Posts Tagged ‘ravens’

“Then a revelation from the Lord came to him: ‘Leave here, turn eastward, and hide yourself at the Wadi Cherith where it enters the Jordan.  You are to drink from the wadi, I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.’  So he did what the Lord commanded, Elijah left and lived by the Wadi Cherith where it enters the Jordan.  The ravens kept bringing him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening, and he drank from the wadi.”  1 Kings 17:2-6

We all have pretty developed concepts of what are appropriate avenues for God to provide for us.  They are engrained in us culturally as we grow up.  We tend to follow economic paths that fall within that cultural upbringing.  Unfortunately, particularly as Christians (but not solely limited to us) we spiritualize those concepts and values and label them as Christian.  I know that since God called me to full-time ministry, and more particularly to the Urban Mission field he has been rocking my world in this area.

I can imagine Elijah’s reaction as God began to use him as a prophet to Israel.  He probably gave himself a high-five after dressing down Ahab and congratulated himself on his appointment as Yahweh’s Weatherman for Israel.  But the call to the service of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ has certain life style and life view changes that come as part of the package.  The next revelation from the Lord probably hit Elijah with as much joy as Jonah’s call to Nineveh.  Elijah already had a plan going, outlining how God could provide for him through the drought and ensuing famine; perhaps a nice cushy spot on the coast somewhere with cool deep spring and lots of fish that just jump onto the beach.  Then it comes:

“Hey Elijah, yeah you. This IS Yahweh and as you expected I have made provision…no …nope not the coast, though that would be very nice.  Nope sorry no rich family with lots of storage and living space.  I have the perfect spot, head out-of-town east.  Yes into the wilderness.  No, no spring but there will be a wadi (dried up stream bed that only runs when it rains hard) Oh yeah and I will send Ravens to feed you.”

“SEND WHAT! Ravens are going to feed me, with bread and meat in their mouths.  Have you seen a raven?  Surely there is a mistake here, I don’t eat stuff that comes from the mouth of an animal that eats mostly DEAD things.  Oh and wadi’s only run when it RAINS.”

Now of course my dialogue here is completely fabricated and probably bears a much greater resemblance to conversations that I have had with God over the way that we should be provided for but I think that the inferences are reasonably valid.  When we teach it in Sunday School it seems so cool.  Wow Elijah got to be fed from the beaks of ravens! This is the reaction of someone who has not connected raven with the bird picking at the roadkill you just drove by on your way to church!  I can continue with the proposed water source.  A creek bed that flows into the Jordan only when it rains.  This is wilderness runoff not refreshing spring water.  Consider Naaman’s reaction to just bathing in the Jordan River: “Aren’t Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?.” (2 Kings 5:12)

However no matter what his gut reaction was to God’s plan, Elijah was obedient to his God and entered the spiritual stream of provision that would provide for him and eventually for the widow of Zarepath and her son.  But what if Elijah had turned his nose up at God’s initial provision plan?  Maybe he would have been able to eke out the time and perhaps come out still used by God but he would have missed the miraculous wonder of God’s provision and of God’s almighty healing hand.  God loves rocking our world with spiritual truth before rocking our world with spiritual blessing.

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