Asa was still ruling Judah when Ahab became king of Israel. Remember, Ahab “married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal” (I Kings 16:31b, NLT).
The prophet Elijah had the task of warning Ahab and the people of Israel of God’s impending judgment against them. One of the warning signs was a drought. “Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, ‘As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives – the God I serve – there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!’” (I Kings 17:1). The people of Israel may have turned away from God, but they were still His possession and His demand for loyalty was never going to change.
After Elijah had delivered the Lord’s message to Ahab, “the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food’” (I Kings 17:2-4).
Elijah knew his words would anger the arrogant, godless king, but before he had even had time to consider his next act, God had already prepared a hiding place for him and even the provision of food and water. “So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land” (I Kings 17:5-7).
Now was it time to panic? Nope. Don’t ever worry about God not being prepared for your next need – He’s so far ahead of you on provision planning, it could hurt your brain just to think about it! Just as with Elijah.
It was time to move on. There’s a word for somebody reading this. Don’t sit and mope when God already has a brand new blessing in place for you. Maybe not where you want it or when you want it, but absolutely perfect in His own time and will.
“Then the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.’ So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, ‘Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?’ As she was going to get it, he called to her, ‘Bring me a bite of bread, too’” (I Kings 17:8-11).
Elijah’s request may not sound like a tall order to us, but remember, a drought had been going on for some time now. No rain meant no crops; and no crops meant no food; and no food meant both humans and animals were starving.
Hearing Elijah’s request for bread, the widow told him, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die” (I Kings 17:12).
This woman wasn’t being pathetic. She was simply resigned to the fate that she realized was inevitable for her and her son. Ah, but God had a different plan just around the corner.
Beloved, God is the God of the Impossible. When things look the darkest, He is the Light. When your life’s without hope, He’s the Hope of the Hopeless. This precious widow was about to learn a great truth: when we see life falling apart, God sees things coming together. That’s a wonderful truth for all of us to hang onto.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates