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Thinking of You

Key References: 1 Kings 17:1-16; Prophets and Kings, chap. 9, pp. 119-128; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 5, pp. 12-25; Our Beliefs nos. 18, 11, 3

Power Text

“So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there” (1 Kings 17:5).

Power Point

God’s daily care teaches us to trust in His grace.

What is the longest time you can remember without rain? A week? A month? A couple of months? A year? Close your eyes and imagine what it would be like if no rain came for three years. That is just the situation that the people of Israel were facing in the days of Elijah the prophet.

Elijah stepped out of his small home. His heart ached. The beauty of the woods, the rolling hills of the mountains of Gilead, could not bring him peace. Elijah grieved because the people of Israel, his people, had rejected God. In the nearly 100 years since the reign of King David the Hebrew people had been led by their kings into idol worship. One night Elijah heard from God.

“Elijah.”

“Yes, Lord.”

“Elijah, I want you to go to King Ahab with a message.”

“Yes, God.” Elijah didn’t hesitate to do what God asked him to do. Traveling night and day, he walked from his home east of the Jordan River to Samaria. He walked through the beautiful countryside until he reached the capital city.

At the palace of King Ahab, Elijah didn’t ask permission to see the king. He walked past the guards on duty straight into the throne room and stood before an astonished Ahab. Raising his hand above his head he said, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be no dew or rain in the next few years until I say so.”

Before King Ahab could rise from his throne and shout “Stop that man,” Elijah was gone.

God told Elijah to go back east of the Jordan River and hide in the Kerith Ravine. Elijah knew the place. Immediately he set out for this hiding place.

The priests of Baal continued to offer sacrifices asking Baal to take care of the land. No one worried until several months had passed without rain. A year passed. The grass shriveled. The trees stood barren without fruit and without leaves. Many streams had dried completely. In the idol groves, surrounded by their leafless trees, the priests of Baal continued to burn sacrifices begging Baal to send rain again.

Ahab searched for the prophet who had visited him. He sent messengers to surrounding nations, asking, “Do you know where the man of God is?” He sent his soldiers to every town and village to search for him. But no one could find Elijah. He was safely hidden at the brook Kerith.

Day after day Elijah watched the plants wither and die. He watched the brook become a trickle of water. Each morning and evening black ravens carried food to him. How surprised Elijah must have been the first time they appeared with bread in their beaks and dropped it into his hands. How awed Elijah must have felt at this miracle that kept him supplied with food. Every day Elijah praised God for His care.

Eventually the brook dried up completely. Then God said, “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” Immediately Elijah traveled to Zarephath, a small town in Phoenicia near the Mediterranean Sea. Coming near the town, Elijah saw a woman collecting sticks. He knew that she was gathering wood to build a cooking fire. Elijah stopped near her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she turned to go get him water, Elijah said, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

The woman stood up straight and looked into Elijah’s face. Somehow she must have recognized that he believed in Jehovah God. “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she said, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

Elijah said, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land’ ” (see 1 Kings 17:9-14).

And that’s exactly what happened. Every single day for the rest of the threeyear famine, the widow used all the flour and oil in her containers to make bread. Every single day, by God’s grace, her containers had just enough flour and oil to use for that day.