Friday, August 7, 2009

Feasting on the Lord

Today I had a really good Bible study on 1 Kings chapter 17, and I thought I would share some of what I learned.

1 Kings 17 introduces us to Elijah. In the previous chapter, we meet Ahab and are told, "He...went and served Baal and worshiped him....Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him." 1 Kings 17 starts out saying, "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.' " Now what is interesting about this is that Baal was the god of fertility and the "storm god." By causing a drought, God proves that it isn't Baal who controls the skies, but the Lord God. The text notes in my Bible say, "[In the Baal worshipper's eyes] the absence of rain meant the absence of Baal."

The rest of the passage eloquently demonstrates God's care for His people. Because of his declaration, Elijah had to run for his life from Ahab. The only problem was, there was famine everywhere, affecting even God's people. But God's loving provision for His people is so merciful and rich! "And the word of the LORD came to him: '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....And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.' "

It is so wonderful to read this and know that the Lord would do the same for me as He does for Elijah--no, He does do the same things for me, every day. I may not literally be fed by ravens, but He feeds me with so much!! In the middle of the desert of this world, He gives me the bread of encouragement when He helps me with even the tiniest of things: finding my keys just in time, so I'm not late for work; giving me favor in the eyes of a boss or a teacher, and countless other daily blessings. And He feeds me with the meat of His Word through the wisdom of men who walk closely with Him and faithfully preach the truth, and through the Holy Spirit's teachings to my soul. What a mighty, yet loving, merciful God and Savior!!

And consider this--How loving and personal God is in His care for His children. He could have just sent Elijah to a place where there were animals to kill for meat and where wheat was growing for bread. But instead He allowed Elijah to see His overwhelming love and care for him. He did not even allow Elijah a chance to doubt that it was indeed the Lord who was providing for him! Later in this chapter, the Lord does the same thing for the widow. His provision for her left no room for doubting. And the widow lived in Zarephath--an area considered at the heart of Baal worship! But the Lord was so tender with her, even raising her son from the dead! After, listen to what she says: "And the woman said to Elijah,'Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.' " She trusted in the Lord--because of the death (and then the raising) of her son! The Lord knows just what we need. His care for us is perfect!

No comments: