I was reading the well-known story of the prophet Elijah this morning, while still thinking about a life in limbo. Elijah has the audacity to say to the king of Israel, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, Whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1).
That’s it. We just sort of jump right into this story. We don’t read about God instructing Elijah to say this to King Ahab. And more importantly, we don’t see God saying, “Elijah, even though the land will go through a severe drought, here’s how I’m going to take care of you.” Elijah’s life was in limbo. But I’m struck by God’s ahead-of-time provision for Elijah.
At the time of this story, the land of Israel is now under its sixth evil king; each one getting more and more sinful than the one before him. The current king, Ahab is called the most evil of all the kings yet. Israel had lived under sinful kings—which the Bible says were causing all of the people to sin, too—for over 70 years! Yet at least one family still faithfully clung to their belief in Yahweh, the true God. These parents named their son Elijah, which means “Yahweh is the one true God.” Although it might have seemed everyone was sinning and turning their back on God, at least one set of parents raised their son in a counter-cultural way, at least one set of parents trained their son to rely only on God, at least one set of parents equipped their son to stand firm in the face of overwhelming evil.
The ahead-of-time God provided God-fearing parents for Elijah to train him to fear God too.
As the famine began, God directed Elijah to a brook that continued to flow. This was also the place ravens would bring him food.
The ahead-of-time God provided food and water for Elijah.
The drought eventually dried up the brook that Elijah was using for water, and the ravens eventually stopped coming to that dried-up creek bed with food. So God sent Elijah to a widow in Zarephath with this promise, “I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food” (1 Kings 17:9). After Elijah entered this widow’s home, her supply of oil and flour never ran out throughout the entire three years of drought, giving all of them food to eat.
The ahead-of-time God provided oil and flour for a widow so that she could make food for Elijah.
My life may be in limbo, but I am confident that my ahead-of-time God has already provided for me. You and I have this promise: “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
This story is in the Bible to reassure you and me that God supplies for us. I’d love to hear your story, too: Where have you seen God’s ahead-of-time supply in your life?