Scripture reading for April 8: 1st Kings 17-19
In 1975, our family went through a drought on the farm. It rained early in the year, but then quit after the crops were in. June and July had almost no rain and the corn grew and tasseled, but did not produce silks. Ears formed but no kernels were on the cobs. It looked very bleak for feeding our animals and paying the bills. The soybeans were shorter than usual, but it rained in August when they were blooming and they produced a good crop. God provided for us even in the dry year. Today we have a story from the days of the kings, when a drought was decreed by God through the prophet Elijah.
Elijah announced to King Ahab that no rain or dew would fall from the sky except at his word for the next few years. (1st Kings 17: 1) He then left in obedience to the instructions of the Lord. God promised provision to Elijah. He commanded ravens to feed him by the brook in the Kerith Ravine. After a rainless few weeks, the brook dried up and God sent Elijah to a widow’s house in Zarephath. Someone has said, if a widow was to care for them, they hoped she would be rich! However, this widow was so poor that she was gathering sticks to cook her son a last meal from a nearly empty jar of flour and oil. Elijah asked her to bring him a little water and a piece of bread. He encouraged her not to fear, that God would provide for her until the rains came again. She obeyed and God provided meals for nearly three years from that empty flour bin and oil jar.
The times we live in are also dry in many ways. Our economy is very weak, many are laid off from jobs, and it seems as if there is a judgment on the land. In times like this, we must listen to the Word of the Lord! It is imperative that each person hears the instructions God has for them. Another lesson from this passage is that we must always give to God first and God will provide for us. The widow was taken care of during the drought because she took care of the prophet. Dry times need not be a problem for those who honor the Lord first and listen to His instructions!