Thursday, March 10, 2016

Prophets And Kings, Day 39. Elijah Fed By Ravens

Prophets And Kings
Day 39
Elijah Fed By Ravens

Elijah haves just prophesied a drought and famine because of the wickedness of the nation. This will also be a sign that him speaks for the Lord, because only at the word of Elijah will rain fall. But the Lord takes care of Elijah during the famine.

1 KINGS 17:2-6
After Elijah pronounced the coming drought and famine to King Ahab, "Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 'Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan." (1 Kings 17:2) Ahab is angry with Elijah for his words and it's a good time for Elijah to get out of town and hide away with the Lord.

But Elijah need not worry how he will survive in the ravine. "You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there." (1 Kings 17:4) The animal kingdom hears and obeys the voice of the Lord. They have not turned away from their Creator. They have not covered their ears at His word. 

Elijah has done something that the Lord Jesus tells us to do: he put God first and trusted Him to supply his needs. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you---you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:28-33)

"So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook." (1 Kings 17:5-6) Before Elijah will have the faith to stand on Mount Carmel and face down four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Asherah, he must learn to trust God for his most basic needs, just as the children of Israel had to learn to trust God to supply manna in the wilderness. Elijah had to trust that God will send the raven twice a day with food. He had to trust that God will provide clean water to drink. He had to trust that Ahab's men won't find him in the ravine and kill him. The children of Israel learned about God during forty years on the training ground of the Sanai wilderness. David learned about God during his years on the training ground of living as a wanted man whom the wicked King Saul intended to kill. Elijah's training ground is here by the brook, trusting that the word of God is so powerful that a raven is compelled to bring him breakfast and supper every day. 

We may not like some of the hardships going on in our lives right now. Honestly, the first thing I want to do when trouble comes is run from it or pray for God to take it away. But what if it's our training ground for something we will be called to do for God? I firmly believe there are blessings we will never experience if we don't first meet God on the training ground and let Him refine us and make us fit soldiers in His army. How many painful and difficult things have you gone through that you can now look back on and be thankful for? We can't meet the challenges of tomorrow if we don't let God train us today. The training is so tough that sometimes it reminds me of those recruiting commercials for the marine corps, the ones that show the men and women crawling under barbed wire in the rain with their heavy packs strapped to them, sweat and tears running down their faces. It reminds me of the scenes showing their physical training of running mile after exhausted mile while everything in them tells them to give up and go home. The object of these commercials is to let potential recruits know what they are signing up for. The marines are looking for men and women who won't quit no matter how tough it gets. That's what God is looking for too. He wants men and women of faith who will press on through. 

There are things I've pressed through and things I've given up on. Sometimes the road looked so hard and I was so tired that I became unwilling to go on, so I quit before the end came and before the blessing came. In my own life I've found that I'm more likely to get discouraged and quit when I think about my troubles in the long term. There are situations that we know aren't going to be quick fixes. Something happens and we realize it's going to take weeks or months, maybe even years, before things get better. But Jesus never asked us to worry about how we will get through the next year. He said to concentrate on the day we're in. He's given us grace for this day, just like He gave Elijah bread and meat for this day, just like He sent down manna to the children of Israel for this day. He didn't send Elijah enough food to store up for tomorrow; He gave him enough food for each day. I think that maybe grace works the same way. In our grief or worry we often think, "How will I endure this? This feels like it's never going to end. What if this is still going on a year from now?" And Jesus whispers quietly to our souls, "You only have to get through this one day. You will get through today with My help. Let Me worry about tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that. My grace that's sufficient for you today will be sufficient for those days as well." Amen, Lord. Help us to remember that. Help us to trust You for the grace for each day. 

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