Summary: Why would God use Ravens to feed Elijah. They’re disgusting, unclean, anti-social and cruel birds. Why didn’t God use a simpler and more pleasing way of meeting Elijah’s needs?
OPEN: Years ago I read the story of a man by the name of Wally who owned a farm in Connecticut. He had a remarkable talent he had with birds. Chickadees specifically.
It seems that every morning these little birds would flutter down and land on his hands. And it wasn’t just for food; He’d talk to them and they seemed to enjoy his companionship.
One woman who visited was so enthralled by what she asked for permission to try and get the birds to do that for her. She practiced for weeks, but never got one bird to land on her hand.
Then one day, she tried something different. She put Wally’s fedora on her head and wrapped herself in his mackinaw. Seconds later, she was covered with birds.
They came to her, because they trusted Wally so much that they even trusted his scent on his clothes. (Readers Digest, December 1973)
It’s a valuable commodity.
People rarely GIVE trust… usually it’s something that’s earned.
But without having trust in someone - or something – it’s hard to do anything in this life
• We trust that our cars will start. Have you ever gotten in your car, put the key in the ignition… and then not have it start? How did it make you feel? It should have started! It had started hundreds of times before… but now it didn’t. You TRUSTED it to be able to start when you needed it.
• We trust that our grocery stores will have food. They may not have the specific brand of cereal or coffee you want, but you TRUST they will have milk, and meat, and bread.
• When we have trouble around the house, we trust that the police and firemen will be available to protect us.
• And we trust that our friends will BE THERE for us. That our church family will lift us up in prayer and be there in our moments of joy and sadness.
Trust is woven into the very fabric of our lives.
Without trust, we can hardly function.
So, the question is: what do you trust… and why?
The story we’re looking at today is a story about trust… and the lack of it.
And it begins a few verses before the ones we read in chapter 17
I Kings 16:29-33 tells us:
“In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years.
Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.
He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria.
Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him.” I Kings 16:30-33
Ahab was a wicked king.
But he NOT JUST a wicked king… he was a wicked man
1Kings 21:25 says “There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife.”
So Ahab was a wicked King and a wicked man.
But what made him so wicked?
Well, he TRUSTED in the wrong things.
First – he trusted in the wrong religion.
We’re told that he built a temple to the pagan god Baal in Samaria. And that he erected Asherah poles for the worship of that goddess (who apparently was worshipped as both Baal’s mother AND his wife).
God repeatedly stressed how foolish the worship of these (and other gods) was. In Isaiah 46 God declared:
"To whom will you compare me or count me equal?
To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it. They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Though one cries out to it, it does not answer; it cannot save him from his troubles.” Isaiah 46:5-7
But these were not just false gods… they were evil gods in whom Ahab put his trust.
Part of the worship of Baal was the sacrifice of your children to please him. And the religious activity of male and female prostitution were part of both their worships.
So Ahab trusted these false and evil gods.