Missiology Through Scripture – 1 Kings 17:5-6

“So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.” – 1 Kings 17:5-6

In the western world we look at this level of dependence on God as unrealistic and old-fashioned. Today, many of us imagine this level of complete reliance on God as something meant for another time or another culture. Retirement plans, health insurance, and the latest technology are all things we believe are necessities for which we must strive. We couldn’t imagine a life without those securities, let alone relying on God for necessities like food and water.

The reality is, most people on the planet today live at a level of poverty level we couldn’t imagine. In fact, our level of financial comfort and security have become an impediment to our dependence on God. We have blurred the line between “wants” and “needs” and we couldn’t fathom a life where we are utterly dependent upon God. Our self-imposed reliance on worldly things has robbed us of the joy of trusting God. Many people consider trusting God for basic needs as a form of idleness. However, Scripture is clear when it explains complete dependence on God’s provision is admirable. Charles Spurgeon said, “It is the glory of Elijah that he does whatever God bids him, asking no questions. He simply, like a child, goes to the brook just as, like a hero, he had previously stood before the king.”[1] Elijah’s level of trust in God is unthinkable to many of us.

What would it look like to completely serve God and live an existence full of trust on his provision? A missionary who walks away from education, retirement, earning potential, safety, and family must be completely dependent upon the Lord. Many of our western Christians are so far removed from an Elijah-like trust in God we consider missionaries, and other fulltime servants of the gospel, as underachievers, or lazy. All Christians should strive for this level of God-honoring faith.

 

[1] C. H. Spurgeon, “Where Is the God of Elijah?,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 44 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1898), 550.