Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘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.’ Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have instructed the ravens to supply you with food there.’
1 Kings 17:1-4 (NIVUK)
Do you ever find yourself praying so prescriptively to God that you leave him no room to do what he does best? I think we all tend to act like this from time to time. We not only pray for a situation to be resolved, we give God detailed instructions as to how we would like him to answer that prayer. I was doing precisely that one morning, when suddenly I realised I was attempting to micromanage the creator of the universe! The thought made me laugh out loud.
If 1 Kings 17 does nothing else, it tells us in no uncertain terms that God is sovereign and he will provide for us as he sees fit – and 9 times out of 10, how he does this will not be what we are expecting.
I don’t know what Elijah was expecting as he boldly prophesied years of drought for the nation of Israel. Perhaps he believed God would take care of him during that time (and he would) but Elijah certainly had no idea exactly how this would happen. ‘Get down on my hands and knees and drink water from a brook at the bottom of a ravine?!’ ‘Eat bread and meat from the beaks of unclean ravens?!’ And this was only the beginning of Elijah’s adventures into the Realm of Despair and Doubt.
If Elijah was ever guilty of micromanaging God, the invaluable lessons he learned in 1 Kings 17 would forever banish those foolish notions from his mind. As Christian writer Philip Yancey puts it in his book Vanishing Grace, ‘There is a God and we are not him’. When we meditate on who God is and what he has done for us, it makes it easier for us to heed the wise words of Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’
Almighty Father, your Son and our Saviour prayed, ‘not my will, but yours be done’. Let that be our prayer too. In Jesus’ name.
Study by Pete Mill
About the writer:
Peter Mill is an Elder and the Missions Developer of the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He and his wife, Jackie, are Pastoral Workers for Grace Communion International in Scotland and Ireland.
Gilmerton New Church
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