In 1 Kings 17, Elijah, the Tishbite from Tishbe in Gilead, was a prophet sent by God to Israel and Judah. He delivered God’s message to Ahab about an impending three-year drought because God was displeased with him. Ahab had married Jezebel, a woman who worshiped Baal. To please her, he built a temple and an altar for Baal promoting idolatry and eventually leading the entire nation in sin. God instructed Elijah to go hide by the Brook Cherith. His obedience placed him where God intended him to be and with it came God’s extraordinary provision by ravens, a brook and a poor widow.
Studied closely, Elijah’s caterers were unusual and unlikely creatures. Ravens, a marvel of creation. A raven has been a subject of interest from the beginning. It has a peculiar habit of feeding on young ones of other birds. It is surrounded by superstition, myth, tales, and is connected with the religious rites of many nations. This bird is mentioned in Job 38:41 "Who provideth for the raven his prey when his young ones cry unto God and wander for lack of food?" and in Ps 147:9 "He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry."
The ravens fed Elijah in the morning and in the evening. I pray that we will not cease to be thankful to God for today’s bread, not taking thought for tomorrow but petitioning Him that tomorrow would bring bread with it. Ravens are birds of prey and could have eaten Elijah’s meal but God’s provision for His servant was secure. Imagine this: the same creatures were forbidden to be eaten by the Law of Moses as they were regarded to be unclean (Leviticus 11:15).
Ravens also feed on insects and carrion and yet they brought man’s meat and nourishing food. This teaches us that those who bring the message of bread of life should eat from the same. The birds supplied enough for his needs and not want of a feast. Ravens are fed by God (Job 38:41) and now they fed the prophet. Thus it is our obligation to be caring to others in God’s service. When times are hard, especially now because of Covid-19, it is human nature to cling onto or withhold what we have received from support raising. Let’s remember that blessed is the hand that gives with the right attitude.
Later, a Gentile widow living in Sidon amongst the Baal worshippers, with almost nothing to offer, was used by God to feed Elijah. As the prophet arrived at the city gates, the widow was gathering sticks. It worked out just as God intended it to be, not coincidence but divine intervention. She, too, heard God’s message and obeyed His instructions. She might not have known God fully but she was willing to put her faith in Him. Obedience guaranteed that her bin of flour was not used up and her oil did not run dry.
The widow was in a dire state, preparing for her last meal but God brought Elijah to provide for her and her son. She in turn, provided for him. Look at it this way: God sent them to each other to survive. Ever wondered why your paths crossed with the people you have interacted with? That is good food for thought!
God’s unique way of providing for Elijah ensured that he trusted God for his provision and sustenance one day at a time keeping him needful and focused on Him.
Looking back on our lives after events, I believe we have seen God’s hand in the places that we’ve visited, the people that we’ve interacted with, and the amazing experiences that we’ve gone through. One thing is for sure: in God’s will there is sure provision and sustenance. Amen!
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