After many years of diverse career experience, I was excitedly counting down the days until my retirement. I eagerly anticipated being in control of my schedule and time while enjoying a slower pace of life. I envisioned more days devoted to serving in ministry at my church and deepening relationships...
[Editorial Note: This sermon clip comes in the middle of Pastor Colin’s sermon, “When God Hides You,” in which he discusses Elijah’s time in the desert. During this time, God promised Elijah: ‘You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there…’ And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening. (1 Kings 17:4,6). Hear the full sermon here.]
The striking thing is that the birds that flew at the command of God and provided the sustaining food for Elijah were ravens. That is fascinating to me because in the Old Testament laws the ravens were unclean birds.
God gave laws about what his people could eat and what they could not eat in the Old Testament, and ravens were definitely “off limits.” The raven was described as “detestable” (Leviticus 11:16).
It is surprising that when God chooses to sustain a servant, he chooses to use an unclean bird. Think about this: God sends life-sustaining food, delivered by unclean birds.
You May Have Been Fed by an Unclean Bird
Maybe you were taught the Bible by a Sunday school teacher or a pastor or a friend. You looked up to that person. You saw them as a role model, as an example. But some years later, you found out that they were not who you thought they were.
Maybe they committed a great crime. Maybe they abandoned the faith they once taught, and you were left saying, “Wait a minute, what is all this about?” You felt robbed. If that’s happened to you, it will greatly help you to know God can deliver clean food, even through an unclean bird.
Maybe the person who led you to Christ then abandoned their faith in Jesus, and that leaves you saying, “What about me? What does that mean for my faith?”
Jesus sent out the 12 apostles on a mission. All of them were used by God. People would have come to faith in Christ through each of their ministries. Imagine meeting with these people:
One says “I was led to faith by Peter.”
Another says, “I was led to faith by John.”
Someone else seems rather quiet. You know why. “What about you? Who led you to faith?”
“Well, actually it was Judas. I don’t like to mention it.”
How God Creates Genuine Faith
You say “Is that possible? That someone could be led to genuine faith by someone who did not have it themselves?” Absolutely. God can create genuine faith through the ministry of fake believers. It is the Gospel that saves, not the person who speaks it.
You are saved by the power of the Gospel, not by the integrity of the person who speaks it. You desperately need to know that, if you find out that the person who led you to faith was an unclean bird.