Friday, June 08, 2007

God's Command

The lack of rain, the visible withdrawal of God’s favor, had not caused repentance in Israel’s King Ahab, who “did more evil in the eyes of the LORD” than any kings before him. Everyone suffered from animals to men.

The thick-as-dust air caused prophet Elijah’s tongue to stick to the roof of his mouth. Each journey-step sent a flurry of dirt to the hem of his garment.

Nerves taut. Food supplies short. Leaves of trees and limbs of men longed for cleansing rain. At least twice during this three and one half year drought, the prophet Elijah heard from God.

On two occasions, the Lord used similar language, command language. God told Elijah to live by the Kerith Ravine, “I have commanded the ravens to feed you.”

For quite awhile, Elijah’s needs were met by birds and God’s flight plan. Elijah watched the glossy sheen of black wings fly toward him mornings and evenings—their payload meat and bread. How did ravens bring edible food? Those answers aren’t in 1 Kings 17.

Ravens were birds of prey, unclean, ate carrion, and sometimes neglected to feed their young. While we might have chosen a delivery dove, God commanded ravens to bring food to Elijah, perhaps sending a subtle message that good can come from any source. God has authority over all.

When the brook dried, God gave Elijah another itinerary using familiar words: “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon . . .. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.”

How did the command arrive to the widow? Again, that information is not supplied, but it came during her very dire personal circumstances. At the city gates, she gathered sticks to make a fire and cook her last meal for herself and her son. Tired, Elijah arrived and asked for a little water, when she turned to get some, he added, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

That’s when she outlined her poverty. All she had left was a handful of flour and a little oil in a jug. Elijah’s next words rained God’s favor. He told her not to be afraid, prepare a small piece of bread for Elijah, then herself and her son. “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD brings rain on the land.”

The widow trusted and obeyed, and because of God’s mercy the threesome made it through the drought.

I like knowing that the world is under God’s “command.” He directed ravens, a widow, a flour bin and oil jug. His multiplication powers are always above human efforts, and his arithmetic is above the calculations of men.

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  1. Amen to your last paragraph! I volunteer with a "soup kitchen" ministry that is totally dependant upon contributions. And I am continually blessed and amazed at how God faithfully provides both volunteers and money and then stretches those dollars to feed the number of people He has fed for over 11 years now!

  2. Cindy, Your comment and dedication stir me. It's people like you who are inheriting the earth....CM