Summary: The passage that we will look at this morning is a passage that gives us a wonderful picture about God’s provision in our lives. 1 Kings 17 describes for us several events in the life of a man named Elijah. Elijah is a prophet of God and some might even

Grounded in Provision

1 Kings 17:1-24

INTRODUCTION... The Clock that had a Nervous Breakdown, C. Swindoll

This new clock was ticking away on the shelf two ticks to the second as any good, self-respecting clock should tick when it began to think about how many times it was going to have to tick. “Two ticks to the second means 120 ticks per minute,” it mused. “That’s 7200 ticks per hour, 172,800 ticks per day, 1,209,600 per week for 52 weeks, and a total of 62,899,200 per year.” Horrors! Straightway the clock had a nervous breakdown.

The clock was taken to a psychiatrist who patched up the mainspring as well as he could then asked, “Clock, what’s your trouble?” “Oh, doctor,” wailed the clock, “I have to tick so much. I have to tick two ticks a second and 120 ticks per minute and 7200 ticks per hour, and.” “Hold it,” the psychiatrist cut in, “How many ticks do you have to tick at a time?” “Oh, I just have to tick one tick at a time,” was the reply. “Then let me make a suggestion,” replied the doctor. “You go home and try ticking one tick at a time. Don’t even think about the next tick until it’s time. Just tick one tick at a time. That you can do.”

Faith is ticking one tick at a time. Knowing that God will give us strength for the next tick. According to I Peter 1:8 we can have a “joy inexpressible.” Yet just like those oppressed and persecuted Christians to whom Peter was writing, we need to remember that this joy will never come through external stimuli, only through our internal mind set—one of faith—one of ticking one tick at a time, knowing that God will give us strength for the next tick.

The passage that we will look at this morning is a passage that gives us a wonderful picture about God’s provision in our lives. 1 Kings 17 describes for us several events in the life of a man named Elijah. Elijah is a prophet of God and some might even say that he is one of the greatest prophets in the Bible. Elijah is mentioned many times in the New Testament. John the Baptist was described as the Elijah who would come and prepare the way for the Messiah. The two men are indeed similar and chapter 17 explains much about God’s provision for him and for us as well.

READ 1 KINGS 17:1-24


Elijah is the prophet of God and as such has as part of his job description to point out when things are not going the way they should. 1 Kings 16:29-34 describes a man named Ahab coming to the throne of Israel. Ahab was a man who did not follow God and led the people to worship Baal and even built a temple to Baal in his capitol. Add to this, he married a non-Israelite woman named Jezebel... this man, verse 22 tells us, ’provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger.’ Further chapters in 1 Kings describe these two leaders of Israel killing the prophets of God, stealing land, and murdering for their own gain. 1 Kings 17:1 tells us that Elijah went before the king an explained to the king because of his wickedness there would be a drought and famine in the land.

Elijah lets Ahab know several things:

1) That Jehovah is the God of Israel and nothing else

2) Ahab serves idols that are just physical things

3) Elijah speaks with a message from this living God of Israel

4) God was angered by Ahab’s leadership and idolatry

5) God has leveled a judgement and he and Jezebel are guilty

We find in verse 2 that God is providing for Elijah and provides through His Word. Verse 2 says that the Word of the Lord came to Elijah. I can imagine the reaction of King Ahab, can’t you? The sense we get is that Elijah’s life is in danger because of the message he has given to the king. God provides for Elijah and directs him where to go. God sends Elijah to a ravine east of the Jordan River. Basically, God sends Elijah out into the desert to live. He is to drink from the brook and ravens will bring him food. Verse 6 tells us that the ravens brought him food in the morning and in the evening. I have no doubt that God’s Word not only instructed Elijah but instructed the birds as well. Ravens are predators and scavengers and will not give up food to anything... much less be a delivery service for this man.

While Elijah is in the desert, the drought and famine sweep over the land. In the course of time, verse 7 tells us that the brook dried up. We might think to ourselves that God’s provision is not reliable. God sent Elijah into the desert and now the brook dried up. What is God thinking? Yet we cannot stop reading there, but read on to verse 8. What does verse 8 say? It says again the Word of the Lord came to him and directed him where he should go. That is twice now that Elijah has been in need and God’s Word came to him and directed where to go and what to do.

* It was the Word of God that saved Elijah’s life and gave him a place to stay hidden from Ahab

* It was God’s Word that directed Elijah where to go when the brook dried up

* What directs us today when we need guidance and help? What has God provided?

I want you to see that God still provides HIs Word to us. We have His Word written down in the Bible. God provides instruction and directions to us through His inspired never-changing Word.

ILLUSTRATION... Abby and the Bible (p)

My daughter Abby, is three years old, and loves to get into things. One afternoon, she got a Bible down off the dining room table and was flipping through the pages. The kids know things on the dining room table are off limits and so technically what she had done was disobedient. My wife sees her sitting in the dining room and asks her what she is doing in a disciplinary tone. Abby says back, ’I am reading the Bible, you know the book from God.’ My wife let her flip through those pages, what do you say to something like that?

Truer words were never spoken. The Bible is in fact the book that God wrote. It is from God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, ’All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ God has provided the Bible for us in this life to teach us and guide us... it is His provision.


Elijah follows the Word of God and goes to the town of Zarephath of Sidon to hide out from Ahab and Jezebel. If you look back at 16:31, you see that Jezebel was from Sidon and so God hides Elijah in his enemies’ back yard! Elijah goes and knows that he is to meet up with a widow there to provide for him. Were I Elijah, I might be wondering about this. Widows and orphans were the poorest class of people and would have been in need themselves. Yet, God still provides.

How did God provide? Verse 12 tells us, as the woman and Elijah are conversing, that she and her son are dirt poor and she is preparing their last meal before their death. The famine and drought were bad and made times even tougher on those who had nothing to begin with. Elijah commands her to make him bread and with that command offers a promise that of she obeys the flour and oil will not run out. Remember, she only had enough barely for herself and her son... and now this stranger wants bread?!

Verses 15 and 16 tell us that the widow trusted Elijah and trusted God. She made him the meal he requested and the oil and flour never ran out. How is that possible? It is possible because God will provide the necessities of life in response to our faith. Verse 15 tells us they had enough supply to make what they needed and no more and no less. God provided the necessities for their lives.

Matthew 6:25-34 promises us, ’"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 important than food, and the body more important 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? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[ And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies 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, O 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. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

Elijah knew that God would provide. This was faith. The widow had very little to work with but did as God said... that is faith. Many times we think of faith as something only in our minds or hearts, but faith is also action and attitude. Jesus says in Matthew 6 that those he was speaking to were worrisome over the necessities and He described them as having ’little faith’ in verse 30. There is a direct connection between trusting and acting with God when it come to times of need. Have faith and He will provide. All praise to God because He provides even when we do not have faith and we are overcome with worry.

ILLUSTRATION... Word, July, 1990, p. 33

1. Worry ignores the logic of life (v. 25)

2. Worry ignores the value of life (v. 26)

3. Worry ignores its own limitations (v. 27)

4. Worry ignores God’s faithfulness (vv. 28-30)

5. Worry ignores the love of God (vv. 31-33)

6. Worry ignores the present (v. 34)


God has been good to Elijah and those that he is staying with. He did as God asked and spoke against King Ahab and Jezebel and their idolatry. God provided a place to live and food for him daily. Elijah was then given directions to the home of a widow where food was provided daily in a time of famine and drought. God had provided through His Word and had provided the necessities of life. Then, verse 17 of chapter 17, tells us that the widow’s son becomes ill and eventually dies from his sickness. Questions fill the air. The widow asks Elijah what he has against her and questions why her son is dead. Elijah is not immune to these questions either. Verse 20 shows us Elijah questioning God about the boy’s death and if it indeed was His will. I wonder if you have ever realized that truth... that you can have faith and still ask questions. Elijah was a prophet of God and still did not have all the answers.

I imagine Elijah’s attitude the same as the boy’s father in Mark 9. A man brings his son to the disciples to drive out a demon, but they are unable to help. Jesus comes to the disciples and the man and says, ’Everything is possible for him who believes’ (v. 23). The man cries out to Jesus, ’I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief’ (v. 24). Elijah believes in God, but this tragedy has brought questions to his mind. What does Elijah do with his questions? What does Elijah do with his doubts?

1 Kings 19:20 tells us that Elijah cried out to God and he prayed. I imagine him saying ’Lord I believe but help my unbelief.’ The Lord hears Elijah’s prayer and the boy is restored to life and back to his mother. The women now believes and is assured that the person in her house is a man of God... her questions and doubts have been laid to rest as well.

God provided to strengthen the faith of the widow and Elijah. God still does that in times when we question and are in distress. God still strengthens our faith in times of doubt and trial. We just need to cry out to him and confess our questions and that we need Him to strengthen our faith.

ILLUSTRATION... What We Have In Christ,

A love that can never be fathomed;

A life that can never die;

A righteousness that can never be tarnished;

A peace that can never be understood e diminished;

A hope that can never be disappointed;

A glory that can never be clouded;

A light that can never be darkened;

A happiness that can never be interrupted;

A strength that can never be enfeebled;

A purity that can never be defiled;

A beauty that can never be marred;

A wisdom that can never be baffled;

Resources that can never be exhausted.


Romans 5:16-18 = “Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.”