August 19 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 103-104; 1 Corinthians 2
So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
1 Kings 17:15
READ 1 KINGS 17:8–16
Three hundred children were dressed and seated for breakfast, and a prayer of thanks was offered for the food. But there was no food! Situations like this were not unusual for orphanage director and missionary George Mueller (1805-1898). Here was yet another opportunity to see how God would provide. Within minutes of Mueller’s prayer, a baker who couldn’t sleep the night before showed up at the door. Sensing that the orphanage could use the bread, he had made three batches. Not long afterward, the town milkman appeared. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. Not wanting the milk to spoil, he offered it to Mueller.
It’s normal to experience bouts of worry, anxiety, and self-pity when we lack resources essential to our well-being—food, shelter, health, finances, friendships. First Kings 17:8-16 reminds us that God’s help can come through unexpected sources like a needy widow. “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug” (v. 12). Earlier it was ravens that provided for Elijah (vv. 4-6). Concerns for our needs to be met can send us searching in many directions. A clear vision of God as the Provider who has promised to supply our needs can be liberating. Before we seek solutions, may we be careful to seek Him first. Doing so can save us time, energy, and frustration.
By Arthur Jackson
REFLECT & PRAY
Father, sharpen my vision of You as the Provider for all my needs. Forgive me for times I have futilely sought to find my way without seeking You first.
What’s been your experience when you’ve focused on securing provision before seeking the Provider in prayer? What current needs will you bring before God?
An interesting part of this story is the difference between what God tells Elijah and the widow’s initial response. God said he’d “directed” a widow to supply him with food (1 Kings 17:9). But when he asked the widow for bread, she replies that she doesn’t have enough to spare. She even swears by “the LORD your God” (v. 12)—a direct reference to the One who gave her the instructions. It was common to swear by a deity to prove someone was telling the truth—in this case the woman did so to declare that she didn’t have the means to feed Elijah. Despite the reminder (from her own lips) of the instructions she received, she obeys only after Elijah reassured her that God would provide for them until the famine was over. J.R. Hudberg