Food delivery is perhaps one of the best things when you are sick, tired, or weary. If you have ever been recovering from an illness or a wound, newly home with a brand new baby, or in such grief that cooking is not even an option, then you know what I am talking about. When food gets delivered, you feel the tender care of others who are rallying around you and supporting you in beautiful and tangible way which is amazing, humbling, and so appreciated.
Look with me in 1 Kings 17, verses 2-6:
“And the word of the LORD came to him [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.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”
Wait. . .what? Ravens brought food to Elijah? Ravens?
I have experienced food delivered by family, friends, a sub shop, and a pizza place, but never by ravens.
Here’s the background: Elijah, God’s chosen prophet during this time in history, has been given the difficult task of telling Ahab that there would be “neither dew nor rain these years, except by my [the LORD’s] word.” (1 Kings 17:1, ESV). Now, Ahab is described in the chapter before this in great detail.
We know he:
- was king of Israel for 22 years (v. 29)
- did evil in the sight of the LORD — more than all who were before him (v. 30)
- married Jezebel, a foreign woman (v. 31) who just might be the most evil woman mentioned in the pages of scripture (at least, that is my thought).
- intentionally turned his back on the LORD to serve the idol, Baal (the fertility god of the Canaanites). Not only did he worship Baal, but he led the nation of Israel to follow in his idolatry (v. 31)
- built a house for Baal in Samaria and erected an alter for Baal (v. 32)
- made an Asherah (v. 33)
This sentence, found in 1 Kings 16:33 says it all: “Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.” (ESV)
And God sends His chosen prophet, Elijah, to communicate the consequence of Ahab’s poor choices: years of drought, except by the LORD’s word. Why? The LORD needed to remind Ahab that He alone is God and that He alone controls everything, including the fertility of the soil, not the idol Baal.
After delivering this difficult message, the LORD tells Elijah to head out and seek refuge by a brook that will provide him with water and that meat and bread will be brought to him two times a day to nourish him. Elijah simply had to trust and obey. And two times each day, God had food delivered in the most interesting of ways to meet Elijah’s needs.
I find two things so amazing about this story:
1). The LORD met the immediate, most essential needs of Elijah: food and water.
God knows what we need, truly need, and He sees to it that those things are met one way or another.
We often get caught up in asking the LORD for the things we want. That is awesome. He asks us to go before Him with our requests:
“Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3, NLT)
Sometimes He says ‘yes’ to those things and sometimes He says ‘no’ for our own good, but when it comes to our immediate, essential needs, He makes a way.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Phil. 4:6, NLT)
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need [emphasis mine]” (Matt. 6:33, NLT)
2). He used His creation to do it!
The LORD cares deeply for us and takes tender care of our every need, even when it means sending ravens to make sure we are sustained. I don’t doubt for a minute that He could do this again in today’s time, however, He doesn’t really need to because He uses our hands and our feet to bring care and relief to those in need.
I am reminded of George Muller, a missionary who cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime. One incident that will always remain in my mind is this one:
It was breakfast time and the housemother of the orphanage went to share with George a troubling reality. The children were hungry and there was no food to feed them. George told her to lead the children into the dining room and began thanking the LORD for the food that would be provided. Although Muller had no idea where the food would come from, he trust the LORD had it all worked out. Within minutes, there came a knock at the door. “Mr. Muller,” the man at the door said. “Last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.”
Wait. . .what?
Shortly after, there was another knock on the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down and all of the milk was sure to spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked Muller if he could use the milk; if so, he could have it for free. Ten large cans of milk were brought in to meet the thirst need of the children.
Wait. . . what?
Coincidence? No. I don’t believe in those.
Grace directly from the LORD? Without a doubt. When things just seem to work out and a need is met, you can bet the LORD orchestrated every last detail.
That is the kind of God we serve! He often uses the hands and feet of others to meet needs, but understand that it is GOD working in and through those people to come to your aid, meet your need, and lift your spirit. His heart is so tender toward us. So tender.
If you have a need, no matter how big or small, tell Him! He already knows, but there is something about verbalizing it to Him and then waiting with anticipation as you trust Him for that need to be met. And don’t forget to thank Him in advance for His provision. Wait for it! He will surely meet every last one of your needs whether it is through other people or ravens.
Just like Elijah, trust and obey, and wait for your needs to be met by the LORD.
I love you, Mustard Seed Girls. Keep trusting. Keep praying.
P.S. I also thought you might enjoy this quote from George Muller that I found on his website: