OBEDIENCE to God will manifest for us DIVINE PROVISIONS: And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word." (1 Kings 17:1)
Elijah was the first of the many important prophets that God had sent to warn Israel and Judah as these two kingdoms departed from God’s ruling. Elijah who hails from Tisbeh, a place east of Jordan, is abruptly introduced in 1 Kings 17 as a prophet and servant of God. Elijah’s warning that both rain and dew will be stopped completely in Israel was a direct message from the God of Israel since drought was the threatened punishment of national idolatry (Deut 11:16, 17; 28:23). Also, the drought and control of the weather was a direct challenge to Baal’s credibility as a deity, as this Canaanite storm god supposedly brought life-giving rain to the land.
However, the next set of events reveals a very important truth: complete obedience to God will manifest divine provisions in our lives.
- When Elijah proclaimed the word of God to King Ahab boldly in complete obedience to God (1 Kings 17:1), then God told him to hide by the brook Cherith, where he could get water for drink and the ravens to feed him bread and meat both morning and evening. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there." (1 Kings 17:2-4)
- Elijah obeyed God and stayed by the brook Cherith as God had directed him. "So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan." (1 Kings 17:5) Only after the brook dried up, did God direct Elijah to Zarephath for a widow to provide food for him. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you." (1 Kings 17:8-9)
- Only after the widow of Zarephath obeyed the word of the prophet Elijah did she receive the heavenly provisions that sustained her during the period of famine in the land of Israel. And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.'“ So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah. (1 Kings 17:13-16)
We have a God who will provide for us in the midst of famine and among our enemies. Let us obey God completely as we trust His divine provisions in our lives as we join King David in his famous psalm: "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over." (Psalms 23:5)