Today`s verse sums up for me the balance that we all need to find as we live our lives for the Lord. He is the One who saves us, heals us, transforms us, provides for us, and so much more. It is His work, and we should never try to do it for Him or to seek to do things our way. However, there are times when He asks us to step out in faith and follow precise instructions preceding His intervention.
One such example is the story of Elijah’s miraculous provision in 1 Kings 17. There was no rain, and therefore a time of famine was to come. God told Elijah to go to the Cherith Brook, where he could drink from the stream and food would be brought to him by ravens. What an extraordinary instruction to be given! I wonder how firm our faith and trust would be if told to do something similar. But Elijah obeyed and went to the right place. If he had gone to a different brook the ravens might not have found him. He was provided for until the brook dried up, when he was given fresh instructions.
These instructions were to go to Zarepath – a town in Sidon, the area from where the notorious Queen Jezebel had originated. His instructions were to go ‘at once’ – timing is important with God. He arrived at the town gate just as the widow whom God had chosen was there collecting wood in order to bake the last of her supplies, expecting then to die. Elijah asked her to bake a small loaf for him and her family, and, as she followed these instructions, the supply of oil and flour miraculously continued and did not run out. She was willing to give the little she had left and to do what Elijah asked, trusting him and his God.
These are wonderful examples of God’s provision, but it also shows us that sometimes God requires specific action from us too. The word Zarephath in Hebrew means ‘refinery’, so the whole experience would have been a refining process for Elijah in preparation for the amazing exploits that followed on Mount Carmel. It proved Elijah’s implicit trust in God and His obedience to Him, which would be necessary for all that lay ahead.
What about us? Are we waiting on God for provision – of finance, healing or breakthrough in other ways? Is there anything that God is asking us to do in the meantime before His provision will be released? It is God who provides, but He may want us to take action and follow His instructions to demonstrate our trust in Him and our obedience.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the miraculous way You provided for Elijah, and for all the ways You have provided for me during my life. Please show me if there is anything You want me to do, and help me to trust and obey Your instructions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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