1 Kings 16:29-17:24; Acts 11:1-18; Psalms 135:5-12; Proverbs 28:23-24
OT: “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from the Gilead settlers, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, in whose presence I stand, there will be no dew or rain during these years except by my command!” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Leave here, turn eastward, and hide at the Wadi Cherith where it enters the Jordan. You are to drink from the wadi. I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.” …After a while, the wadi dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Get up, go to Zarephath that belongs to Sidon and stay there. Look, I have commanded a woman who is a widow to provide for you there.” So Elijah got up and went to Zarephath. When he arrived at the city gate, there was a widow gathering wood. Elijah called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup and let me drink.” …Then Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid; go and do as you have said. But first make me a small loaf from it and bring it out to me. Afterward, you may make some for yourself and your son, for this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘The flour jar will not become empty and the oil jug will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the surface of the land.’” …After this, the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. His illness got worse until he stopped breathing… Then he cried out to the Lord and said, “ Lord my God, have you also brought tragedy on the widow I am staying with by killing her son?” Then he stretched himself out over the boy three times. He cried out to the Lord and said, “ Lord my God, please let this boy’s life come into him again!” So the Lord listened to Elijah, and the boy’s life came into him again, and he lived.” (1 Kings 17:1-4, 7-10, 13-14, 17, 20-22 CSB)
King Ahab not only followed in the false religion of Jeroboam – he took it to another level by marrying the Sidonian Jezebel and giving himself over to the worship of her god Baal. According to history, Baal was a Canaanite and Phoenician god who was designated the universal god of fertility. In that capacity, one of his titles was Lord of Rain and Dew (britannica.com). When God, through the prophet Elijah, declared that he was stopping any precipitation of any kind, it was a direct assault on the powers of Baal. Elijah, of course, was innocent of Baal worship, but the God-imposed drought affected him just as much as it affected the guilty. However, in the midst of the region-wide drought, God promised to provide for Elijah. Not only did God provide for Elijah – but through Elijah, God also miraculously provided for a gentile Sidonian widow, who was most likely a Baal worshipper herself. Through God’s miraculous provision and the raising of her son from the dead, The widowed Baal worshipper came to faith in God. God proved Himself to be greater, and in the end, He was glorified, not only by the unfaithful Israelites, but by a gentile widow in Sidon as well. While we may not have outright Baal worship in our day, often times we place our trust in systems and powers outside of God. I wonder if what we are currently experiencing through this world-wide pandemic is something of a frontal assault against all the things we have chosen to place our trust in besides God. For those of us who have remained faithful to the Lord, or even those who repent and return to the Lord, we can take heart and trust that the God who is greater will provide for us and sustain us through the duration of this “drought,” however long it may last. Not only that, but the Lord will undoubtedly use us to minister the good news of the Kingdom of God to unbelievers who are struggling and at the end of their self-sufficiency. Will we give ourselves over to the fear and panic that comes when trust systems are confronted, or will we trust in the Lord and allow Him to glorify Himself in us and through us to the world?
Psalms: “For I know that the Lord is great; our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever he pleases in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the depths. He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind from his storehouses.” (Psalms 135:5-7 CSB)
This section of Psalm 135 speaks directly to God’s preeminence over all gods… all idols… anyone or anything that would attempt to magnify itself above the Lord. Our Lord is greater than them all… and we can trust completely in His goodness, His faithfulness, and His ability to protect and provide for His people through whatever chaos the world may subject them to. He is the peace in the midst of the raging storm, for He is not subject to anyone nor anything.