1 Kings 17:1-7
“Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.’ The word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Go from here and turn eastwards, and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the wadi, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.’ So he went and did according to the word of the Lord; he went and lived by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the wadi. But after a while the wadi dried up, because there was no rain in the land.”
As the largest black bird in the world, it is easy to spot a raven. A bird known to survive by scavenging, it is understandable that God would task such creation to care for Elijah, even if unusual. Most stories about Elijah fit into that category. Ravens being the first messenger Noah sends out after the flood, humans must have known of their smarts. They are the first bird mentioned in the Bible. These birds were helpers and named especially as cared for by God as well, as Psalms 137 and 147 note. And Jesus admonishes his disciples to not worry, as ravens are the creation named as God’s care extends to them as well, in Luke 12:22-26.
While today, we may call to mind the poem of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” to see ravens as a symbol of impending death. Not so, in these Biblical texts, they are helpful, smart and God’s care extends to even them.
Ever present Lord, we confess that we do worry about what we will wear, what we will eat, and of course, our lives, even as we hear of your care for creation like the ravens. We pray that in learning more about your deep love for creatures, that we can rest in your care, rest in your love and truly have faith. May we strive for your kingdom, Amen.