The God Who Provides (1 Kings 17:1-6)
Opening – When it was time to enter our elder son to school, we needed what was (for us), a fairly large sum of money, for his entrance and school fees and other expenses. Around that time I was led to call and pray for a gentleman during the Christmas season. As I did so, the Lord led me to pray what would be a prophetic prayer over him. This resulted in him receiving a large sum of money in an unexpected way. In return, this gentleman blessed us with a gift that was exactly what we needed for our son’s school and other expenses!!
Proposition – Our God delights to provide for His children
The scriptures show us over and over again that we have a God who delights to provide for His children. However, that provision is dependent on us learning to give first place in our hearts to Him and His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).
In a passage found in I Kings 17: 1-6, a severe drought had come across the land of Israel as a fulfillment of a prophecy given by Elijah (vs 1). Since the whole nation was going through the drought, with the accompanying famine, one may ask, what about Elijah? Would he survive?
Yes, he would, because Elijah was under God's care and provision!
So, how did God provide for Elijah in desperate circumstances? From the above passage, let's look at 4 ways in which God’s provision came through. He will do the same for you and me too!
1) God provides when we obey His word (1 Kings 17:2-3)
Verse 5 says that Elijah started on an excursion to the Kerith Ravine, in obedience to a Word given by the Lord (vs 2-3). God always provides in accordance to the many promises and also the conditions of His Word. On our part, we need to be obedient to His Word, like Elijah. Therefore, let's read His Word, meditate on it and be willing to obey what He says.
Because He obeyed, Elijah found a place of safety where God's provision was freely available.
Is there some area in which God is challenging you to implicitly obey Him? Do so. It just may be the gateway to His provision being released into your life!
2) God provides according to our need (1 Kings 17:4,6)
Elijah had only 2 real needs at this time; food and water, and that's exactly what he got! God didn't send him money, clothes, or helpers, only food (meat and bread) and water (vs 6). The food was sent through ravens and the water came from either an unknown brook, or a dried-up one that God made active again! Obviously, others didn't seem to know that water was available there, since no one else came for water!
God knows exactly what we need and He is more than able to provide. Didn't He provide a water fountain from a rock (Exodus 17: 5-7) and food from the skies (Exodus 16) to the Israelites in the wilderness?
A man of God said, 'You may lack the fastest, the latest and the finest, but you won't lack what is needed'!
Illustration – Here is a simple example. Many years ago, on one of our routine visits to the Doctor to check our elder son’s health, we noticed him using a digital ear thermometer to check the temperature. It was the first time we saw a digital thermometer and we were quite fascinated by it. We therefore started praying for one. Within a few weeks, a friend of mine had arrived from Australia and left a gift for us with his mother. When we received the gift and opened it, guess what was inside. A digital ear thermometer!!
Yes, Jesus will provide according to your need.
3) God provides at the right time (1 Kings 17:6)
Never doubt God's timing! Someone said, ‘God is never too early, He's never too late, He's always on time'.
Verse 6 shows us that God not only ordered the ravens to feed Elijah, but He also sent them at an appointed time. They were dispatched in the morning and in the evening. They didn't come in the afternoon. Maybe Elijah was being forced into a mid-day diet!
We get anxious when answers don't come as soon as we expect. But, let's rest assured that our God knows the timings the best. He will come through at the right time, if we hold on and don't give up.
Joseph was raised at the right time from being a refugee, slave and prisoner, to becoming the second in command in Egypt (Genesis 41).
Mordecai was raised at the right time from certain death (Esther 5), to once again, becoming the second highest person in the Persian Empire (Esther 10:3).
A young Hebrew beauty queen named Hadassah was raised at the right time to become Queen Esther of the Persian Empire, so that God could use her to save His people from annihilation (Esther 4:14).
David was raised at the right time from being a shepherd boy and a back-up musician to King Saul, to become a giant slayer, and eventually, King!
4) God provides in unexpected ways (1 Kings 17:6)
Ravens by nature are scavenger birds. They search, grab and hold on to food. They are not known for sharing food! But, ‘God works in unexpected ways His wonders to perform’. He uses the least likely methods to provide for His children. Therefore, never limit or pre-suppose how He can work in your situation or challenge.
The God who opened up the Red Sea for Moses, held the sun up for Joshua and defeated an entire army through Gideon and just 300 men, is still alive today!! He can surely provide for you too in unexpected ways!
Illustration – When I was a child, the man who sold fish, would come to our neighborhood on a bicycle. At the back of it would be a wooden box, where the fish would be kept. He would then take the fish out & cut it on a wooden board. The moment the fish were taken out, it was fascinating to watch how the vendor would be surrounded by a host of crows. If he would then be distracted for a few minutes, the crows would dart in and grab a piece or two and fly off for a feast!!
So, if God could use such birds to feed Elijah, He can surely provide for you in unexpected ways!!
Let’s always remember that our God is ‘Jehovah Jireh’- The Lord who provides.
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