1 Kings 17: 1-6, 1Now 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.” 2And the word of the LORD came to him: 3“Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5So 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. 6And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook (English Standard Version).
Elijah was a man who obeyed God’s leading in his life. And God provided for Elijah in his service of Him. Really the rest of this chapter speaks to that provision and how it spilled over to a family that Elijah helped spare from starvation. God provided for Elijah with protection and nourishment. There were times in Elijah’s life when he did what was right in obeying God, but panicked in the process, but God never abandoned him. He always provided for Elijah’s needs. I tried to picture being fed by ravens. What an interesting experience that must have been. Every day, twice a day, the ravens brought him food. And God provided water for Elijah. The equation was simple, you serve me — even in dangerous situations — and I’ll provide for you. These provisions were signs of God’s presence with Elijah. I wonder if he thanked God when the ravens came? God met his physical needs and protected him from King Ahab.
I understand the provision that comes from God when we do His will. I also know he lets some of us die in the process of doing His will. I remember Stephen who was the church’s first martyr. He served God more diligently than I have and paid for it with his life. Five young men in 1956 lost their lives carrying the good news of Jesus to a tribe of people in Ecuador. So I ask myself why do some live and enjoy protection from God, while others lose their lives serving the same God. My only answer can be it’s not the preservation that we must focus on, but God’s presence. It is evident from the text that God was with Elijah. It is evident from the New Testament text God was with Stephen. It is evident from first hand accounts that God was with those five men in the jungle. We will always have God’s presence in our lives. It’s something we cannot lose, but His temporal deliverance, well that’s up to Him. My focus is on the One who is with me through my serving and if I lose my life in the process I am assured I will not lose His presence.
Father God I forget many times that you are with me. You are with me all the time. Help me to take comfort in that fact and not whether you spare me in this life or not. Help me to set my mind on Your Spirit and walk in You every moment of my life, so that deliverance becomes secondary to Your presence. I pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen.