The Raven's Call [Devotion]
“Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” 2 And the word of the Lord came to him: 3 “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.” (1 Kings 17:1-6)
Have you ever been a raven? No I’m not crazy (well I am but not because of this) but I wanted to pull two lessons from this passage. Number one, “receiving ravens,” and number two, “being ravens.”
For the first let’s give a little context. Israel is a divided people and the Northern Kingdom (Israel) is now ruled by Ahab. I don’t think I need to give too much time to him since we are likely to all be familiar with the fact that “Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him.” So God Raises up Elijah the Tishbite and sends him to the king with the prophecy we see recorded in the passage above. Now what’s interesting is we’re given some extra insight into this in James 5:17, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.” So Elijah, at the leading of the Lord, prays for drought and it comes… needless to say he’s not going to be too popular with this wicked king. So God tells him to hide in the wilderness and sets up a rather singular method of taking care of his day to day needs. God commands the ravens to bring him food! First off, though I don’t know if there is any significance to this fact but ravens were unclean animals (Leviticus 11:13-15). But more importantly what a great picture of the provision of God! “The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening,” Elijah, in his flight had to rely on God’s direct and miraculous provision day in and day out. How often do we look and thank God for the “ravens” in our lives? This is a rather small footnote of a miracle compared to some of the other things God would do through Elijah and yet that doesn’t make it any less the work of God. How often, in the pursuit of our callings, we fail to see the little miracles of God’s provision. Do we look at how God is faithful morning and evening, day in and day out, or do we live as though we must handle the day to day and God will only show up for the spectacular. But God provides for the mundane as well as the extraordinary and we should look for those little blessings. To look for “ravens” is to look for and acknowledge the hand of God in the consistent faithfulness of His provision and care, morning and evening.
The second point is I wanted us to look for opportunities to “be ravens.” This one is simple. Are we taking opportunities to be the hands and feet (or wings) of God’s daily provision? And I’m not just talking about physical needs like food or clothes. I’m talking about the little moments of encouragement or help, being a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. We’ve all been on the receiving end of something that normally might have seemed insignificant but in that moment was exactly what we needed. In those small things we can look for opportunities to let God’s love shine through.
In essence let us both look see God’s blessings and praise Him and to be His blessings to others so they will praise Him as well!