From Andrew Truschel
Reading through 1 Kings 17, I was immediately struck by Elijah’s radical faithfulness to the word of the Lord, even as he was led into extreme circumstances. In verses 1-7, Elijah is told to head east of the Jordan and live by Cherith where he will drink from a brook and be fed by ravens. After the brook eventually dried up (as Elijah was told that it would), Elijah is then commanded to go to Zarephath to be fed by a poor widow, who has so little food that she is preparing a final meal for herself and her son (v. 8-12).
I can hardly imagine willingly walking into such circumstances - relying on birds to provide me with food, drinking water from a brook that I knew would soon dry up, and asking a dying widow to use her final ingredients to bake me some bread. And yet Elijah obeyed the voice of the Lord, despite the questions that he was surely entertaining in his own mind. Even when the widow’s son eventually dies of illness and the widow blames Elijah, the prophet petitions the Lord to bring the son back to life and the boy's life is restored (v. 17-24).
In all three circumstances - being fed by the ravens, being fed by the poor widow, and in petitioning the Lord to raise the dead - Elijah chose to believe that the Lord would provide where there was little or no hope. Elijah trusted the Lord in the past and had been taken care of, and that knowledge of the Lord’s saving faithfulness gave him the faith to trust the Lord in the new trials that he found himself in. As with David in Psalm 69, Elijah trusted that, “at an acceptable time… in the abundance of [His] steadfast love,” God would answer his prayers “in [His] saving faithfulness” (Ps. 69:13).
Although most of us don’t face such life-threatening trials on a daily basis, I pray that we would learn to trust God with the steadfastness that Elijah displayed in 1 Kings 17. We know that the Lord cares for us more than the lilies of the field and the birds of the air (Matt. 6:26-30), but we so often try to grasp at security rather than trust in the Lord’s timely provision. I pray that all of us would learn to entrust every aspect of our lives - where our next meal will come from, what career path we should choose, who we should marry - to the loving God who is faithful and unchanging, now and forever.