Sunday, November 3, 2013
Ravens in God's Plan
Bronze sculpture in the Raven Series by Jim Eppler, Loveland, Colorado
When we visited Norm & Winnie Wakefield in Loveland, we walked through the delightful scupture park they have in their town. Norm pretended to swat at the ravens perched atop the archway over the sidewalk, but they didn't budge. In the second shot, you can see the detail of a raven with a kernal of something, perhaps corn, in its beak.
This reminds me of the story in 1 Kings 17 about God using ravens to feed His prophet Elijah during a time of drought and danger in the land of Israel. In the story, Elijah had just obeyed God by telling King Ahab that "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" 17:1.
After that pronouncement, God told Elijah to leave and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. There was good reason that it was wise to hide. The Canaanite people believed that their god Baal was the only one who could govern the dew and the rain, and so this was a direct challenge to them. Also, as time passed and the land dried up, people became angry at Elijah, blaming him for what was happening to them, when it was their own sin which had percipitated this judgment in the first place.
And so, for a period of time (probably a number of months since he stayed there until the brook dried up), Elijah lived peacefully in the ravine God had chosen for him. The miracle that delights me most in that situation is the way God supplied his faithful servant's needs. First of all, there was a brook with clean, clear water running through the valley, and more impressive to me are the ravens that brought food to Elijah. Here's what God told Elijah: "You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there" v. 4. Verse 6 tells us, "The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening..."
I just love the way God is in control of every minute detail of His creation. Speaking of birds, I'm also reminded of one of my favorite verses in Isaiah 46:9-11 where God says, "I am God, and there is none like me...My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about..."
In this verse, God speaks of His ability to summon a bird of prey to do His bidding, much like He summoned the group of ravens to do His bidding and feed His servant Elijah. The bottom line is - God can and will supply our needs. Just as Jesus said when He was on earth, "...do not worry about your ife, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear...Consider the ravens; they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!" Luke 12:22-24.
Just as God supplied Elijah with what he needed and as he continues to supply the ravens with what they need, He has promised to supply the needs of His children. What a blessing to belong to the One who is in control of every bird, beast and being -- and all of creation. Thank you, Lord, for taking care of us.