Tony Evans — The Power of a Mother’s Faith
And finally, this woman, she got enough to retire on, not just enough to pay her immediate bills. You see, the reason why we're not seeing the supernatural is we're so stuck on the natural, we're so stuck on what we can see, and explain, and hear, and it makes natural sense, that that's all we wind up with.
Hello, this is Tony Evans with "The Urban Alternative," welcoming you to the Word of God. And we are glad to be a part of your life when it comes to God's truth coming your way. Today, we're going to talk about the power of a mother's faith. What does it look like when a mother trusts God? And how does God relate to a mother crying out, calling on him, trusting in him to change her circumstances in life?
Well, we're going to look at a mother who did just that, and who saw the powerful hand of God respond to it. I know you're dying to find out what that looks like because the message and the principle from it benefits us all. Let's go to God's Word and find out exactly what that kind of faith looks like.
Where do you go when life has fallen apart? When life has become chaotic, and confusing, and difficult, and painful? We could have chosen many more; time will only allow us to address four of them. But these four mothers share a principle that is a principle applicable to all of us, be we male or female, to any Christian that is a transforming principle when life has unraveled.
The first of the four I would like to simply summarize, that's all time will allow us to do, is the book of Ruth. The book of Ruth is about a mother with two daughters-in-law, Naomi, and all three ladies are widows. All three ladies have lost their husbands. So, they are in pain. Here's Naomi, who's now a mother who's lost her two sons, her husband, and now she is there with her daughter-in-laws, and a decision has to be made.
Things are not working out. So, she invites her daughters to go back home. Back home for them was a place call Moab. "Go back home that you might perhaps find a husband back home. I can't bear anymore children. Even if I could, you couldn't wait for them to get old enough for you to marry them to continue our family line. You couldn't do that.
So it's really not practical, daughters, for you to go with me because you're Moabite women, and our Jewish men aren't going to fool with you. You're from Moab, you're part of the enemy, they're not going to--they're not going to connect with you. So, go back home." Ruth makes a decision that goes against what is in her personal best interest.
She makes her decision to go with Naomi, her mother-in-law, back to Jerusalem, knowing that may quite possibly mean she can never hope to get a husband. She makes a decision in favor of a spiritual reality, "My God shall be your God. I'm going to cling to you because I'm going to cling to my faith, even though clinging to my faith doesn't appear to be in my best interest. But she makes a decision to not go with her sister-in-law, to not go with a girlfriend back to Moab, where it's going to be easy. She decides to hang out with her mother-in-law in Jerusalem, where it's going to be harder.
Now, you know the story. And if you don't, then you need to read the book of Ruth. It only has four chapters, it won't take that long. Ruth is gleaning in the field. She's gleaning in the field, she's serving her mother-in-law when Boaz sees her. Now, Boaz is a lot older man with a lot more money. He's a very wealthy older man, and he sees Ruth gleaning in the field, and wants to know who is that. Now, she didn't say anything, she wasn't man-hunting, she wasn't searching, she wasn't doing any of that. She was just fulfilling her spiritual commitment and somebody saw her.
The net result of it in chapter, verse, "So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. Then the woman said to Naomi, 'Blessed is the Lord, who has not left you without a redeemer today. And may his name become famous in Israel. May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you and is better to you than seven sons has given birth to him.'
So, we got a mother and daughter scenario here. Naomi is too old to have babies. She's had two sons. She's too old to have babies. Neither of her daughter-in-laws have been able to get pregnant. They've not been able to conceive. But now, through a series of events where the supernatural enters in because it says the Lord enabled her to conceive, she now gets pregnant with a son. But that's not the end of the story. Verse , the neighbor woman gave him a name, saying, "A son has been born to Naomi, so they named him Obed.
He is the father of Jesse, the father of David." She wasn't able to get pregnant. Things didn't work out the first time around. Her husband died. She made the decision not to go back to the old guys, but to make a spiritual decision to hang out with Naomi, never knowing that God would enter into the picture, raise up a man who is rich and old, but not cold. And she got pregnant with Obed, who is the father of Jesse, who is the father of David, through whose lineage comes the Savior Jesus Christ.
If girlfriend would've gone back to Moab, not only would she have had to settle for some jive time Moabite, she would've missed out on Boaz, which means she would've missed out on Obed, which means she would've missed out on being in the lineage of Jesus Christ, all because she made a decision where she could not see the solution in advance. All she knew was, "Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God."
If her sister-in-law would have only seen things through her spiritual eyes and not through what looked practical for the moment, then she could've seen what God could do for her. Samuel chapter , our second mother, Hannah. Hannah is barren. She can't have children. Why couldn't she have children? Verse tells you, "But the Lord had closed her womb." The reason why she couldn't get pregnant is that the Lord had blocked the capacity.
Not only was this the case, but she was in an unpleasant environment, being made fun of because she couldn't have children. Verse , it happened year after year. So, she's trying to get pregnant year after year. This is an ongoing attempt to become a mother, and it wasn't working out for her.
She was greatly distressed, verse . And prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly, verse . She made a vow and said, "O Lord of hosts, if you indeed look upon the infliction of your maidservant and remember me, and not forget your maidservant, but will give your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall not come on his head." She goes before the Lord in a desperate situation, in a situation she could not fix, and asked God to reverse the way things had been all of her adult life, an inability to get pregnant. What happened? "Then they arose," verse, "early in the morning, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned again to their house in Ramah.
And Elkanah had relations with Hannah, his wife, and the Lord remembered her." Well, wait a minute now. Why is it important to know the Lord remembered her? Because the Lord had closed up her womb. God has caused the problem. Here's what you have to understand. If God causes the problem, only God can fix the problem. You see, you have to understand that.
That's why you have to be in tune spiritually. If God caused the problem, which it says he closed her womb, then only God can reverse the problem. It doesn't matter who you know. It doesn't matter what your name is, how powerful you are, and how much money you have. It says, "And God remembered her." How much did he remember her? Chapter, verse, "The Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters, and the boy Samuel grew up before the Lord."
So, he not only remembered her with a son, he remembered her with a bunch of sons and two daughters, when she went years with nothing happening. Now, this is all going somewhere, stick with me. Okay, mother number three. Kings . Kings , verse , "Then the Word of the Lord came to him, Elijah, saying, 'Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.'" There's a famine in the land. There is--food is hard to find. We might call it a recession."
The economy was going downhill, so he arose and went to Zarephath. "And when he came to the gate of the city, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called her and said, 'Please give me a little water in a jar that I may drink.' And as she was going to get it, he called her and said, 'Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.'
But she said, 'As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in a bowl, and a little oil in a jar. And behold, I am gathering a few sticks, that I might go in and prepare for me and my son,'" so she's a mother, "that we might eat it and die." In other words, this is going to be our last meal. This is the last supper. We will never eat again. All we're going to do is die. I can't give anything to you because all I've got is the last meal for me and my son. Then Elijah said to her, "Do not fear.
Go do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first, and bring it out to me, and afterwards you will make one for yourself and your son." Now, I know I love the preacher, but I'm down to my last piece of chicken. I can't be--I can't be sharing my last meal with you. I just told you, Reverend Elijah, I just told you that I only have enough for me and my son.
Now, I just told you that. I just have enough for me and my son. But here you preachers go again, asking to be first in Jesus' name, and you're going to throw God in this and ask to be first, and then tell me we're going to eat next when I told you there is no next. This is all I have. This is my last dime. This is my last dollar. This is all I've got, and here you want it. Yeah, it got quiet in here.
Elijah said, "Do not fear. Go do as you've said, but make me a little bread cake first." Verse , "For thus saith the Lord God of Israel. The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth." Now, wait a minute, Mr. Elijah. I told you I just have enough flour and oil for one meal, I told you that.
You come back and tell me that God told you to tell me that if I reverse my priorities, God is going to supernaturally come into my situation and so flip the script on my burdened problem, death sentence, lack of hope, no future in store for me and my son, he's going to so reverse it that the bowl of flour won't be exhausted and the jar of oil won't be empty until rain, the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth. Is that what you're saying to me?
So, she went out and did according the word of Elijah. And she and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted, nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the Word of the Lord which he spoke through Elijah. If she would've insisted on the last supper, if she would've insisted, "This is all I have, so I cant do what God told you to tell me to do 'cause it's not practical," get this now.
It's not practical to do that. It doesn't make sense to do that. It is ridiculous for you or God even to ask me to do that. Then it would've been the last supper. The fourth one and final widow before we share our major premise. Kings chapter . Kings chapter . "Now, a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, 'Your servant, my husband, is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord.
And the creditors have come to take my children to be his slaves.'" You're talking about a jacked up situation, this is it. Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? What shall I do for you?" Now, this is an important question. If you come to the prophet for an answer, he may not give you one that you want to hear. He often will not give you one that will work with your natural understanding.
Okay, in other words, did you come for me to really answer your question? Or did you just decide, "I need somebody to talk to"? Or did you come because you needed a word from heaven? See, a lot of people want to ask questions, but don't want to hear a heaven answer.
They want to ask a question, but they want an earthly answer that makes sense to them. So, before I give you my answer, tell me now, do you really want to hear what I have to say? He goes and gives her a plan, doesn't make sense. "What do you have in your house?" Because the creditors are at the door.
She said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil. All I've got is a jar of oil. I am not poor, I'm po'. I have a jar of oil, that's all I have." Then he said, "Go borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels.
Do not get a few. I want you to go knock on all your neighbors' doors and ask them to give you all the empty stuff in their house that's a vessel or a container." He said, "Go borrow their vessels," verse , "and you shall go in and shut the door, close the door behind you, and you and your sons, and pour out into all the vessels, and you shall set aside what is full."
Well, wait a minute, this doesn't make sense. I just told you before we started, before I came to church, that I just have one jar of oil. You give me some crazy plan that's illogical, doesn't make sense, get the empty vessels from my neighbors and don't get a few, get all you can, and then pour my oil into their empty vessels. That doesn't make sense. That's not logical. What kind of plan is that? So, she went from him, shut the door, behind her and her sons. They were bringing the vessels to her, and she poured. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel." Oh, she into vessels now.