On verses 1-16: In these verses we are introduced to Elijah, one of the most powerful prophets in the Bible. First, Elijah goes to King Ahab (probably in the capital city of Samaria) and predicts that rain will not fall in Israel for years except at his word (v1).
Second, we see how God supernaturally provides for Elijah’s needs, initially at a brook in the Kerith Ravine while Elijah hides from Ahab and his prophet-killing wife Jezebel (v2-7). Later God provides in an amazing way for Elijah and a widow’s family in the town of Zarephath (v8-16).
What can we learn from this? God is committed to providing for His people who seek Him first. Twice in this passage God says to Elijah, “I have directed” (v4, 9), after which God describes an arrangement He has made to make sure Elijah’s needs are supplied. In other words, God was repeatedly and personally arranging for Elijah’s care. God cares for you too and wants you to experience His supernatural provision.
Do you want to experience God’s supernatural provision even in the midst of discouraging circumstances? Here are four keys to experiencing God’s supernatural provision from this passage:
1.Respond to God’s word with faith. Before Elijah could experience the supernatural provision God had for him, Elijah had to obediently go to the place where God told him to go. That’s why verses 5 and 10 say, “So he did what the Lord had told him” and “So he went”. Supernatural provision comes not just when you hear God’s Word, but when you go according to the word that you hear. How you respond to God’s Word will determine how much you experience God’s power.
2.Ask. God had promised Elijah that a widow in Zarephath would supply him with food (v9). So he goes to Zarephath and upon meeting a widow asks her for water (v10). But remembering God’s promise, in faith Elijah decided to ask the widow for more: “And bring me please a piece of bread” (v11). To experience God’s supernatural provision we need to boldly ask. For faith is evidenced in our asking. So don’t be afraid to ask God for what you need. Say to God: “God, please provide me with [whatever it is you need].” As James 4 says, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2).
3.Don’t focus on your lack, but focus on the Lord. The widow from Zarephath was focused on her dire circumstances. Just listen to her in verse 12: “I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it – and die”. This widow was focused on her lack. But Elijah pointed her to the Lord, comforting and encouraging her with a promise from God (see verse 14). Only after she focused on the Lord did she witness God do a multiplying work in her life.
(We see a similar scene play out when Jesus feeds over five thousand people with only a few loaves and fish. The disciples were focused on their lack (see John 6:7-9). But Jesus pointed them to God and made them into agents for a multiplying miracle.)
So when you’re in dire circumstances, don’t be like the widow and the disciples and focus on your lack. Instead, be like Elijah and Jesus and focus on the Lord. How much of God’s supernatural provision you experience depends on what you focus on. What are you focusing on today?
4. Seek God’s kingdom first and He will add everything you need. Elijah tells the widow to exercise some faith by taking what she had and giving to God first (represented by Elijah) before taking for herself and her family (v13-14). The widow decides to put God’s kingdom first, just as Elijah said, and what was the result? “[T]here was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar was flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah” (v15-16).
If you want to experience God’s supernatural provision, seek God’s kingdom first.
Are you tithing the first part of what you have to God? When we choose to tithe to God first before taking for ourselves, God makes sure that we have everything we need, and we experience His supernatural provision (see Malachi 3:10-12).
May you experience God’s supernatural provision by taking these four steps as well.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are committed to providing for my needs. I pray that I would experience more of Your supernatural provision. Help me to respond to Your Word in faith. Right now I boldly ask You for [tell Him what you need]. I choose not to focus on what I lack but to focus on the Lord. And please help me to seek Your kingdom first, for You will add everything I need. Thank You that Your supernatural provision is coming and by faith I say it is already here! In Jesus’ name, AMEN!