Steven Furtick — The Drop Zone
There were times that God provided for you when you were not even looking for Him to parachute into your situation, and no matter what happens around me, I can always be confident in the Spirit of God, which is my supply. I've got the drop. I will provide for you, in the worst situations. I will provide for you. Maybe not through who you expected me to provide through, but I will provide. That's my name, Jehovah Jireh.
Look up and see it. When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far south of Judah. Huh? What? Must be talking about Jonah. I know Elijah's not going to run, especially with revival breaking out in the nation. But, no, he did. He did. Strong faith doesn't preclude weak moments. Weak moments don't preclude strong faith. Sometimes the two have to walk side by side. And he is running. Forrest Gump has nothing on this prophet. Running.
Like we talked about last week, he's running from the rain. Now, his faith released the rain, and just as the nation is coming out of a drought, he's entering into one. It's not the kind you can see. It's not that he's having to sell stuff on eBay to pay the light bill. It's not that kind of drought anymore. It is that inner wilderness that many of us live in, and nobody can see it, and since they can't see it, they sometimes can't encourage us in it, because we're dealing with it all alone.
And, Elijah is like, not just going around the corner because he just received a death threat from Jezebel, who he knows good and well can't kill him, because he just destroyed all of her prophets and the gods that she swears by on a mountain called Carmel, but the one who had the faith to climb to Mount Carmel is now starting to cave. His faith is starting to cave. His courage, his emotional resolve, is starting to implode.
And it says that not only did he run, but he left his young servant there in Beersheba, and then he went on into the desert, another day's journey. He came to a lone broom bush, and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all, to just die. So, it's actually a very serious Scripture. I'm just trying to bring some, hopefully, a little bit of a lift to it as we get into it today. But, he has come to this place called enough. Enough. I've had enough.
Listen how bad it is. "Take my life, I'm ready to join my ancestors in the grave." Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush, and suddenly, an angel shook him awake." I'm going to try to do that today, okay? "And said, "Get up and eat"."
I want to minister to you for a few moments, and my subject is the drop zone. The drop zone. Father, bless your Word, open hearts to hear it, in Jesus' name, Amen. Touch somebody and say, God's trying to hook you up, and then take a seat, please.
Where I first heard this term, drop zone, was from my brother. My brother serves in the United States Air Force. Oh, you can clap for that. Yeah, it takes a lot of pressure off of me, because I want my mom to be proud of her children, and she only has two. And so, if I screw it up, she can always say, but I have a son in the Air Force.
And so, you know, so that's kind of cool. I never really understood what he did. He's been in the Air Force for like, 15 years or so, like that. And, he tries to explain what he does. I know it has something to do with an airplane called the C-130? Yeah.
And, he drops stuff, and he was telling me about it one day. It's not that I don't care about what he does, it's just that sometimes I don't understand what he's trying to tell me, because he's bad at communication. And, he was telling me one thing that they did, which again, I don't know, it makes me feel like maybe what I do isn't that important, because he was telling me about this one mission, and he got my attention.
He was saying that for Operation Christmas Drop, they flew out and went to, like the remotest part of the earth or something like that. The Micronesian Islands, did I say that correctly? Is that what it's called? I don't know. Let's pretend like it is all together, okay? Since none of us know, we'll be collectively ignorant.
And, he said they just dropped stuff for people who would have never received anything for Christmas otherwise, and I was like, man, that's cool. You did that? And he's like, yeah. He explained it to me. He said they had to get down really low, like, I think he said 300 feet, which I didn't even know you could go down that low, unless you were landing, but I don't know anything, so what do I know?
And, he said they have to first find it, and he said, we have to find the drop zone. Now, when he said drop zone, my mind went to preaching, because again, I've never done anything that cool in my life. I mean, he told me he's dropped Humvees off of the airplane. He's a crew member on that plane, the C-130. He said that they have dropped refrigerators with concrete for target practice.
Big, heavy refrigerators off the plane? I've never done anything like that in my life. So, he's telling me about all of these air drops, and I'm like, well, yeah... well, I drop wisdom. So what? You drop boats, I drop truth bombs. Amen. Aren't you proud of me, mom? Mama.
And, he's telling me all of these things, so I'm thinking with my preacher's mind. I'm like, drop zone, the term just got my attention. And I was thinking about that in a preacherly way. I was thinking about that as it relates to God's provision in our life, and you know, isn't it cool how sometimes God will get you what you need where you are? That's how I was thinking about it, because... yeah, for me, I feel like the Word of God is what I live off of, and it is amazing to me how many times in my life, even when I have felt so remote from God.
I know you've never been distant from God. You stay close to Him through daily devotion and prayer, meditation, fasting, and living a righteous life. But sometimes, like me and Elijah, like these kinds of people, we run to the Micronesian Islands, spiritually speaking now, and how does God find us? Like, how does He locate us? And I know He's God, and He's everywhere, and I was thinking about all of the ways that God provided for Elijah.
It just got me kind of grateful today, because if you will be honest, you will admit that there were times that God provided for you when you were not even looking for Him to parachute into your situation. I mean, that's the honest truth. That's the honest truth.
That is the honest truth, and the passage got my attention in 1 Kings, because on the surface, I would assume that if Elijah is supposed to be prophesying in a certain place and he leaves that place that... well, I always heard, where God guides, He provides, and that has been the case for Elijah up until this point.
He was guided by God to Ahab, where he declared a drought over the land of Israel, and God directed him, or you could say guided him, to the Kerith Ravine. This is 1 Kings 17. God said, I have some birds that I have directed to drop off the supplies that you need so you can live through the famine, because even though the land is subject to famine, I will not allow my children to go without.
I will provide for you, in the worst situations. I will provide for you. Maybe not through who you expected me to provide through, but I will provide. That's my name, Jehovah Jireh. Look up and see it. Here comes the drop.
Touch somebody and say, I got the drop. And no matter what happens around me, I can always be confident in the Spirit of God, which is my supply. I've got the drop. So then, when the birds got done dropping off food for Elijah, then there was this woman, and she was about to drop dead of hunger, because there had not been a drop of rain in the land, because Elijah called for a drought.
And yet, God sent the prophet to drop off something for her, but she didn't know that, because she was about to drop, and so, you've got this exchange happening. Like Carl Lentz, one time in New York City, he just stopped by this weird place in the middle of the city, and picked up something somebody had left for him, and I said, what was that all about, man? Was that legal, what you just did? And he said, yeah, it's our drop spot.
I grew up in Moncks Corner. We didn't have drop spots in Moncks Corner. But he told me there are certain places in the city where he has arranged that where it's hidden, where you don't know unless you know, but... and God has those places, but that's not really what I want to preach about today, or intend to preach about today. I want to use it in a little different sense.
I want to talk about that other kind of drop, and I hope you'll go here with me, because you know, church people like to come into church in a state of delusion and denial, and... sometimes when you get to this point, everybody looks like you're talking about somebody that they knew once in fifth grade.
Look at how it happened for Elijah. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed. He dropped. What could drop a man of God who was so great that he dropped 850 false prophets on Mount Carmel? What could drop a prophet so powerful in word and in deed that when he said not a drop until I say so, it didn't rain for three years? You can't even control your kitchen sink that well. And he drops, collapses. The traditional interpretation is that he was afraid.
Now, certain English translations of the Bible do read that way, but it's an interesting thing. You know how we tend to overgeneralize? He just up and left his wife, and slept with this other girl, 25. I guess it was a mid-life crisis. But, that's just an overgeneralization of something that was probably accumulating for a long time.
The truth is, you have no idea why he really ran. You don't know what happened in his childhood. You don't know how well he was doing to even make it through the first 20 years of marriage. So, all you see is he drops, and when they go to chronicle Elijah's life, to me it's unfortunate that all we did is, Elijah was afraid and ran for his life, and collapsed in the shade, because there was a whole lot more going on than that.
I mean, what about all of those days that he survived the drought living as a refugee on the run? Not because he disobeyed God, that's one thing, but because he obeyed God. We hear a lot about the consequences of disobedience, but sometimes obedience has consequences as well. Sometimes following God will lead you straight into a famine, as was the case for Elijah.