In Good Times and in Bad

The word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here . . . You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.” So he did what the Lord had told him . . . 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 17:2-6)

scarThe new ruler was like nothing the people had ever seen before. He was a change agent, an envelope-pusher, and a record-breaker . . . but not in the manner any nation would want. His name was Ahab, king of Israel, and he did “more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him” (1 Kings 16:30), a dubious distinction and difficult to imagine. So I’m picturing Scar in “The Lion King,” for Ahab’s beastly rule in arrogance, weakness, and disgrace was likewise marked by corruption, famine, and malaise.

It was God who withheld rain for three years, but this was no surprise celestial “gotcha.” Rather, He had long ago vowed overflowing blessings when His people followed His good and right ways, and He foretold overwhelming consequences when they forged paths diverging from them. Yet even in times of our rebellion and the difficulties that follow, God provides in the most amazing ways. To the people of the Exodus, He gave bread in the morning and meat in the evening. Now likewise to Elijah—God’s prophet and Ahab’s nemesis—He dispatched raven couriers with food every day. Hasn’t He also seen to our needs, both in the good times and in bad?

Yet mere survival is not the end of the story. In great love for us, God also turns the consequences of wrong into catalysts for good. For when we’re unable to cope, we seek Him in hope. When we do, we find Him still loving, still caring, still calling us back to His open arms. And so it was that even Ahab—this Scar-like king who “behaved in the vilest manner”—upon hearing God’s rebuke, humbled himself before God, found mercy, and avoided disaster (1 Kings 21:25-29).

Regardless of circumstances, God remains sovereign, He is merciful even in judgment, and He will provide. Ours is, like Elijah, to trust God. And to pray that all of our leaders will, like Ahab, humble themselves before Him.

Lord, grace us to trust you and to follow your ways and only your ways, regardless of our circumstances. Turn the hearts of your people and our leaders toward you, where we will find mercy and peace. Amen.

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