5 October 2017
A couple of Sundays ago at Gold Hill (the 24th) saw one of our All-In services taking place, based on the theme of Harvest and looking more closely at God’s provision. Along with a visit from the foodbank and a collection of food, we spent time together as a family before breaking off into groups to respond in worship by singing, creating, discussing, moving, writing and thinking. I was heading up ‘think’. During the talk, James challenged us to go away and read 1 Kings 17, the chapter that the service was based on. So, during the breakout time, I read 1 Kings 17 and God really spoke to me through verses 1-16.
It’s a story that many of us will be familiar with; Elijah is standing up for his faith and following God in a time where kings were extremely unfaithful, worshipping other gods, building altars and generally being disobedient, not only in their personal lives, but as they ruled as well. So as Elijah announced that there was going to be a drought in the land, God spoke to Elijah and directed his steps. We then see Elijah being fed by ravens, an amazing example of God’s provision. We also read that Elijah drinks from the brook, as James shared, this brook would only be flowing when there had been an excess of rain in the land, not during a drought.
After the brook dried out, Elijah heard again from God. He came across a widow, as God said, so he asked her for food and drink. The widow, with her little flour and olive oil, did as Elijah instructed, and miraculously there was enough food for all of them. Again, another amazing example of God’s provision.
These two stories in this passage are just two of many in the Bible that speak of God being our provider. However, I was struck by what comes before the provision, something that I think we can so often gloss over and not appreciate.
The provision came following obedience.
When Elijah was fed by the ravens, he first had to respond to what God was telling him to do, he had to trust that by doing so God would fulfil His promise. Elijah had to take a step of faith and remain faithful to God. Verse 5 tells us, ‘So he did what the Lord had told him’.
In a similar way, the widow had to take a step of faith, she risked using all the flour and oil she had on feeding Elijah, potentially then not being able to provide for herself or her family for the remainder of the drought. Despite this, the widow trusted that Elijah was speaking the words of the Lord and that God would provide for her and her family. She too is obedient, taking a step of faith remaining faithful to God.
God’s provision is so incredible and we should praise and worship Him for being our provider. But we should also acknowledge how faithful God is, He fulfilled His promises, He did what He said He would do.
If this isn’t an encouragement for us to be more obedient and faithful to God as we enter this week, I don’t know what is! Maybe we should just try it and see what great stories of God’s provision and faithfulness we might have as the week goes on.