Wednesday, January 6, 2010


If you're a reader/writer type, then likely you have an affinity for words as do I. Some of them grip me with tentacles, while others pass through my decipherer (new word) without pause.

Unbeknownst has tentacles.

Merriam tells us that it's an adjective meaning: happening/occurring or existing without the knowledge of someone specified.

Given that definition, I confess there's a plethora of unbeknownsts in my life.

I suppose that's why I looked long and hard at a passage from the First Book of Kings. In Chapter 17 we find the amazing Elijah as he receives certain instructions from God; instructions that will continue preserving his life through a dreadful drought & famine upon the land.

Most of us know the story from an entirely different angle than the one that's captured my focus, but bear with me ... The story opens with God instructing Elijah:

"Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there.
I have commanded (remember this word
and the fact that it's past tense
a widow in that
place to supply you with food."

So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate,
a widow was there gathering sticks.
He called to her and asked,
"Would you bring me a little water in a jar
so I may have a drink?"
As she was going to get it, he called,
"And bring me, please, a piece of bread."
The original fast-food order!)

"As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied,
"I don't have any bread—
only a handful of flour in a jar and
a little oil in a jug.
I am gathering a few sticks to take home
and make a meal for myself and my son,
that we may eat it—and die."

(Remember, God had "commanded" her
to supply Elijah with food,
apparently unbeknownst to her. Besides which,
even if she had been beknownst,
she didn't have any food to offer anyway.
This lady had lost all hope, hit bottom,
and was actually preparing for death!)

Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid...
For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil
will not run dry until the day the
LORD gives rain on the land.'
"She went away and did as Elijah had told her
(unbeknownst to the fact that God had already,
and previously commanded her)..

So there was food every day for Elijah
and for the woman and her family
. (vs 9-15)

In roughly seven verses we learn something incredible. While I'm no Theologian, I can certainly connect a few dots to my own life. What size and shape might those dots take? Let's consider the unbeknownsts.

  • I may be oblivious to the commands of God in my own life.
  • God will never lead me where He hasn't already prepared a place for me.
  • It's possible I'll do something when I'm most desperate (aka, "hit bottom", or "come to the end of self") that I might otherwise avoid.
  • How many times do I have to read or hear from God's own word "do not fear" will it take before I remove fear from my coping arsenal?
  • God first works in me before He works through me.
  • Sometimes I'll credit self or others with something God alone has orchestrated/ordained.
  • I don't know what I don't know.
When all is said and done, I must admit that much, if not most of God's amazing grace in my life comes-and-goes without my awareness. It is unbeknownst to me.

I plan on working the dot from the other direction, from the beknownst side. I'm thinking that way fear has no hope of gaining a foot-hold, and gratitude can long be at work before His provision is even known - knownst!


Shirl said...

I have often thought that God loves to surprise do the impossible in our lives.

Tammy said...

Right between the unbeknownst eyes, this one hit me. Full of Him showing unbeknownsts this week, many have moved to: beknownst. I've learned much in discovering them myself! What a timely message. Thanks for sharing this apt word from the supreme Word.

Tammy@If Meadows Speak....

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Oh, what a wonderful word here today sweet friend. There is so much in that passage that just cries out for a sermon all of its own.

(I bet we would have a blast playing scrabble together!)


Heart2Heart said...


What a great and inspiring post today. Everything you captured just lifted me up so much today. Thank you for that.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

They call me "Deb" said...

What a great teaching! I am blessed by your sharing this today.
Hugs and blessings,

sonja said...

These words are choice! I LOVE the dots you connected in your own life, or mine...

'unbeknownst', 'known', 'intentional'... these are all going with me into 2010!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

As I reading this, I'm thinking to myself (quite beknownst to me) about my writing... how often times I feel like the widow, down to nothing but a final meal, when the Lord directs me to pick up my pen, a "very empty" piece of paper, and commands me to write. Write? What, Lord? There's nothing there. And then words begin to appear, and I understand that it was never really me who had them to start with, only the obedience therein.

Perhaps as we use our gifts, there is an Elijah waiting in the wings to be the beneficiary. Unbeknownst to both parties!

And it works; there's a fit, and God just sits back and muses...

"I told you so."

I'll think of your thoughts the next time I sit down to write. Unbeknownst to me, there might be an Elijah just waiting God's provision via me.

Now that's some pondering for the afternoon.


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

forgive all my typos... brain writes in hyper-speed... quite unbeknownst to me.


christy rose said...

It is so true, there is a plethora of unbeknownst to me in my life. I believe working the dots from the direction of that side is a great idea! It would seem to make so much more sense. Great insight Kathleen!