The prophet Elijah was hungry, and God sent a raven to feed him. Ravens are referred to in scripture as significantly unclean, according to Mosaic law. Dread surrounds the stories, also, of ravens feasting on the ruins of a destroyed Israel after a season of their disobedience. I have read this story of Elijah often and have found it perplexing that God would send this particular bird to him to bring the famous prophet food.
Why didn’t He choose a dove?
That sure sounds like a better ending to that story. At least that would sound good when we preach it and say, “Yes, God sent the Holy Spirit to feed a hungry prophet. Praise God!” Then recently, I was reminded of how, over and over in the Bible - and it is true in my own life - God used something unexpected, unfamiliar, unlikely, and quite honestly something that appeared uncharacteristic of God, to bring provision and sustenance for seasons in our lives.
It was exactly Elijah’s viewpoint towards the children of Israel at that particular moment when he said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” Elijah felt that the children of Israel had no value, were unclean and worthless.
God showed Elijah that what might seem to be a useless, unclean bird could be used by Him for His will. There was still hope for Israel. The ravens were proof of that.
I want to encourage you today, no matter what you’re facing or what you’re praying for, do not avoid or run away from the very blessing of the Lord, even if it looks like it couldn’t or wouldn't be from God. When God gives His answers and provision in a manner that seems unusual, we should sit up and take note, and receive, keeping our eyes open. Embrace your ravens.