Read 1 Kings 17
Elijah Announces a Great Drought
17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
Elijah Fed by Ravens
2 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath
7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”
24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”
The wickedness of King Ahab, described in the previous chapter, is confronted by God through Elijah, the prophet. Elijah boldly announces to evil King Ahab that the living, present God of Israel will withhold dew or rain lasting for years, except by Elijah’s command. Elijah, with God’s guidance, is challenging King Ahab’s worship of Baal, considered to be the god of rain. As Elijah proceeds to obey God, his faith and trust grow. Facing isolation and drought in the desert, his physical need of nourishment is miraculously provided by ravens.
When the brook dries, God leads him to the widow who, with only a dwindling jar of flour and oil, provides food for him and her family. This miracle deepens his faith, his boldness and his dependence on Yahweh, the living God of Israel. It also confirms to others that he is a prophet of God. The miraculous resurrection of the widow’s dead son reveals Elijah’s powerful, honest prayer life and solidifies that he spoke the truth from God. Only God has the power of life and death, and this incident proves it to the widow and others. As God’s prophet for this time in Israel’s history, these miraculous experiences will provide the courage and faith Elijah required for events to come.
God’s preparation of Elijah as His prophet in the wicked days of Israel is remarkable. Elijah’s strong faith and the sense of God’s power are palpable as this account develops. But how does this apply to us? Does God equip each of us for the call or task He gives us? The answer is yes! Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” Can we approach God boldly and persistently like Elijah? The answer is, absolutely! Hebrews 4:16 says to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Let’s join Elijah in boldly seeking God’s provision and trusting His direction as we trust and obey.
- Where are you lacking courage to pursue God’s direction in your life?
- For whom might you be prompted to boldly ask for God’s provision and mercy? Would you stop right now and pray for that person?
- How have you experienced God’s mercy as you’ve boldly approached His throne of grace?
Did You Know?
Elijah’s name means, “Yahweh is my God.” Even his name confronts the false god, Baal.
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