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Elijah Fed By Ravens: What 1 Kings 17 Tells Us About God’s Providence

In this article, we will explore the story of elijah and the ravens from 1 Kings 17. So, grab your Bible and let’s dive in…

Most believers learn about God’s provision at some point, and that’s as it should be since God introduces Himself to us as “the Lord Who provides” (Jehovah Jireh – Genesis 22:14).

But trusting Him for that provision can be tricky.

One of the scriptures that showcases God’s provision best is 1 Kings 17, and it also offers plenty of guidance about how His providence works.

Let’s look at this incredible portion of scripture about the life of the prophet Elijah to get a better understanding.

Elijah Fed By Ravens What 1 Kings 17 Tells Us About God’s Providence

Key Takeaways

Lessons on God’s Providence from 1 Kings 17

• Circumstances like drought or economic conditions do not limit God’s provision.

• God can provide miraculously through unexpected means like ravens.

• Our true source of provision is God, not temporary sources that can dry up.

• We must obey God’s instructions faithfully, even if they seem strange.

• God can make limited resources last rather than always sending new provisions.

• We may be called to give what little we have to others in need.

1 Kings 17 & Elijah Fed By Ravens

ravens feeding elijah

1 Kings starts with Elijah prophesying to the wicked king Ahab about a severe drought coming over Israel.

After this happens, whether to protect him from the drought or the king’s vengeance (or perhaps both), God tells Elijah to go hide at the brook Cherith, with the promise that he would be fed by ravens and be able to drink from the stream.

This happened, as God said. Because Elijah was obedient, the ravens brought him meat and bread each morning and evening.

However, in verse 7, we can see that the drought eventually affected the brook as well. But God came to Elijah with a new instruction – to go to Zarephath, where He commanded a widow to feed Elijah.

Again, Elijah obeyed, but when he found the widow, it turned out that she was on her last morsel of food and about to prepare it for her and her son.

Elijah must have appeared arrogant, asking her to prepare a meal for him along with them using her last bit of oil and flour, but he followed it with a promise: that God would not let the flour and oil run out until the rains returned.

After some time, the widow’s son became ill and stopped breathing. She was already resigned to the fact that he had died when Elijah performed a miracle, raising and healing her son.

Even though she could sustain herself, her son, and the prophet for some time on the last bit of food she had, verse 24 says that this made her finally believe that Elijah had the mantle true prophet.

Bible VerseTeaching on God’s Provision
Genesis 22:14God introduces Himself as “The LORD Will Provide” (Jehovah Jireh)
1 Kings 17:9God had already commanded the widow to provide for Elijah
1 Kings 17:24The widow’s obedience led her to believe Elijah was truly from God
Romans 11:36All good things come from God as the ultimate source and provider
Hebrews 13:2We may entertain angels by showing hospitality and providing for others

God’s Providence Does Not Depend On The World’s Economy

provision of God abstract art

One of the crucial points we can take from this is the fact that God’s providence doesn’t depend on the economic conditions of the world around us.

Even when the rains stopped falling and all the water dried up, God told Elijah exactly where to go to get food and water.

Whether we are in a recession or depression does not matter to God because His kingdom stands outside that and suffers no lack.

When we represent the kingdom of God as His sons and daughters, we are citizens of that kingdom, so the world’s economy does not change God’s will (or ability) to provide for our needs.

God Will Do Miracles To Provide For Us

When we think of God’s provision, ravens bringing us food is probably the last thing we think of, yet God will do something like that.

He will show up and provide in ways we hadn’t thought of. Sometimes we can be so fixated on our idea of a solution that we don’t even notice what God does.

Close friends of mine ran into severe financial trouble a few years ago when the husband was unemployed for a few months. They didn’t have enough food to feed their children.

They started to pray for God’s provision without discussing the matter with anyone, and it was getting close to dinner time. 

The husband kept checking his bank balance to see when God would miraculously deposit money into his account, believing that was how God would provide, but by 6:30 PM, there was still nothing, and he was starting to lose hope. 

However, 30 minutes later, there was a knock on their front door. When they opened the door, there was nobody, but on the porch, they found five grocery bags stuffed full of food and an envelope with cash.

grocery miracle at the door

They had enough to last them for weeks.

God’s provision doesn’t always happen in the ways we expect it to. If a raven shows up at your door to drop off food or money, don’t be surprised – just thank God for it.

Circumstances Might Change, But Our Source Doesn’t

God provided for Elijah through the brook and ravens. However, even those methods eventually failed to deliver since the drought caught up with the brook.

But this did not catch God by surprise, and He already had another plan ready.

brook dried up with elijah the prophet in 1 kings 17

Sometimes, circumstances in the world can cause our sources to dry up. We might lose a job, a business can close, or some other tragedy could strike and dry up our brooks. 

We have to understand that our source of income is not our source of provision. God is our only source; nothing else.

Jobs or businesses might be the ways He uses to get the provision to us, but as children of the King, He is the source of every good thing that comes our way (Romans 11:36).

The Bible does not mention that Elijah lost hope when the brook dried up, and that’s because he understood that the brook wasn’t his source; God was.

Trust God’s Words

When our brooks dry up and don’t provide enough, God will communicate, primarily through the Bible but sometimes through another method that always aligns with the Bible.

He might tell us to do certain things, which might sound strange. This requires faith.

Elijah, being human, must have thought it strange that a poverty-stricken widow would take care of him.

And yet, he heard God’s voice and acted on it, even coming across as slightly arrogant or crazy in the process. That’s when God performed the miracle and proved He was faithful to His word.

Providence Isn’t Always About Receiving New Things

Elijah received food twice a day for a while, but when that dried up, he lived on the widow’s food that simply didn’t run out.

Nobody (as far as we know) ever came and brought them new food. The Bible doesn’t mention that the ravens brought meat for the widow and her son. It simply says that the oil and flour never ran out.

the widpw feeding the prophet elijah

A local ministry in my area provides food for people without homes.

I spoke with one of the ladies in charge of the project a few years ago, and she told me how often it happens that they receive no donations and don’t have enough money to buy food for that night.

Then she will always open the cupboards and fridges and find enough to prepare everything they need.

She also tells how they prepared a pot of soup one night that would be enough for the number of people they usually provide for.

But that was a freezing night, and nearly three times the usual number of people came to get food. They just kept serving, even dishing out second portions for many, and then had enough soup left over to serve another day.

God could make your provisions last longer rather than sending a raven, and that is one way He provides.

Are You The Widow?

the widow and prophet elijah

We also have to look at this from another angle. Sometimes we aren’t Elijah in this example, but the widow.

God will often tell us to give something to someone in need, even when our own needs seem to be dire and hopeless. The widow initially argued with Elijah, even though God said He had already spoken with her (1 Kings 17:9).

She was confronted with her needs that seemed to overrule God’s commands.

Eventually, she obeyed, even though we know she didn’t entirely believe Elijah’s words (verse 24).

The result was that God provided the widow, her son, and Elijah with enough food to last them through the drought. But more than that, God provided her with a prophet who would eventually save her son’s life.

We don’t know who we minister to when we obey God’s command to provide for someone else, even though we don’t seem to have enough for ourselves. Hebrews 13:2 says this well:

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

We don’t know what God has planned to provide for us. Even if He tells us to do something strange, if we know it’s from God and in line with His Word, our obedience could be all we need to see the power of God at work in ways we never thought possible.

MisconceptionsBiblical Truth
God’s provision depends on the world’s economyGod’s provision is not limited by economic conditions or circumstances
God will only provide through normal/expected meansGod can and will provide miraculously through unexpected means like ravens
My job/business is my true source of provisionGod alone is the true and lasting source of provision, not temporary means
I have to see how God will provide before obeying HimFaith requires obeying God’s words first, even if they seem strange initially
God will always send continual new provisionsGod can make existing provisions last supernaturally rather than sending new

God provides for us in ways that we don’t always understand. Sometimes, our patience can wear thin, causing us to make other plans and miss the great things God had planned in the process. 

But, if we understand that God is our source, that He wants to provide for us, and that He stands far above the world’s economic conditions, we will always experience His providence. It may not always happen as we expect, but God will always provide exactly what we need when we need it.

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