapter 17, says Elijah is hanging out by a brook because there had been no rain in the land. You don't know what restraint I am using not to preach about the fact that he is suffering from the problem his prophecy caused. Did you catch it? He said, "There's going to be no rain". So God says, "Since I made you say there's going to be no rain, and since nothing can grow where there is no rain, I'm going to show you where to run where you can receive even though there's no rain". It works for a while. Eventually, the Bible says the late autumn rains and the early winter rains that were meant to replenish the land didn't come.
Now, we know by nature that the brook didn't dry up all at once. I mean, you don't go from a brook that's filled with water to a brook that has no water just like that. So every day Elijah went… This is a pretty good setup he has. Let me tell you what God did. God's like, "I'm going to give you water from the brook even though there's no rain in the land because you spoke a word to bring the people to a place, back to worshipping me. I'm going to bring you to a brook, and I'm going to let you drink from the brook, but you need to eat too, so I'm going to send birds". And not just any birds… Y'all ready? Dirty birds. "I'm going to send some ravens".
These are unclean birds. For a Jewish boy to eat from a dirty bird, that's a bad system already. But God would meet Elijah's needs daily through the mouth of a bird he considered unclean. He would meet his needs daily at the brook called Cherith. The Hebrew, the Kerith Ravine, gives the impression that he's by this brook, and every day he wakes up and there's something for him to drink. How many of you would say that in your life there were seasons where God provided new mercies every day in your life? Let me be more specific. You didn't know how he kept you going. You didn't know how. It didn't add up. It doesn't even make sense, but you had something to drink. It doesn't even make sense, but you had something to eat. It doesn't even make sense, but you got up and went to your job. And your job sucks. (Sorry Mom.) You didn't want to be there. You didn't ask to be there. But I have watched in my own life times where something that was sustaining me in one season started to go away in the next season. It goes away slowly.
The Lord is going to minister to somebody today whose brook is drying up. The thing that used to bring you joy or comfort… It's no longer bringing it to you anymore. Your brook is drying up. You're thinking, "Maybe I did something bad. Maybe I did something wrong". No. Elijah did exactly what God told him to, and his brook still dried up. There is no indication that God gave him an incremental warning. "In 14 days this brook will be dry". He watched the water level go down, down, down and waited for a word from God to tell him what to do about it. When it says in the Bible the word of the Lord came, in verse 8, it says nothing of the space before the word of God came where Elijah had to sit there and watch the water level go down while his thirst increased and his hunger was not abated but his resource was not replenished.
The Bible says that as it went down, Elijah, waiting for the word of God to come, has to wait in a place where he doesn't know he's going next. I'm preaching to somebody today who is waiting for God to give you your next step. Who is it? And you don't know what it is yet. You need God to show you your next step. Who is it? You need God to show you a next step in your life, because, "God, I can't stay where I am, like I am, where it is. This isn't going to work. I have to move on, but I don't know where".
Now you feel like Abraham, to whom God said, "Go to the place I'll show you". What kind of weird life coaching is this? "Go where I'll show you". It makes me think of Psalm 119, verse 105. Verse 105. That's how long Psalm 119 is. You get all the way to verse 105, and the psalmist says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path". But I don't really like the fact that God's Word is compared to a lamp to my feet, because what I really want is a floodlight, where I can see all the way to my future…10 years from now. Especially as a parent. "God, show me exactly where my kids need to go to college so I can know how much I need to save and when I need to put it there," and my kid is 3. But God is not going to give me the name of the college when my kid is 3 when I have barely gotten them walking. But in our walk with God, a lot of times we won't take a step toward a destination we don't know until God gives us all the details. That's not faith. He had to wait for the next word from God, and until it came God kept him sustained in a place that was enough.
It wasn't fancy, but it was enough. It wasn't bougie, but the birds got the job done. It wasn't 5 star, but his belly stayed full. God is sustaining some of us in a place in this season of our life where it's enough, but we don't know what's next. The problem isn't that God isn't faithful to us in this moment; the problem with us is we haven't read Matthew 6:34. Jesus has a word for everybody who is trying to project out into the future a promise that God will not give you until you get there. If I came to preach this message just to Holly and me it will have been worth me putting on this itchy Levi's jacket that Josiah gave me, because Jesus said, "Here's your problem". Look at Matthew 6:34. Y'all got it? "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself". Then I love this part. "Each day has enough trouble of its own".
So wait for the day to bring the trouble. Don't borrow trouble from tomorrow that you may never have to face anyway, because God might do something about it overnight. Yeah! It's Mother's Day, but I've got a word from God. I realized that a lot of us are not really losing the battle that we're fighting in the moment; we're losing the battle we're imagining is going to happen out there. Sufficient is the day for its own trouble, and sufficient is today's strength for today's struggles, but today's strength is not sufficient for tomorrow's struggles. God will not give you the entire plan.