Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Choose life…That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him; for He is thy life, and the length of thy days.”
Deuteronomy 30: 19, 20
“God gently calls us every day,
Why should we then our bliss delay
He calls to heaven and endless light;
Why should we love the dreary night?”
William Walsham How
Today’s Study Text:
“The ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning and bread and flesh in the evening, and he drank of the brook.”
1 Kings 17: 6
“The Cherith Experience – Part 3
Enough For One Day”
“Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
gives unto each day what He deems best.
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
mingling toil with peace and rest.”
Carolina Sandell Berg
Has there been a time in my life when I had to learn how to live day-by-day?
What is the lesson I can learn from Elijah’s life that teaches me to trust God daily for every thing in my life?
“We must trust God today, and leave tomorrow with Him.”
E. M. Bounds
The Necessity of Prayer
“And his allowance, a continual one, was given him by the king, every day a portion, for the rest of his life.”
II Kings 25: 30
It might appear from the text above that we are jumping ahead of ourselves for our study text for today is found in 1 Kings 17. Rather than getting ahead of ourselves as we study through the Bible, I have chosen to glean from the passage found in II Kings 25: 30, one of the key lessons, repeated through Scripture, which is critical to our study regarding Elijah’s life.
In the text above, the people of Judah were under the captivity of the Babylonians. However, an interesting occurrence developed when, as the Bible tells us, “in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin King of Judah, on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month, Evil-Merodach King of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, showed favor to Jehoiachin King of Judah and released him from prison” (II Kings 25: 27-28, Amplified Bible). As I reviewed what Biblical scholars have to say about this act of kindness by a foreign king, it appears that this Babylonian ruler, the son of King Nebuchadnezzar, felt his father’s treatment of captives was over-the-top cruel. Thus, he decided to have a reign where mercy would be shown. He decided that every day, after releasing Judah’s king from a Babylonian prison at the age of only 55 years, Jehoiachin was to be given what he needed to provide for hisdaily sustenance. A daily requirement for daily needs from a Babylonian king. Unheard of kindness, to say the least.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time in the Bible where we find that what was needed to sustain one’s self for the day was what was received. When the children of Israel left Egypt, their return journey to Canaan would have required a great deal more planning had they not been given a daily supply of food, which they called manna, or as the Bible tells us the word means, “What is it?” The interesting thing to note about this provision from God was that as Moses instructed the Israelites, no more than what was needed for each day was to be collected. In Exodus 16: 20 we are told that some of the people didn’t listen to Moses. Instead they chose to try and hoard the manna. But, “it bred worms, became foul, and stank.” At the end of Moses’ life, when he was reviewing with the people of Israel all that God had done for them, he reminded God’s children that, “(God) humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you recognize and personally know that man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8: 3, Amplified Bible). Jesus, Himself, in the wilderness of temptation, reiterated these same words, “It is written, man shall not live and be sustained on bread alone but by every word and expression of God” (Luke 4: 4, Amplified Bible).
However, daily bread as physical food isn’t the only thing that should concern us. Daily bread as spiritual food is just as important -- even more so!
As far as the need for daily bread to meet the requirements of our physical well-being, in the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus taught His disciples to pray, we are all invited to ask our Father to, “Give us this day our daily bread, Matthew 6:11.” It would do us well to notice that we are not told to ask for bread for a month or for a year, but only for today. One day-at-a-time!
And this brings me to one of the vital lessons which the “Cherith Experience” can teach us. It is this: We must learn to rely on our Father for our physical, emotional and spiritual sustenance, day-by-day.
As Elijah witnessed God’s answer to his need when each day the ravens arrived with his food, so his faith was increased to a point where he could trust God to spiritually guide every step of his journey, every day!
Pastor Charles Spurgeon paints a very literal picture with his words when he expands on the thought that God’s provisions meet our daily needs:
“A daily portion is all that a man (or woman) really wants. We do not need tomorrow’s supplies; that day has not yet dawned, and its wants are as yet unborn. The thirst which we may suffer in the month of June does not need to be quenched in February, for we do not feel it yet; if we have enough for each day, as the days arrive, we shall never know want. Sufficient for the day is all that we can enjoy. We cannot eat or drink or wear more than the day’s supply of food and raiment; the surplus gives us the care of storing it, and the anxiety of watching against a thief.” And then Pastor Haddon makes this profound statement: “One staff aids a traveler, but a bundle of staves is a heavy burden.” In modern language, this statement might go something like this: One walking stick helps a mountain climber, but a huge load of walking sticks will just weigh them down, making their journey unbearable!
As Elijah learned at Cherith, contentment with our daily provision is what our Father desires from each of His children. However, Elijah’s Cherith Experience isn’t just a lesson on the gracious gifts our Father provides for our temporal needs each day. He also has a lesson for us from the life of Elijah regarding our spiritual needs as well.
From a personal perspective, too frequently in the past, I found myself mistakenly thinking I could store-up “spiritual” sustenance. You know what I mean! Church once a week is enough to carry me for the next six days. Have you ever thought this way? But unfortunately, like manna that is hoarded, I’d gotten a few days into the week, only to find my spiritual strength, worm-eaten and stinky. Here again, Pastor Haddon points out that we can’t “store up strength.” We need a daily portion of heavenly grace and love. Through the study of God’s word and devoted times of prayer -- everyday -- we’ll find an invigorated spirituality that doesn’t dwindle down to nothing because we haven’t replenished the vessel of our life at the heavenly well that never runs dry.
The Russian priest, Alexander Elchaninov sums up the benefits of daily contact with heaven when he writes:
“Our continual mistake is that we do not concentrate upon the present day, the actual hour, of our life; we live in the past or in the future…we do not notice that life is flowing like water through our fingers…if we accept every hour of our life as the hour of God’s will for us, as the decisive, most important, unique hour of our life -- what sources of joy, love, and strength would spring from the depths of our soul!”
Every moment of every day at Cherith, God showed His child, Elijah, that He would provide for Him, for that day -- spiritually, physically, and emotionally. A daily allowance for his daily needs was all Elijah could handle and was exactly what God provided. In the words of E. M. Bounds, “Bread for today is bread enough.”
Look To This Day
“Look to this day
for it is life
the very life of life
In its brief course lie all
the realities and truths of existence
the joy of growth
the splendor of action
the glory of power
For yesterday is but a memory
And tomorrow is only a vision
But today well lived
makes every yesterday a memory
and every tomorrow a vision of hope
Look well, therefore, to this day!”
Ancient Sanskrit Poem
“The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be mine abode
and all my work be praise.”
“All of my need He freely supplieth,
Day after day His goodness I prove;
Mercies unfailing, new every morning,
Tell me of God’s unchangeable love.
All of my need He freely supplieth,
Wisdom and guidance, strength as my day;
Grace for each trial, comfort in sorrow,
Blessed communion all of the way.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.