For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
There will always be plenty of flour and oil left in your containers
until the time when the LORD sends rain and the crops grow again!
1 Kings 17:14 nlt
If I wanted to know what kind of mythical creature I would be [if I could], there is a quiz for that. I can also find out which U.S. city I should live in and what color my personality is. In ten questions or less, social media has turned self-discovery into a drive-through paced form of entertainment. But, when all is said and done, I can’t do anything life-changing with the knowledge that I am a complex mix of Luna Lovegood, a dragon, and the color orange.
Then, in my Bible reading this week, I was led to a very telling “quiz” with only one question: What if some miracles began with an act of obedience – would I obey?
In 1 Kings chapter 17, I was introduced to the prophet Elijah. Elijah’s job as a prophet was to encourage people and leaders to turn back to God during a time when most of the kings were encouraging idol worship instead. His first task in chapter 17 was to tell King Ahab that, as a result of the idol worship in Israel, all rain and dew in his provinces would cease until he (Elijah) says otherwise.
Quiz: Would you obey? Would you risk your life telling a dangerous king that, because of his poor choices, there will be an indefinitely long drought in his kingdom?
With the full knowledge that he risked death in doing so, he obeyed. That act of obedience led to his safety and protection in a time when everyone else would suffer from the drought.
Then the LORD said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook at a place east of where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” So Elijah did as the LORD had told him and camped beside Kerith Brook. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. (1 Kings 17:2-6)
So, he was fed by ravens. God blessed his obedience by commanding ravens to bring him food day and night! MIRACLE!!! And it doesn’t stop there – the miracles spill over onto someone else once the brook dries up. God tells Elijah to go to the village of Zarephath where he had instructed a widow to feed him. He obeys and, upon arriving at the village gates, he sees a widow gathering sticks. He asks her to bring him a cup of water and a bite of bread. Check out what happens:
But she said, “I swear by the LORD your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.” But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and cook that ‘last meal,’ but bake me a little loaf of bread first. Afterward there will still be enough food for you and your son. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: There will always be plenty of flour and oil left in your containers until the time when the LORD sends rain and the crops grow again!” (1 Kings 17:12-14)
Quiz: Would you obey? Would you take your last meal away from yourself and your son, potentially welcoming death even sooner, just because God asked you to feed some random man you had never met?
So she did as Elijah said, and she AND Elijah AND her son continued to eat from her supply of flour and oil for many days. For no matter how much they used, there was always enough left in the containers, just as the LORD had promised through Elijah. (1 Kings 17:15+16)
Quiz: In my life, what is God asking me to do that scares me – that renders all my earthly safety nets useless? What is God asking me to share that I have only “one portion” of? Am I willing to do something simply because God asks me to? What if I were to live a life of obedience beyond my understanding and have faith that he will provide? Do I believe that he would command ravens to feed me and jars of flour to never deplete if I needed it?
Challenge: Live each day so that my quiz result is FAITHFUL ONE: You live by faith, not by sight and your life is sustained by God’s miracles not human restrictions.
Dear Lord, I want to have the kind of faith Elijah and the widow had – to trust you in the face of danger AND death. I want to obey even when I don’t understand why. Please give me courage to be your faithful one no matter what my insecurities are. Let me be eager to witness your miracles and power every time I am called to obey! Amen.