Steven Furtick — The Power of Provision
In this fourth installment, I want to speak about the power of provision, declaring over your life that God's got what you need, and it's a matter of you receiving it and opening yourself to it, because in the Scripture, the image of a window symbolizes both perspective, because it's what you look through and sometimes what you're looking through is just as important as what you're looking at.
Okay, I can prove this. I don't even need the Bible, and I will read the Bible in a minute. But, those are not my glasses, if you'd give them to me right now. Whoa! You've got problems! We need to pray for her! A miracle of recovery of sight to the blind. Man, you look funny. Now, before I put these on, you looked awesome, but what I was looking through changed the dimensions of what I'm looking at, because it wasn't meant for me. Amen.
I'm preaching on my recap! But, another thing that a window represents is provision, like in Malachi 3, where God challenges His people. "If you will release what's in your hand, I will release what's in my heart".
I want to bless you, but the windows are closed, and that's why we have these power windows, okay? The power of preparation, it opens the window of provision. God's provision often awaits our preparation. And so, this week as we talk about provision and perspective, I want to ask the question, is it possible that provision and perspective are one and the same?
I'll make the case as we go here, but I'm excited about what God gave me to teach you today. And by the way, I always pray before I preach. I always pray that, God, they need something that I don't have. I feel like the disciples who had 5,000 men and women and children to feed, and no bread. And yet, God said bring what you have to me, even if it seems to be too little, and watch what I will do through you.
It's interesting, isn't it, that to provide for the people, Jesus did not bypass the meager supply of the disciples, he multiplied it. So, the whole process of provision starts when you offer what you have, regardless of whether or not it seems to be enough to you. The little bit of time that you do have, that's the window, the perspective of provision. I wonder if provision is a matter of perspective.
Elisha seems to think so. This great prophet is dying, and this new king has one chance to get what he needs from the mouth of the man of God. Let's see what happens, 2 Kings: 13-14. "Now, Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash, king of Israel, went down to see him, and wept over him."
It's one thing about pressure. Pressure will cause you to seek provision and get your priorities in order. "There was no seeking of Elisha's advice until the Arameans started to oppress the people of God, and when it got to that point, the king went down to see the prophet."
I don't know what brought you to church today, but I sure am glad you're here. Touch your neighbor and say, I'm glad you're here. I don't even care what brought you here. You might have heard there were pretty girls at Elevation, but I'm glad you came. Might get a valentine and a Word from God, Amen, all at the same time. God is good! "Supplies all of my needs, according to His glorious riches." That's not a pick up line, that's a Scripture.
All right, so he went down and he wept over him, and I understand why he's weeping. He's weeping because what he's losing is so significant. Elisha was more than just a preacher. Elisha represented the entire defense system of the nation of Israel. He was their window, not only the window through which they saw the activity of God, but the window through which God would give them, many times, the protection from their enemies. He had a unique ability to strategically cut off the enemy's advances, and he would tell the kings where the enemy was going to attack, so that they could be ready for it.
Note that it did not prevent the attack from happening, it provided the strength to withstand the attack. Sometimes we get confused about the provision of God, because we mistakenly believe that the provision of God will mean the prevention of problems. When we ask God to provide for us, what we're actually asking Him to do, truth be told, is to eliminate the need. In other words, God, create a life for me that will make you unnecessary, and He won't do it.
He's weeping over what's leaving, and Elisha is pointing to what's left, and in every season of my life, I have the choice. Watch this. "My Father, my Father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel." Elisha is about to leave the building, but before he goes, he points to the provision. He points to the provision.
I believe God wants to point out the provision that He's placed in front of you in your life today, and I've been asking Him to do that. Watch this. Elisha said, Verse 15, "Get a bow and some arrows". Now, the arrows did not magically appear at this point. The bow didn't fall down out of the sky. It had been there all along. He is simply instructing the king to locate what has been there all along, what was in the house when he came.
Now, he instructs him to take it in his hands, and notice that he does not tell the king to study the composition of the bow and the arrow, or to browse a catalog of bow and arrows, or to read the history of bows and arrows, because you know, sometimes when we come to church, we want to learn stuff about trivial historical details that don't require us to do anything.
Preach, Pastor Steven! Get a bow! Touch your neighbor and say, "Do something with it." Do something with this work! Make up your mind in advance. Even if I don't like that preacher's pink shirt, if he says one thing that I can apply in my life today, I'm going to use it. Get a bow and some arrows, and he did so. He was the original Nike advertisement. He did so. Just do it.
"Take the bow in your hands", he said to the king of Israel, and when he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king's hands." This message is for somebody at Gaston today. Get ready, it's going to come. And then, Verse 17 is our theme verse, where he says, "Open the east window, and he opened it. "Shoot", Elisha said, and he shot. And then, he declared," watch this promise. "The Lord's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram."
If Paul were writing, he would say that I am more than a conqueror through Him who love me. Yeah. If John were writing, he would say this is a victory that overcomes the world. The arrow of victory, the Lord's arrow of victory. God is the source of my supply. God is the source of my strength. It's the Lord's arrow of victory, but He put it in your hands. God gave the victory, but you must take the shot!
Now I feel the spirit of Wayne Gretsky coming on me. I don't even like hockey, but he said you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. And he shot the arrow, but what happened next is tragic, because he had the opportunity of a lifetime to completely defeat the enemy that was oppressing him, and he missed it! He missed it. He missed it, because he didn't do... watch this, Verse 18.
"The prophet said, 'Take the arrows', and the king took them. 'Strike the ground', and he struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, 'You only did half of what you should have done. You had more arrows that you didn't use.'"
And this is where I want to key in today. It is significant that it was not a lack of arrows or artillery that caused the king to miss the potential victory. It was not the lack of weapons. It was the lack of will. If you would have used every arrow that you had, you would have completely defeated this thing, and now, you will only defeated three times.
The power of provision. God has given me what I need for the season that I'm in, and I have a choice to make today and every day. Will I weep over what I'm losing, or will I wield the weapons that are left? Provision, perspective, the two are connected.