RAVENS, WIDOWS, AND ANGELS Andy Hollifield 12-21-18
1 Kings 17:4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
Have commanded. That is past tense. Do you realize what that means? That means that before Elijah even knew where he was going, God had already made preparations for him. In verse 9, before Elijah even knew he was going anywhere else, God had already commanded a widow woman to feed him in Zarephath. Before I get to carried away I want to mention a couple of things. First is that if Elijah had not of went when and where God told him to go, he would not have enjoyed the goodness of God. There was only one place in each of these instances where he would be provided for. Years ago, God let me preach a message entitled, “Are We There Yet?” There are several times in the bible where God gives specific instructions to his people and their obedience determines the extent to which God blesses them. Abraham is one of the people who God did that with. Just think about the mess he would have gotten himself into had he not went to the mountain that God told him of. What if he had of decided that Jehovahjireh, which means “God will see to it,” was just too steep and rocky to carry all of that wood and fire up to the top? What if he had of decided that there were other places that were a lot easier to get to and chose to go to one of them? He would have never found the ram that God had sent, before he even got there, to be the sacrifice instead of his son Isaac. He had to get where God wanted him because that is where God had already prepared blessings for him.
Later on, after his experience on Mount Carmel where he slew the prophets of Baal and ended the drought, he got scared by threats from Jezebel. He then went on the run and God sent his angel to him to feed him. Here he was in the worst time of his life yet he is eating from the hand of God’s angel. Remember that. After he went to hide in the cave, what would have happened had he not heeded the still small voice of God? He wouldn’t have anointed the two kings or cast his mantle on Elisha. Elijah would have likely not been taken in a chariot of fire in a whirlwind and Elisha would have never gotten the double portion of his spirit. Only by going where God sent him each time, in spite of his feelings, was God able to bless him like he wanted to.
Jonah is another one that is an example of his disobedience costing him the joy of the blessings of God. He later said in Jonah 2:8 “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” When the whole city of Nineveh repented and God didn’t destroy them, Jonah got bitter because he wanted Nineveh to suffer for his disobedience. To put it another way; he wanted to drink the poison but have someone else get hurt by it. It doesn’t work that way. Instead of rejoicing because he had just preached the greatest meeting and had the greatest response of anyone in history to that point, he wallowed in self-pity. Had he went “there” where God wanted him to start with, I am sure his story would be a lot different.
Sometimes we are guilty of the same fear and disobedience that these men experienced. God tells us a place where he wants us and we do like the leper Naaman and decide some other place would be just as good or better. There is nothing better than being in the perfect will of God. You won’t find your ram caught in the thicket if you are not where God wants you. The angels are given orders to sustain you where God wants you, not where you choose to go. There will be no widow to feed you if you are not where God sends you. One common thing you will notice about all three of these men is this: Their greatest victories came as a result of their darkest hours. Abraham thinking he would have to sacrifice his son, Elijah being completely obedient to God and winding up running for his life, and Jonah having to pay more than he planned on for his disobedience and winding up bitter. If you want to be sustained by ravens, widows, and angels; you have to get where God wants you. If his grace brings you to it, it will also take you through it no matter what God may choose to use in the process. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!