1 Kings 17:14-15—For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house did eat many days.
Once the Kerith Ravine dried up, the Lord sent Elijah to the home of a Gentile woman. If you thought ravens were stingy, try humans. But a few verses earlier the LORD said He had commanded her to feed Elijah. Elijah gave her a real faith test by asking her to feed him first and then cook their meal from the little left in her jar. If the LORD had not commanded her to do this, I doubt she would have even considered it. Even though there was a promise that a miracle would happen, consider that this woman is not Jewish. The prophet before her had been camping out in a ravine for months. Who is going to give their last meal to him instead of feeding their own child? But just as the LORD commanded the Ravens, so He commanded her. When she obeyed, she found the promise was true. One pastor tells of the surprise she must have experienced each time she reached in to scrape the bottom of the jars. Just enough for another meal, again, and again, and again! We have the same experience when we abide in Christ. We think we have scraped the bottom of the mercy and grace jar with a certain brother. We reach into the life of Christ within us and, low and behold, there is just enough for the present situation. Then another situation comes along. The last time, we know we scraped the bottom and had just barely enough. Here this brother is offending us again. How can we possibly find the mercy to forgive him? But we reach into the earthen vessel that holds the treasure and what do you know! It is just enough to meet the present circumstance.
1 Kings 17:2-4—Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”
Elijah had just predicted that until he prayed for rain there would be no rain on the land. Then God sent Elijah to a hide from the king and provided for him in a rather unusual way. The ravens brought him the ingredients for sandwiches. If you’ve ever watched ravens eat, you know they do not like to share. That’s quite a miracle. God is Lord over His creation. I once read a story of a Chinese brother who was imprisoned for his faith. The guards withheld his food because he would not renounce Christ, so the LORD ordered mice to bring him food. He probably ate better on what the mice brought than if the prison had served him his meals. Jesus told us not to worry about what we will eat or wear because we have a Father in heaven that knows we are in need. If He feeds the sparrows he will feed us, for He values us more than the sparrows. The psalmist said, from his youth to his old age, he had never seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. If we are obedient to the LORD, we will not starve. We may not always have the abundance we might prefer, but God will care for us. Having food and clothing, we should be content. If we can learn to be content with the few necessities of life, the many things that distract us will lose their power of influence over us. We can then give our attention to the LORD and His instruction to us. He didn’t promise us luxury in this life, in fact, he promised tribulation. But we have the assurance that He will care for us as a Father cares for his children.
1 Kings 12:7-8—And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants forever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:
Solomon reigned for forty years, the same number of years as his father David. Because his heart turned to other gods, the LORD promised ten tribes to one of his overseers, Jeroboam. When Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, was to be crowned king, the people asked him to please lighten the burden Solomon had placed on them. Solomon had heavily taxed the people and given them assignments in service to the kingdom. Rehoboam asked the people to give him three days to consider their request. First, he went to the elders that had advised his father. They had been a part of the success of his father and had a track record of giving good advice. They had years of experience and were probably very wise individuals. They advised Rehoboam to be a servant leader. They told him that if he would indeed lighten their load, they would keep their word and serve him faithfully all their life. Rehoboam didn’t like that advise. He wanted what his father had. Why should he tighten his belt and do with less? He sought out the advice of the young men he grew up with. They told him what he wanted to hear. He answered the people that he would be harsher than his father. The ten northern tribes drew away with Jeroboam as their leader, fulfilling the word of God. Man always wants more. It is hard for the carnal nature to give up niceties of life but oh so easy to desire more. In Rehoboam’s greed, he lost nearly all. Instead of a minor cutback, he had to make a major one.