1 Kings 17:1-7
As I stood before King Ahab, proclaiming there would be no rain in the land for the next few years, I may have appeared bold, but inwardly I was trembling. Following Yahweh and seeking to obey Him are not for the faint-hearted. Yet, while I dreaded the king’s response to my message, I knew I must remain faithful.
My name says it all: Elijah, which means “Yahweh is my God.” This was my conviction, and it was how I attempted to live, but, as I said, it was far from easy.
I knew the history of my people, the Israelites. I had heard how Yahweh had led them out of slavery in Egypt to bring them here, to the Promised Land. I can only imagine my ancestors’ hope and optimism as they set foot in this land for the first time, anticipating a bright new start. I wonder what they would think if they could see my people now.
It had certainly not been the hoped-for happy ending. From the very start, my ancestors had struggled to obey Yahweh and there had been ongoing issues with the other tribes in the land. Eventually, the Israelites had demanded a human king, rejecting Yahweh as their Sovereign. It was only their 3rd king, when Israel had split in two. Surely, this was not what Yahweh had intended when He led His people to the land.
A culture of rebellion against Yahweh was all I had ever known, growing up in Tishbe in the northern kingdom of Israel, and yet I had come to believe that Yahweh is God and that, despite the seeming chaos all around, Yahweh is Sovereign. Ahab was the worst in a series of wicked kings, leading the people in worship to Baal, but I knew Yahweh was the true King.
Maybe that was why I had prayed so earnestly for rain to cease in the land. (James 5:17) I truly desired for people to see Yahweh’s power. The few of His followers who remained were fearful and hiding. To most people in the land, it seemed Yahweh was dead, but I knew He was very much alive, and His power was far greater than that of Baal.
Baal was believed to be the sky god who controlled the weather. My pronouncement to Ahab that the rain would stop was really a declaration of Yahweh’s far-greater power. I longed for the king, and all my people, to understand who was really God.
Following my encounter with King Ahab, I have to say I was relieved when Yahweh instructed me to go to the Cherith Ravine to hide. I wanted to get as far from Ahab as possible. Yahweh told me I would drink from the brook and the ravens would feed me. This confused me at first, because I know ravens are unclean animals (Leviticus 11:13-15), but I also know Yahweh’s ways are not always ours, and I knew I had to obey.
As He promised, the ravens have fed me – bread and meat twice a day – and this has continued for many months now. I don’t know how long I will be here, or what will happen next, but I do know Yahweh supplies my needs every day. Even in widespread drought and famine, there has not been a single day when I’ve gone hungry or thirsty.
It has led me to know Yahweh in a deeper way, revealing His personal care for me. I am humbled to think Yahweh, the Almighty God, has sent ravens twice a day to provide just for me. It reminds me of the stories of my ancestors being supplied with manna and quail in the wilderness. (Exodus 16:11-18) I am reassured Yahweh is still the same, and, despite my worries about Ahab and my apprehension about what may lie ahead, it encourages me that Yahweh is enough.
I can truly declare, “Yahweh is MY God!”
Even as I watch the brook begin to dry up before me, and I sense it may soon be time to move on, I can put my hope in Yahweh. Although the future is uncertain, I trust He is enough, and He will continue to provide for all my needs.
I’m holding onto hope for my people. I know Yahweh will be faithful, one day the Promised One will come, and He will supply everything necessary to meet our needs for all eternity.
Sketched XI, Day 4
As we take Him in, we hunger less and less for the things of this world and the more our appetite increases to enjoy the feast of the Bread of Life.
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