Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Obedience & Provision

Written by Jim Howard

A rugged-looking man of sun-bronzed skin, clothed in a rough leather garment, stands alone by the little mountain brook. He shields his eyes from the lowering sun to see a flock of large black birds swooping toward him. He reaches eagerly to take from the leading raven’s beak a part of the evening’s supper, then dips some clear water from the brook.

Elijah, the prophet of Israel (1 Kings 17:1-7), has been sent by God to a wilderness brook far from the burning vengeance of wicked King Ahab. Coming upon him in this scene, we can look briefly at two principles operating in his life: 1) his obedience and 2) his provision from the Lord.

We first see Elijah in the royal court of Samaria. Elijah has confronted Ahab, perhaps has warned him of his need for repentance, and now has told him of the ensuing drought as punishment form the Lord (v. 1). Immediately upon giving this message to the king, Elijah received a command. Notice Elijah’s obedience: “And the word of the Lord came unto him saying, ‘Get thee hence…’ So he went…” (v. 2, 5).

Elijah must have been attuned to the Lord’s speaking, or the word of the Lord could not have come to him. And when it did come, he obeyed instantly. The key to the Christian’s guidance is having a heart in tune with the Lord, ready, as Samuel the prophet was, to say, “Speak; for thy servant heareth” (1 Sam. 3:10). When the word of the Lord is clear to us, are we prepared to act upon it in obedience?

It is to the brook in the wilderness that God commands Elijah to go. But God has already been there ahead of him. He has commanded the ravens to bring Elijah food both morning and evening and has planned for the fresh water of the brook to sustain him. Notice how God works at both ends of the situation. Elijah’s provision is there waiting for him, as he obeys. So it is for the Christian who seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and consequently finds that all the necessities are added to him (Matt. 6:33).

When the brook dries up, it could well appear to Elijah that God has left him. But at the eleventh hour, “the word of the Lord came unto him” (v. 8) again, to move him on to a new place of provision. So God often meets the believer at the eleventh hour. He has not promised grace for anticipation, but rather He assures us, “My grace is sufficient” (2 Cor. 12:9, italics mine), right now.

Is our life characterized by the same unquestioning obedience as Elijah’s? Are we trusting in the same kind of faithfulness on God’s part to meet our need in His own time?

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