Elijah walked into King Ahab’s court and declared, “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” (1 Kings 17:1, NIV). Then following God’s directions, Elijah ran away to hide in the ravines near the river Cherith. This is the scene depicted in Sieger Köder’s painting, Elijah.
Taking shelter under a large shrub, Elijah crouches holding his head in his hands. A water jug sits at his side. The golden-brown shades of his robe blend into the ravines beyond, while the blues of his headdress meld into the colors of the shrub, sky, and mountains. The ravens promised by God lay meat and bread at Elijah’s feet. Scavenging ravens usually indicate death, and anyone searching for Elijah would not expect to find life where ravens gather. But Elijah has shown great trust in God, and God has been faithful to protect and provide for him.
We can only imagine what Elijah must be feeling, seeing the abundant food and water at his feet, the rich valley of golden grasses and mountains in the distance, yet knowing he must hide. Does Elijah respond to God’s divine direction with lament or prayers of thanksgiving? When we are faced with difficult circumstances, what is our response? Will our prayers include lament or be full of thanksgiving? Will we, like Elijah, follow God’s direction and trust God to be faithful?
Cover photo courtesy of the artist. © 1990 Sieger Köder – Stiftung Kunst und Bibel, Ellwangen. Prints of cover art are available at www.versacrum.de/.
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”