A Needful Provision

A Needful Provision

Sister Miki Terayama - 23 October 2022

Weekend Devotion: A Needful Provision

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We are probably familiar with the epic showdown that Prophet Elijah had with the evil King Ahab’s 450 false prophets. It is where Elijah displayed God’s power by stunning the crowd with fire falling down from above, consuming the sacrifice for the Lord, but as for the false prophets, none of their call out to the fake god, Baal, worked. This event turned the people who saw this back to God and the false prophets were eliminated. This is one of the famed stories you can find even in a children’s bible. But let us zoom out a little and look towards the “before” scenario of this showdown.

Before all this happened, prophet Elijah has actually been going through a phase of uncertainty and lack because he was a fugitive, wanted by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel for announcing a drought upon their idolatrous kingdom. While the nation was going through famine and suffering, he was a wanted man amidst this. This is very much like us when we are in troubled times or at a very uncomfortable season of life. Things can seem very bleak and trying. So Prophet Elijah seemed to be in a bad state— stark difference from the man we saw, who stood up before the king and the crowd later on, right? So what happened in between? 

Well, before this epic event of sending down a rain of fire, Elijah went through a process of spiritual transformation as he see God’s consistent provision in his lack and uncertainties. 

1 Kings 17:2-6

“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 directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.” 

God provided refuge, water, bread, meat and cared for all his physical needs, but most importantly, God cared most for Elijah’s spiritual needs. God was preparing and building Elijah’s faith up from a dark place of doubt and unbelief. Being away in the wilderness, it gave Elijah the time and space to focus, rethink, experience and confirm God’s patience, care and faithfulness. This period was indeed a training session for Elijah to restore his trust, submission and obedience toward the Lord that shelters and provides for him through unexpected ways, like sending ravens to bring him food. The physical needs he went through, drove him to return back to the source of his Provider. 

So sometimes, brothers and sisters, we may be in places of needs, problems or doubts. It might make us feel alone, helpless and disappointed, like Elijah when he was in the wilderness all those time. But there is no reason to fear or despair when our refuge is in the Lord. We all are in need of something no matter how much we tell ourselves we are enough, and there are always weakness revealed about ourselves no matter how we think we are self sufficient. But as we see in Elijah’s story, God too did not immediately provide him with a great amount of resources, but gave him what was sufficient for him daily, in small batches. There was no human effort to access resources here. It was all God’s relentless pursuit to restore Elijah’s heart. So sometimes, God draws us into a place of needfulness so that it sends us to a humbling place and manifests His sufficiency and daily grace for us. So we see that the ultimate need and place to find security and answers are in Him alone. This in turn does not make us more worried and helpless, but gaining more strength in our spirit to face future showdowns with our flesh or “enemies” of faith. And indeed, as Elijah’s dependence on God is honed through the needful days before, he was greatly used as a vessel of God.

At the showdown on Mount Carmel, right before the fire came down, Elijah ordered for the altar to be set up and gave a powerful prayer. As said in:

1 Kings 18: 36-37

“At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

    This prayer showed Elijah’s heart. He was not there to prove himself or to show off to the priests of Baal. His intention is in the flow of his prayers. First, he acknowledged who God is, a faithful God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Then, he gave all the credit to God for the sign that is about to happen as he is only doing by God’s instructions. Finally, he called for a transformation of hearts, for the people there to turn back to their One True God. It was a bold and passionate prayer that stems from the faith that God has helped build him up during his spiritual training days in the wilderness. 

Now of course, we must remember that Elijah may seem really courageous and heroic here, but he is a human with his own weaknesses and imperfections. As you read on later, you will find that Elijah starts to fluctuate between lamenting and faithful days again. But again, it reminds us two things. Firstly, that God is the only One who brings about the ultimate victory, not human efforts. Not what Elijah has resolute to say or do, but by God’s hands. Secondly, that we need to look to God every day and restore a steady heart of faithfulness and reliance on His ways, lest we fall away into the pit of doubt, fear and unbelief again. 

All in all, at times, God may craft situations in our lives to help reveal to us our limitations and our need to look to Him. Ultimately, He will provide for us in the right amount and time such that we do not just pacify physical needs, but our spiritual self is nourished and we can grow in dependence and trust in our Provider. 

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Miki Terayama
miki.terayama@gmail.com

Miki is a full-time ministry staff at The Blessed Run Ministries. She is a sister who shares a natural, God-given affinity with children and youths. She is married to Randy (NET Group Youth Leader) and has two little ones of her own, Liora and Jude. She is involved in the children, youth and social media ministries.

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