Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In 1 Kings 17 we read about the prophet Elijah, who, at God’s command, confronted Ahab, an unbelieving king, and prayed for a drought. Most of us can hardly imagine a situation worse than a drought. At first it seems dry. As time goes on, the dry weather stresses crops and livestock. Eventually there is little choice but slaughter of the livestock. They would not have adequate food to eat. Crop after crop fails. There is nothing left but reserve food, the kind of food which can be kept from year to year. Grain supplies dwindle. Creeks and ponds dry up, then lakes and rivers. All along the people face the reality that they need to reserve seed to plant, that it will take months after planting to bring a crop to harvest, and that one rainfall doesn’t mean the drought is broken. It is a fearsome condition.
This drought, we realize, was aimed at Ahab the king. Possibly the intention of God was to bring the king to his senses. Confronting the cruel earthly king with the power of the heavenly king would be a wake-up call. Possibly this was a means of God calling His people to repent. They knew they were Israel, the people who answer to the particular God who does not share with others in his claims to loyalty. If they repent, He can bring rain.
We really don’t know the “what if.” What we do know is that God appointed Elijah to go to a widow, suffering from the drought, and bring relief. She could supply Elijah with a little bread, the last she had. As she showed her faith in God, He would make her small supply of flour and oil last. God provided for this woman who trusted in Him.
We have no promise that God will provide for everyone in the same way. That isn’t the point of this passage. However, we do have a promise in the Bible that God will provide, indeed has provided, for people of every nation. By trust in God through Jesus, anyone, anywhere, in any kind of social and economic climate, can be a partaker of Jesus, the bread of life. The supernatural supply of the bread of heaven will not perish, will not run out, and will not fail God’s people. We can come near and know that even when we eat our last meal and starve, we have been nourished for eternal life.
Lord, take the eyes of your people off of our concern for bread which perishes. Let us look to You, the bringer of eternal life. And as we are concerned with You, may we see provision for our daily, earthly needs as well.
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