1 Kings 17:1-7

This week’s devotions were written by Kathy Patrick, a member of Faith Lutheran Church.

Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” The word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the wadi, 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 Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the wadi. But after a while the wadi dried up, because there was no rain in the land. 1 Kings 17:1-7

Yesterday, in 1 Kings 16: 31-34 and 1 Kings 17:1, we met the evil King Ahab and met the prophet Elijah. The prophet, whose name means “Yahweh is my God” has raised his voice to confront Ahab over his idolatry—and, well, Ahab does not react well.  In verse 2, we learn that Ahab is out for Elijah’s life, so “The word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Go from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.’”

And so, Elijah flees. He becomes a refugee. Putting his life in God’s hands, he leaves his home heading for a distant land where he will live along the wadi, depending upon the ravens to feed him. But what is Elijah thinking? Surely, he was terrified, for the obvious reason that a king wanted to kill him. But other things were probably terrifying, too. God is sending Elijah to live by a wadi. A wadi is a seasonal stream that appears in a rainy season, but is dry in the dry season—a dry season Elijah knows is coming because he’s just prophesied a drought. Elijah knows he will have to depend on ravens—large, scary, black birds—to bring him food. What if they fly away and never return? And most of all, Elijah knows he must hide. But where will he hide? And for how long?

In every sense, as Elijah flees, he knows he will have nothing to save him but the generous, unexpected, and unlikely gifts of God:  water from a dry stream, food provided by ravens. He has God’s promise, yet he knows he will be utterly dependent on God to follow through, because Elijah cannot save himself.

And yet, Elijah trusts, because “Yahweh is my God.”

Prayer:  Lord, in a world that emphasizes self-reliance and that we can never have enough, teach us to trust in your generous providing. We pray for daily bread, even as we live with so much more food than that. As we ponder the example of your servant Elijah, help us to focus on what is enough for us, to be grateful for the gifts you give us, and to be as generous to your church and your people as you have been to us. Amen.

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