In every season in life, there are two stories are at work. First is the narrative the enemy uses to discourage your faith and to plant doubt in your mind. This is why we must take “…every thought captive and make it obey Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5!
Secondly is God’s story who has plans to “give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11. We must decide which story we will listen to because one cancels the other.
In 1 Kings 17, under God’s order, Elijah pronounces judgment over King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of a three-and-a-half-year drought because of their worship of Baal and leading the heart of God’s people away from God.
A three and a half-year drought will be catastrophic as these desert dwellers struggle to find water and cannot grow food to eat.
Although Elijah was not a part of Ahab and Jezebel’s apostasy, the drought and famine affected him as well. He must trust God to provide for him.
God leads Elijah to a stream and directs a raven to bring him food. Not too shabby!
Let this be an encouragement to you that if you ever find yourself, let’s say, in a global pandemic or experiencing a level of inflation not seen in 40 years, or in the event of a war breaking out in the world, God knows how to provide and protect His own.
Then in verse 7, we read, “And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.”
Elijah watched as God’s initial means of provision dried up, but that doesn’t mean God’s out of resources. Our confidence and hope are in the One who blesses, not in the blessing.
As Christians, we must have the proper perspective and understand that the company whose name is on our paycheck is not our provider but is the means by which God provides.
If we get this backward, it will lead to panic and anxiety when the company closes, or you lose your job. If that happens, it is an indicator that God will provide for you through another means.
In verse 8, Elijah receives new instructions on how God will provide. But these instructions will stretch Elijah’s faith in more ways than one. As painful as stretching is, it is far more productive than worrying.
God instructs Elijah to dwell in the city of Zarephath, outside of Israel. Zarephath is also the hometown of Queen Jezebel and the capital of Baal worship.
By sending Elijah to Zarephath, he will experience the protection and provision ofGod in ways that will prepare him for the future.
Elijah obeys and makes his way to the city entrance to wait for God to reveal the person He that will provide for him during the drought and famine.
The person Elijah greets turns out to be the most unlikely candidate to provide for him. The mention of her picking up sticks indicates she’s living in poverty, not a palace.
God doesn’t ask us to give out of our excess. He asks us to give out of obedience.
As this woman gives Elijah a cup of water, Elijah then does the absurd thing and asks this stranger to make him something to eat.
She responds to his request saying, she has no food prepared but only a little flour and oil remaining. She is returning home to make enough bread for her son and herself, and then they will die.
The widow and Elijah were reading the same story, but they arrived at two very different endings. Faith in God always produces a different outcome despite the narrative that keeps replaying in your mind.
Speaking through Elijah, God says if she gives the little she has, He will supernaturally provide her an endless supply of what she needs!
God’s provision did not show up by Amazon delivering 100 jars of flour and 100 jugs of oil, but God replenished her supply daily to build her trust in Him.
This is an example of the synergy of provision.
In her poverty, she gave all she had SO that God could provide for Elijah, as her obedience resulted in God’s provision in her life, SO God could continue to provide for Elijah, as her obedience resulted in God’s provision in her life, SO God could continue to provide for Elijah, as her obedience resulted in God’s provision in her life.
You will never go wrong when obeying God.
But why did God take Elijah out of Israel and bring him to the land of Baal worship, to a poverty-stricken Gentile to be the conduit of provision?
I believe there are three reasons why God did it this way.
#1 God wanted to stretch Elijah’s faith for the assignments ahead to teach him about God’s unlimited and unmatched power.
He was in the danger zone by going to Zarephath, but God allowed no harm to come to Him. Yes, there was pain. Yes, there was fear, but God protected him.
#2 God revealed how His provision has no boundaries and no limitations.
God’s blessing and provision are not hindered by your geographical location or poverty but by your obedience.
#3 God demonstrated His superiority over the false gods of Baal.
Baal took on many different titles. Among those many titles, he was known as the god of the rain and the god of the harvest.
Yet it was Yahweh who commanded a drought, and Baal could not make it rain. As a result, it caused a severe famine in the land, yet Baal could not provide food for his people.
But Elijah’s God did!
At God’s word, the rain came down, the land was watered, and the famine ended. And through it all, God supernaturally provided for Elijah and the widow to demonstrate that He is the one true God!
Your circumstances are never beyond God’s provision!
Be sure to:
- Surrender your plans and timelines.
- Obey God.
- Trust that He will provide for you as His son or daughter!