by Terry L. Craig © 2022
Elijah's job was a dangerous one.
He was called to stand before the most corrupt king in the country's history and declare that there would be no rain until he (Elijah) said so. King Ahab believed that his own god, Baal, brought rain and fertility to the land—but Elijah's God, Jehovah, was going to prove the king wrong. As of that moment, the sky was officially shut.
After Elijah stood before the King and made the announcement, God told the prophet to go hide. As the drought set in, people would become increasingly desperate. They would search for him so they could MAKE him call for that rain. Did the Lord transport Elijah to a five star hotel in the Bahamas to wait it out? No. A two star B&B overlooking the Sea of Galilee? No. How about a little cabin in the woods where he could hunt? Nope. Elijah was to go out into the wilds, live in the rocks near a little brook and trust that the Lord would send ravens to bring him food.
Now, in and of itself, getting birds to actually bring someone enough food to survive for an extended period of time is a pretty neat trick. But ravens???
Because of their large size and jet-black feathers, ravens are often taken as omens of darkness and in Old Testament they're listed as unclean birds. They're known for their willingness to eat anything, for being smart, greedy, voracious, and insatiable. The word "ravenous" actually comes from "raven." In short, God sent Elijah to a hard place with a promise to feed him using the least likely means imaginable.
And Elijah stayed in that hard place, with only his faith each day that God would provide... and twice each day, ravens brought him "bread and meat" until the brook dried up and the Lord told him to go—to another place of difficulty! I'm thinking the thrill of being used by God to do something big and exciting probably dried up before the brook did. The thrill might have been gone, but faith was deepened and Elijah once again moved at the word of the Lord. In fact, throughout the Bible, Elijah stands as THE prophet of God. He did mighty things because he listened to and believed God.
And that's what I think about when I see a raven. I can't tell you how many times in my life I've been tempted to worry about HOW something will turn out or what will happen when what I can see is running out... and in the midst of that, I sometimes see a raven perched in a tree nearby or standing along the side of the road, and I lift my hand to the Lord and say thanks for the reminder.
He is the same God who sent ravens to Elijah. He will provide as we walk with Him.