God’s Commissions and Commands

1 Kings 17 records a fascinating story about how God was faithful to his prophet Elijah in providing for his needs. All Elijah needed to do was listen to the voice of God and obey him, doing what God wanted him to do. The account starts with the prophecy of drought in the land and the word of the Lord coming to Elijah, asking him to go and hide himself by the brook Cherith. For a moment, can you imagine what Elijah would have thought? He has just prophesied according to the word of God that there was drought going to be in the land, and now the Lord wants him to go to be by a brook, which according to the prophesy should dry up as well. Yet Elijah obeyed but even before his act of obedience, God assures him that he will be provided for, by the ravens, whom the Lord had commanded (1 Kings 17:4). With this faith, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, Elijah listened and followed his commission. See the Lord commissioned Elijah, but also commanded the ravens to be his means for providence. And it came to pass as the prophesy of drought was fulfilled, the brook dried up (1 Kings 17:7) and the word of the Lord came to Elijah again saying, Go to Zarephath and dwell there, for the Lord had commanded a widow woman to sustain him. Elijah obeys again and the Lord not only sustained Elijah according to his promise, but the woman whom God had commanded as well. Did you notice, even the second time, Elijah was commissioned to go to a widow woman but a command was issued to the widow woman for Elijah’s sustenance, even before Elijah obeyed his commission.

With the aid of the Holy Spirit, close introspection of the text reveals many hidden treasures from this account, which are as follows:

  1. God’s command not only provides (bread and meat brought by the ravens and water from the brook) but also sustains (bread and oil). Note, Jesus is the bread of life, and His Holy Spirit is the oil that never runs out.
  2. When God commissions, it is apt for us to respond by obeying for should Elijah have not gone to the brook (even though he had been informed that it would dry up) or to the widow woman, he would have not been satisfied of his thirst and hunger. Going to where he knew would be water and bread brought about salvation to the life of the widow woman and her son, who had given up hope and had resigned to have their last meal and die (1 Kings 17:12). When we obey and go to where God wants us to go, the living Water (Jesus) and Bread of life (Jesus) brings Salvation to those who have given up hope or who have none.
  3. God’s command goes hand in hand with His commission. We are commissioned to be his witnesses (Matthew 28:19-20) but He commands his creation (animals/birds and humans) to aid us in our commission.We can be assured that when God commissions us to do something for him, He makes sure that He commands that which is necessary to help us achieve His mission through us. You and I can be rest assured that He will make a way, where there seems to be no way. He is the hope for the hopeless, the quencher of thirst and the satisfier of hunger.

1 Kings 17:1-16 (KJV)
And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
5 So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.