I don’t always like to do what I’m told; an internal resistance wells up inside me. Perhaps my natural stubbornness and my dependence on prayer to soften my heart makes me notice Elijah’s pliability and obedience in 1 Kings 17. When God tells him to do something, he obeys. And God uses him in His redemption story.

Throughout these verses, we see Elijah hearing and obeying God. The prophet announces to King Ahab the coming drought, and the rains dry up (1 Kings 17:1,7). Elijah follows God’s commands by hiding at a stream where ravens care for his needs (1 Kings 17:5-6). He then obeys Him in going to Zarephath and seeking food from a widow (1 Kings 17:8-10). She too obeys and makes food for them, although she was nearly out of food (1 Kings 17:12). Elijah promises, on behalf of God, that her oil and flour will not run dry—and God keeps His promise (1 Kings 17:15-16).

Interestingly, Bible commentators point out that the conflict between Elijah and King Ahab represents a bigger story of the true God versus false gods—in this case, Baal, a fertility god believed to be the provider of rain and thunder. So when God stopped the precipitation for several years, He also dried up any perceived power of Baal. The false god was shown to be wanting, while the true God provided for His people.

None of us are prophets like Elijah, but in God’s strength we can echo his character by building up our “obedience muscle.” Perhaps we can commit to acting on a nudge we sense when reading Scripture, or we can ask God to show us an area of life we’re withholding from Him. As we obey by His power, God may use us in His great redemption plan.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 1:12-26