Hovering over 1Kings 17 and 18 this morning, and I notice two instances of supernatural feeding and, in a sense, two instances of supernatural faith.
And the word of the LORD came to [Elijah]: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” . . . . Then the word of the LORD came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”
(1Kings 17:2-4, 8-9 ESV)
A faithful prophet in a hostile land. God’s messenger misaligned with prevailing views of what should be worshiped. Yet, God faithfully cares for the basic needs of His faithful servant. He commands the birds of the air and they feed him (17:6). He commands a widow whose cupboard is bare and she feeds him, as well (17:15).
But while the birds really didn’t have a choice, the woman very much had a freewill to direct. She was a widow, aka no one providing for her. She had a son, aka someone she needed to provide for. There was drought and famine, aka no provision. There wasn’t much food, aka how could she share what little she had? But she did.
Left with only a “handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug” she’s ready to prepare a last meal for her and son before they starve to death. Then along comes Elijah and says, “Bring me a morsel of bread.” Give me some of the last food you possess. After informing the prophet of her situation,
Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'” And she went and did as Elijah said.
(1Kings 17:13-15a ESV)
Feeding Elijah before feeding her family was an act of faith. Believing the word of God she bowed to the express will of God. And thus, she placed her trust in God.
But she isn’t the only one making hard choices of faith. Cue Obadiah (1Ki. 18:1-19). King Ahab’s house manager, Obadiah has flirted with being found out for treason as he hides and feeds the prophets of God Ahab has determined to destroy. Elijah intercepts Obadiah one day and says, “Go tell your master I’m here and I want to see him.” Obadiah knows that’s a suicide mission if Elijah doesn’t show. But just as he had with the widow faced with a life and death decision, Elijah reassures Obadiah.
And Elijah said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to [King Ahab] today.” So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him.
(1Kings 18:15-16a ESV)
Two acts of feeding, two acts of faith. And I’m connecting those dots. A God who shows Himself faithful in the basics of life is a God who is worthy of being trusted with all of our lives. Not because the outcome is always guaranteed to be favorable, but because a God who commands the birds of the air and rules over the kings of the earth is a God who will keep his own through whatever the circumstance for whatever the outcome.
I’m thinking that every time we give thanks for our “daily bread”, the reminder of God’s faithful provision should bolster our holy determination to live obedient, faithful lives.
His daily demonstration of unfailing grace, compelling us to want to live for His everlasting glory.