“For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.” (1 Kings 17:14-16)
1 Kings is one of the Bible’s historical books, which means that it tells us the stories of what actually happened during the time those kings and prophets lived. What good can those old stories do for us now? Some of those things that happened back then would never happen now, in the 21st century! God probably has never told your pastor to pray for a river to dry up so you could walk across it, and God probably will not tell your pastor to pray that it would not rain for three years!
Even though some of these historical stories could probably never happen nowadays, God had good reasons for including them in His Word. For one thing, we can learn a lot about God’s character and His works through reading those stories. Think about when someone at your church stands up and gives a “testimony.” What is it? It is just that person’s story of something God has done, and it gives praise to God for being the kind of God He is. We listen to testimonies of people who believe in God, and they remind us that God is powerful and cares about His people. The historical stories in the Bible are often testimonies about the greatness and goodness of God.
We can learn a lot about God from the things He commanded and promised in some of those old stories. In 1 Kings 17, God had told the prophet Elijah to pray that there would be no rain for three years. Elijah obeyed and told the wicked King Ahab what God had said. Then God told Elijah to hide near a small stream, where God would ravens (crows) bring him food. For a while, everything seemed to be going fine. The ravens brought Elijah food every single morning and evening, and he had all the water he could drink from the stream. But because there was no rain, even this stream finally began to dry up. Now what was Elijah going to do?
God spoke to Elijah again and told him to pack up and leave for a far village where God had commanded a widow woman to take care of Elijah’s needs. Elijah obeyed again, and when he arrived at the city, he saw the widow picking up some sticks so she could light a fire and cook some food. Elijah asked her if she could bring him some water. Elijah was probably very thirsty from his long journey. As the widow went to get him some water from the well, he called after her and asked if she also would bring him some food.
The widow turned around and told Elijah in all honesty that the only food she had left was barely enough to make one last meal for herself and her son. After they had eaten that, she said, she figured they would have to starve to death. Elijah listened to her, but he knew that God had promised this widow would take care of his needs. Elijah knew that if the widow was going to help him, the Lord would have to help her.
So the woman listened to Elijah’s amazing promise that the Lord was going to keep her food supplies full until the rains came again. And she cooked for him, and for her son and herself, and they never ran out of food. God did provide food–that last little bit of flour and oil stretched on for about two whole years! Elijah and the widow trusted God, and He provided for their needs by doing a miracle.
How about you? Do trust God to provide for you? He does not always work in the same way in the 21st century as He did back then, but He is the same God. That story shows us that God is strong enough and merciful enough to care for His people even when the situation is a humanly impossible thing. Maybe you have prayed for a long time for an unsaved family member to be saved. Are you trusting trust that God will save that person? Or, maybe you have a grandparent who is very sick. Do you believe that God can take care of your grandma or grandpa?
And what happens if you do trust God, and He chooses not to answer your prayer request the way you were hoping He would? Can you still trust Him that He is strong and loving? Can you still rely on Him as a great God and a good God? Yes! God’s plans are not always our plans. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The widow could not have figured out how God would have met her need, but she trusted Him. We do not have to understand or know the future, but we can trust the God of the past, present, and future.
I can trust God to provide for me because His plan is always best.
» Am I trusting God to provide for me?
» Even when things happen that are not what I want, do I still trust that God has a perfect reason for them?