And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 1 Kings 17:7-9
If you’ve read the Old Testament or remember your Sunday school lessons as a kid, you’re probably familiar with the story of how God took care of Elijah. Tucked in that account are several lessons about God’s provision.
1 Kings 17 opens with Elijah announcing to King Ahab that a drought was coming as a judgment for the idolatry in Israel. After he delivered the message, God hid the prophet and provided for him by commanding ravens to bring food to Elijah each morning and evening. Ravens won’t even take care of their own young, but at God’s command, they brought food– real food and not the rot they usually eat– to nourish the man of God.
God’s provision sometimes comes from unlikely places.
After a while, the brook that had been Elijah’s source of water dried up. Elijah had to have known this was coming. He must have watched the trickle shrink each day all while waiting for God to intervene, to make the brook flow or to make it rain. It didn’t happen.
God’s provision doesn’t always come according to our plans or on our schedule.
Instead, God told him to go to Zarephath. Eighty-five miles away. Think of that. Israel is desert-ish. Elijah is going to hike 85 miles. In a drought.
God’s provision isn’t an always an easy handout.
The Bible doesn’t record how God took care of Elijah on that trip, only that the prophet arrived safely. In Zarephath, God commanded a widow to provide for the Elijah, only it seems God hadn’t told her that plan. In fact she’s more shocked than Elijah. She explained she had enough food for one final meal and then she and her son would starve like everyone else. Elijah asked her to feed him first, and she did. God honored her faith and took care of all of them for the duration of the drought.
God’s provision for us blesses others.
How has God’s provision for you proved these lessons?