“And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the torrent”, 1Kings 17:6

We so easily desire to become as glorious as Elijah had been and still is. Nevertheless, one should know what it is all about to become a prophet of God, the ingredients of the cake, before desiring its sweet cover and final aspect. What covers a cake is not what the cake is - its outward appearance and its sweetness makes it desirable only.

Elijah knew how to hear God because he just knew how to obey God as well, even in lack and through bad moments of dryness. He extended his range of holiness and obedience beyond his own temptations. Any prophet should put in his mind he should only live by the word God has spoken to him and stick to it to the end only, no matter what happens with him in between or in the mean time. Elijah remained in the “torrent Cherith, before the Jordan”, having the Jordan so close by to drink from. And the torrent dried up and he did not think to go to the Jordan even then.

In this way, he ate flesh and bread daily and was sustained through it. He knew flesh and bread was not what sustained him all along from the inside though. The word of God was his commandment and in that commandment he found flesh to eat from and bread to taste; he was not even amazed ravens brought it at all, since he was so conscious of the very presence of God that he did not need any other proof to startle himself with at all anymore, and even though he was someone like anyone of us. He was tempted by the same temptations, he ate of the sinful flesh we all eat. By eating from it, he conceived and perceived his way out of it. Many would perceive only as far as their way into it, their well-stay in it, since sin would be made to look to be an adorable teddy bear for them to hold on to.

It often happens that any prophet eats strange stuff in the strangest ways during the strangest times of his own life. The maintenance of Elijah meant the maintenance of many others as well. God fed thousands by feeding Elijah, God kept thousands by keeping him. Because God kept thousands others through him, he had to eat from the food which he needed not to eat from as if it were he who had to be saved from something, being tempted through temptations which meant nothing to him – only to others – so he could have and breed a proper word for an outcome in due time. A prophet is often tempted by others’ temptations because he already has victory over those and needs to be able to speak out and arrange an outcome for the weak as well, who may not have the ability of victory over it as yet, victory being so close by. We find, quite often, a preacher being tempted and assaulted by sexual thoughts and greed when preaching to prostitutes, we find oneself being tempted by the very temptations of the environment where God needs a word brought forth and a way out or a doctrine newly arranged and freshly conceived in a new light that works out for hearers. Even though that prophet does not live by those sins, he is fed by it. Elijah ate flesh as well. In the same way, a prophet eats of the flesh of the earth which God brings, allows or causes to enter into his mind. He does no live by it, only fed and sustained from it because it is God's ravens who bring it to him. As Paul said, "So then, death works in us, but life in you", 2Cor.4:8-12.

Elijah lived just as well with bread and flesh twice a day, as he would with one cake which would last for forty days with nothing more to eat from on a long journey. Flesh was no problem to him, nor the absence of it. For him, it amounted to the same thing. This is why we may stumble at the reasons why God told Hosea to marry prostitutes and to conceive children through them to be made prophetic allegories to impress people’s minds with and through it. Salomon gave his own heart to what came along and fell, even though I believe he made it back because his wisdom was God's and it was enough to resurrect him again. In Hosea's case, it was no sin for the prophet who would remain clean, but it would establish a critic’s tongue against him for that tongue would approve such behaviours for himself but never in a prophet of God, thinking people to be different in the eyes of God, as they are in sinful people's eyes because of convenience. This behaviour would, in no doubt, bring people’s own sins before them by causing a big talk about something which was carried out in the Light, "for whatever is manifest is light", Eph.5:13. They should be able to ask why it was wrong for a prophet if they were the ones approving on sin in their secret-bearing heart.

It is not at all uncommon that a prophet eats of the flesh which is not what he lives from. Nevertheless, one should know that a prophet’s life was given to God to do with it whatever He wishes to do, the way He wishes to carry out things. A prophet should never sin, even though he is worked up into preaching, into the very mood of patience and victory and into a way out to escape from sin, so others may come to see it and follow him out of there through a way God wants to conceive, and flee for their lives as that prophet does himself openly for their sakes.

The mood and the spirit which should be able to be conceived in the ways and countenance of that prophet is just as important as the very explanatory way he finds words for to put it forth unto his hearers. He should conceive a way, more than an oratory about it all. The oratory should conceive an alike way in and through them, instead of it being a descriptive explanation of the way. Any prophet of the genuine kind is always made to become a pioneer. The spirit he speaks through is what will make people accept his words or reject them, however, but the way he should  open up  by walking it himself, openly. "In your patience, possess your souls", Jesus said, even to prophets. He should conceive his spirit rightly, to be able to deal against people the way they should be doing themselves, were they under deep conviction of sin. Any prophet should also be a resemblance of what God would want people to be and to do themselves. This is mainly what it is to be a prophet indeed – to be more than a talking and a sharing one. Sheep follow any shepherd and when the shepherd stays behind so will sheep stay with him since they are created to follow; even if he commands them to move on and ahead, they will always follow him into what he does, rather. Shepherds should think like sheep and do what they should be doing before them, the way they need to do as well. Every prophet eats flesh, but he is not taking it in as his own food or sin at all. How it happens I don't know, since we know God does not tempt. We read He leads into temptation though, Mat.6:13, just as Jesus was led to be tempted for forty days in the desert and, yet, without sin. The demand from a prophet is, also, that he comes out as a victor and overcomes to the end all the time. (There is no crown mentioned and promised to such as do not overcome, even if nowadays' preachers promise life to anyone whatsoever - a life they have not to share themselves nor the power to give it away. They promise a vain thing to a people like them because they want it to be that way for themselves. Their preaching is a kind of wishful thinking and not faith).

How a prophet is tempted we don't know. We know only as far as why it happens and for what reasons. A prophet may become taught a way for the long run, sometime far ahead, or for the immediate use and application, or he may be shown something of the past he should have been doing and did not do that way because he was not found in the right relationship with God then. Teaching and learning is the daily bread of any prophet, and he sacrifices flesh as it comes along into his day.

May God bless all truthful prophets then, who teach just how truthful one must be in nature in a real living way - live and naturally. Amen.

Back to messages-index

José Mateus