Don't be afraid

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Trace God’s providential care. Does it always ensure a smooth and easy life?

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Bible passage: 1 Kings 17:1–24

1 Kings 17

Elijah Fed by Ravens
 1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "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."

 2 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there."

 5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

The Widow at Zarephath
 7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?" 11 As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."

 12 "As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little 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."

 13 Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.' "

 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of 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.

 17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?"

 19 "Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?" 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!"

 22 The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, "Look, your son is alive!"

 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


True world ruler
God instructed Elijah to remind Israel’s ungodly King Ahab that God, alone, is the true world ruler. God’s signal to Ahab through Elijah – the promise of a prolonged drought – could only be reversed by a new word from God through Elijah. Then Elijah went into hiding.

God's provision
How did God care for Elijah? First he sent ravens to feed him while Elijah hid in an isolated Jordan ravine. Next God arranged for a poor widow to care for him in a distant village. It set up a story within a story of God’s provision. Elijah must have been desperately hungry and thirsty when he made his move. The widow was also starving but Elijah promised her ongoing provisions if she first gave Elijah a simple meal. He displayed his own faith by telling her, ‘Don’t be afraid.’

Raised to life
Elijah and the widow then faced another crisis. Her son died. Note the reference to ‘my sin’ – a guilt issue she thought God was confronting through the boy’s death. God used Elijah to raise the boy to life. It stirred the mother to clearly express her faith.

Ron Frost


As you ask God to meet your life needs, which do you want? An easy life? Or new ways to grow in faith?

Deeper Bible study

Under the terms of the Mosaic covenant, obedience to the word of the Lord would lead to blessing, disobedience to cursing (Deut 28). It’s hardly surprising, therefore, to find Ahab and Israel cursed with drought (v 1). It was entirely just, but that would not help God’s messenger. The Lord knew the danger facing Elijah and took steps to protect him. The good Shepherd cares for his own (John 10:11–15,27). However, the Lord was doing more than simply protecting Elijah by sending him to the ravine and the widow; he was also training him for an even harder task ahead. Elijah had to take lessons in obedience, trust and prayer, to be ready for the spiritual battle on Mount Carmel. The Lord set him three tests, of increasing difficulty. None of them was transparently believable. Ravens will feed you? A poor foreign widow will feed you? A dead boy will live? At least the first command was to go home, for the ravine was in Gilead, Elijah’s homeland. The second command was harder, for Zarephath was in Sidon, Jezebel’s homeland. Nonetheless, in stark contrast with Ahab’s disobedience, Elijah fully obeyed the Lord’s instructions. Thereby he experienced first-hand the power of God over creation and over all people, whether or not they acknowledge him.

The third test was hardest of all (vs 17–24). Note the widow’s reaction to the death of her son: to blame God and God’s prophet (v 18): this is still a common response to hardships today. Elijah had not been warned that the boy would die, but his instinctive response was to bring the problem to the Lord in prayer. Thereby he proved both the power of prayer and the power of God over life and death.

Marian Raikes

Elijah CV

‘Eli’ means ‘My God is Yah’ (short for YHWH) – the unutterable, covenant name of God (Exodus 3, Exodus 6).

A Prophet (‘navi’) who is spoken to by God and speaks for God. He foretells and forth-tells.

Context (where, when and what problems were the people facing)
• The divided monarchy and the Northern Kingdom (Israel) 921–722 BC

• Four dynasties of power and apostasy – especially Omri 885–874 and Jehu 841–813

• Ahab and Jezebel, 873–853 (1 Kings 16:30)

• No rain physically or spiritually – apostasy, unbelief, idolatry

• Inability to distinguish true God from false gods

Personal development and issues
• Abrupt introduction (1 Kings 17) – drought for two years, fed by ravens – but hit the ground running

• Challenges the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel

• Runs from Jezebel

• Runs, gets tired, feels like giving up

• Comes back to God after panic and depression

Main roles
• Anointing kings

• Calling prophets

• Being a faithful servant

• Equipping others

Lasting legacy
• The faithful remnant in Israel

• Role-model for John the Baptist

• A witness to Jesus

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Exodus 35,36

Psalm 19


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Even though I walk through the valley (You never let go)
Matt & Beth Redman
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
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He watches over me
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Copyright © 2009 Phat Music, administered by Song Solutions Copycare

  • Oakley Bookworm | Sunday, 10 February 2019

    HYMN (BE THOU MY VISION) Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; be all else but naught to me, save that Thou art; be Thou my best thought in the day and the night, both waking and sleeping, Thy presence my light. - Irish 8th century WORDS & MUSIC (SLANE)

  • Rachael Hampton | Sunday, 10 February 2019

    Elijah’s life and ministry was one tough gig, but in faithfulness and obedience he experienced first hand God’s miraculous power and provision. And it’s still the same. Many here will testify that trust in God’s care and goodness when times are tough brings a fresh and deeper experience of God and His provision. Peter, thank you for introducing us to that beautiful prayerfully-sung song.

  • Chukwunonso Enyobi | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Of a truth, God do provide for his people. I am a living witness. He has control over all people, whether or not they acknowledge him.

  • Angela Munday | Monday, 11 February 2019

    God provides. Even when famine strikes the land and we experience ‘hunger pangs’, then it is only by seeing and listening can we be fed by His hand and know He is God.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Elijah listened to God. He learned and he obeyed and achieved great things for God. It’s not just a good story but a reminder that we can do the same focused on our great big God.

  • Roger Hall | Monday, 11 February 2019

    What we are doing is taking the opportunity of WordLive's wisdom in learning the fundamentals that lie in the old testament which helps us understand the story of Jesus and the New. Dig deep and Chew and taste the sweetness of God's amazing provision. A few months ago, I attended a meeting at Filling Station. We were treated to a talk of great depth about Elijah. It was a masterstroke of a talk which was the 7 days in a row that Elijah sent his servant to check if there was a sign of rain. Praise God for His Presents and for His Presence!

  • Alice Prior | Monday, 11 February 2019

    My own small church is struggling, congregation members are leaving (including much loved members who feel called elsewhere), and money is running out. The large numbers of parents and small children who attend our Messy Church and Stay and Play groups do not seem to be making the next step to becoming full members. I have shed many tears when I think of our 25 year old church building becoming an empty shell. Please help me to trust in God’s care and goodness, and to have faith that he has a plan for us.

  • Lynda Spencer | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Dear ALICE, I started to reply at great length to your heartfelt post, then thought really it would be so much better to encourage you more personally. If you feel it would help, please write to me at my church, and I will reply with my personal details. I can be contacted care of Lumley Evangelical Church, Scorers Lane, Great Lumley, Co Durham DH3 4JH. I am. of course, in the UK. Whether or not you contact me, I will pray for you. God bless you.

  • Michael Jefferson | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Alice, Linda ani will pray for you and your church this morning. Blessings Mike Jefferson

  • Joanna Craigie | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Please pray for me. As I think I've already mentioned my hubby is no longer walking with God and hasn't been for some years now. Over the weekend I have made a decision to cut down on the amount of alcohol I consume but am afraid that this will drive a further wedge between my and hubby and that he will react in a way that will show he doesn't respect my decision - we tend to share a bottle of wine most nights (even week nights) while eating our evening meal. I have asked God for strength to uphold my decision but I am still frightened as to what might happen tonight when I say no to wine.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Monday, 11 February 2019

    JOANNA wine is not your issue, Satan is. Before you speak to hubby about the wine ask yourself 'what would Jesus say. How would he handle it. Will what I'm about to say bless or blister. Let Love and respect be the key.

  • Thelma Edwards | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Hi JOANNA. I don't usually go back to WL during the day but did today over midmorning coffee and the 'retired public health professional' kicked in! You didn't say what made you make this decision but I assume you had been thinking about it for a while and it was an informed decision rather than a sudden impulse? There are a variety of reasons for cutting down on alcohol, including a fear of being alcohol dependent, discovering you have a health issue that could be made worse or even caused by daily intake of alcohol, realising how much money you are spending on alcohol, to name a few. I wonder if you included your hubby in the thought processes that led to this - in other words have you chatted through the reasons behind the decision and so prepared him for your abstinance tthis evening? I can appreciate you will need to be careful about this as he could receive the information as a criticism of his own habit and so react badly. It might be good to prepare him in advance of the mealtime or else this could be spoilt. I don't know if you are both working or if retired, or how this habit crept up on you or what your normal relationship is with your husband (ie is it already strained?). I wonder if you have sought advice or read something that concerned you but on a practical note, if this is a regular habit you may need to be prepared for more than an adverse reaction from your husband as your body may react against it too - withdrawal symptoms apply to more than just drug addicts. For example, something as simple as giving up caffeine in tea or coffee can cause headaches if consumption had been regular and frequent during the day. I discovered this years ago when I decided to fast along with praying for a specific thing. Of course, what GILVIN says is right too and of course I will pray for you. Please let us know how you get on and well done - a brave and sensible decision.

  • Joanna Craigie | Monday, 11 February 2019

    THELMA and GILVIN, thank you for your wise words. Yes Thelma I have been considering this for a while however on Friday I had my first (and last) experience of tequila shots and as a result was rather ill. I do feel I have an over reliance on alcohol and it's so easy to open a bottle every night. I don't yet feel addicted and have gone for a number of days without and have had no withdrawal symptoms, thanks for the warning. Although things are not particularly rocky in our marriage at the moment I feel the strain of not having my life partner walking with me alongside Jesus and haven't attended church for a number of years as a result. I thank God everyday for WL as without it I don't know where I would be - I don't comment that often but when I do I receive the support and encouragement I need from you guys - don't know who had the idea to set this up but God Bless You. I also love YouTube - there are some fantastic worship songs/sessions on there - again thank you God. GILVIN you were spot on when you said Satan is my issue - as I read your comment it hit home - thank you. I may copy and paste this into tomorrow's comments if people don't usually come back to WL.

  • Barbara Sabin | Monday, 11 February 2019

    JOANNA the devil is a great deceiver. be careful about sudden withdrawal of alcohol as it can cause problems. You would be better to do it gradually. Why not cut down to half of your usual intake, for a week then cut down again in another week. If you acknowledge you are consuming too much ask God to help you and be assured that He will. I have recommended this book before on Word Live, and It may help you. 'Wine in the Bible' by Leighton G Campbell ISBN No L- 59581-090-0 You say you haven't attended Church for some years, why not make a decision with God's help to find a Church and to begin to worship again. discuss this with your husband. Remember to Bless God for everything, for water, a glass of water is helpful before a meal and after wine. I am not a drinker of Alcohol but I can see the effects it has on so many people, Remember that God is good all the time, call upon Him, His line is never busy.I will pray for you. Alice I feel for you and your concern for your Church. Messy Church is a good tool but Adults need to meet with Jesus and children too. So many people do not know Jesus as their personal Saviour, they know about Jesus they have the head knowledge but it needs to move18 inches to the heart and it happens in God's time. I promise prayers for you and your Church. Elijah as GILVIN says a great man who did great things with God. We too can do great things with God if we listen to the still small voice.

  • David Chipchase | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Joanna, I hope you may be comforted to know I, and probably many other WL'ers, have been praying for you and your husband since you made your original comment about it. To help me with my prayers, what is your husband's name please? Are you trying to cut back on alcohol or cut out alcohol? Whichever, your experience with the tequila shots is a great way to start the discussion with your hubby. This is the second set set of comments where you have mentioned fear. If it is not too private to discuss, what is it that you fear? Heartfeltly discussing it with God would be an excellent move. Whilst doing it, ask God to bind Satan wherever he resides in your life and then to cast Satan out of you. Remembering that pure love casts out fear, ask God to fill you to overflowing with the Spirit and His love. I apologize for telling you so much that you already know. Please keep us in the loop so we can update our prayers as required.

  • David Chipchase | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Alice, I will pray for you and your church. Please keep us in the loop about developments.

  • Jack Russell | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Indeed Elijah being up against it with Ahab from a human perspective was tough. Perhaps when we think about ravens we think of Jesus saying not to worry about food to eat with your Father providing food for the birds. I wonder if the words Jesus said would have resonated with this narrative about Elijah and the ravens feeding him to his followers. Rachael - thank you for your recent comment "I’m sure many of us and suffering saints everywhere long to be out of here and with the Lord." I felt I am not alone on reading that. My prayer is not for the suffering to go away if God determines that his grace is sufficient but to be strengthened to be able to endure the suffering. Of course if God is to remove the suffering then all praise to him! This narrative today shows of him turning up in the midst of the suffering. Perhaps Elijah needed just to rest and have food and water provided for him for a while to regain his strength and to then go and do more of what God had for him to do. What an amazing story about the widow and her son being helped by him. And of her helping Elijah. It reminds me of the many women that Jesus was dependant on for hospitality and food.

  • Thelma Edwards | Monday, 11 February 2019

    JOANNA - just another thought following your last comment. It is sad that you have not been able to go to church yourself since your husband stopped going. Do you go to clubs - hobby type ones I mean not nightclubs! I wondered if there was a church nearby where there was a Womens' meeting or some other fellowship-type meeting that you could go to It could be that he would be happy for you to go to a lady's group on your own as this would not be something he would have gone to anyway. If it was a church group, this might provide you with friendship and support. My husband stopped going to church about 15 years ago and had been a church leader too but I was blessed as he was happy for me to continue going on my own. When we moved here 8 years ago, he came to church with me while we were looking for a new church family to join but then stopped again. However, he continues to support and even encourage me to go on my own so I have been able to have fellowship with other Christians.

  • Thelma Edwards | Monday, 11 February 2019

    I love BARBARA's comment about praying to God "His line is never busy"!

  • Joanna Craigie | Monday, 11 February 2019

    DAVID - thank you for your prayers - I thank God for this community every time I log on. My husbands name is Mark. I am wanting to cut down on alcohol. The fear I mention is that Mark will react in an aggressive way to anything I say / do if I am open about God. Over the years since he turned away he has become less openly negative towards God and doesn't curse him as much as he did in the early years when everything was God's fault and he wasn't the loving God he had been told but a hateful and vindictive one. I obviously found this very difficult to deal with and do not want to go back to it.

  • Joanna Craigie | Monday, 11 February 2019

    THELMA thanks for the suggestion - I have in fact been on the website of the church I used to attend and there is a fellowship group on a Thursday afternoon which, as I'm self employed, I can go to. Will think and pray about it.

  • Barbara Sabin | Monday, 11 February 2019

    JOANNA I totally understand what you are saying as my husband decided when I retired from full time Ministry he had had enough of people being nasty to me and he was very angry and aggressive however I told him that he had choice but that so had I and I chose to continue to follow Jesus. He also said he was going to have a drink of beer we were both in The Salvation Army. He called me a religious maniac but I stood firm I put on my Spiritual Armour every day and I know I am God's child and he loves me. Now almost 6 years on he does occasionally go to meetings and he goes to the weekly coffee mornings but I have to smile as he hardly ever has a beer and he made such an issue of it, I pray for him every day I pray the prayer of Jabez for him every day. God is good and has a plan for him which will be revealed . I shall pray for you Joanna and for Mark. God will answer I trust that,

  • Christine Davis | Monday, 11 February 2019

    What an amazing and wonderful site this is. Joanna your post struck so many memories for me. Many years ago now, my husband was exactly the same. Wine every meal then drinks in the evening etc. etc. Things developed very rapidly and eventually he was told he had six months to live by his GP unless he stopped drinking. He was also diagnosed as manic depressive (now known as Bi-polar). He carried on drinking. He was brought up by very committed Christian parents, but has turned his back on his faith. By ways far beyond me he was admitted to a New Life Treatment Centre and with their help stopped drinking and became very involved with AA. Life became even more difficult for other reasons and eventually he walked out of the family home after 30 years of marriage. There were so many problems, lots of them financial as a result but God works in wonderful and amazing ways. I have 3 amazing children and 7 grandchildren and life is reasonably busy - he is now in a far off country having just left his 3rd wife. I am not saying this to make you feel more vulnerable at all but God does have a plan for us all whatever the circumstances. If anyone has a few minutes to pray I would ask for prayer, my youngest son has just broken up with a long term girlfriend and is absolutely distraught and my daughter and her husband are going to have to move from where they live about a mile from me, to another house at some time, probably at least an hour away because of his work and I am feeling very vulnerable without her near to me. I know God has a plan in all this but I just can't see it at the moment and am wondering what else I have to deal with and am feeling very down at the moment. Joanna I will be praying for you and the situation.

  • Christine Davis | Monday, 11 February 2019

    What a wonderful and precious group this. I rarely post but read it every day. Joanne your post struck so many memories to me. Many years ago now my husband was exactly the same. Things developered and eventually he was told

  • Jack Russell | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Christine - thank you for sharing this. I was twice diagnosed bipolar. But there were other issues that came to light from having had an abusive mother who put adult responsibilities on me as a child with being her "rock" and with having a learning difficulty which although I am intelligent, was regarded as being lacking in effort, careless and complacent with my intelligence masking the learning difficulty. When I confronted my parents about this, the abuse was met with denial and with denial by the rest of my family. The only thing I could do if I was to care for my health was to distance myself from the rest of my family. When I was diagnosed with the learning difficulty - dyslexia - it was a weight off my shoulders. My mother is still in denial and we live our lives separately now with me having confronted here not only about this but also about her destructive nature with regard to negativity about other family members, playing family members off each other etc. In this time I have encouraged her with helping herself and seeking professional help with regards to anxiety she has expressed, rather than taking the burden for her emotions myself. The reason I was having a difficult time over the weekend was because I was triggered by events in the here and now which reminded me of the emotional abuse I have experienced. I thought I might be suffering depression but I went out and socialised in the evening when the sadness I experienced lifted after a days rest. I have not been taking any medication for the last 10 years and the last time I saw a mental health professional was 5 years ago when she said that whatever has happened before, she was not seeing any symptoms of mental illness in me but rather that I was experiencing difficulty like many people do. I since have been led to believe that statistically 70% of people suffering with poor mental health can fully recover. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling down and I understand family issues can contribute to that. All I can say is that my experiences have forced me on to greater dependence on God than family and as a result, I am not able to take on life rather than being dependent on them. This has also opened up new opportunities for me for being creative and experiencing joy in my everyday life. I hope in me writing this, it has been an encouragement to you and to affirm what you say that God has a plan for all of us - one that sometimes he drags us kicking and screaming in to!

  • Jack Russell | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Correction not able should read now able.

  • Ogechi Ngemegwai | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    I thank God for the day i found this group. Joanna, am sending prayers straight to God's line whose number is never busy. Christine, I will remind God that does not sleep nor slumber about your concern. These posts appeal very much to me too as regards alcohol consumption. Does anybody know where worldlivers or scripture union meet n Coventry. I would appreciate the link.

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