The Widow

pot-of-oil-and-flour

(source)

Today, our pastor talked about giving. He emphasized that God’s economy isn’t our economy and how the Lord can multiply what we give Him.

Today, he focused on this passage out of 1 Kings:

Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?”  As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”

But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”

But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. – 1 Kings 17:8-16

The context of this passage is right on the heels of Elijah announcing a drought to King Ahab. Elijah then hid by Kerith Brook and ravens brought him food. I’m a little grossed out by birds touching the food, but oh well. Then the brook dried up. So the Lord sent Elijah to the widow.

Elijah comes right to the point. “I need water, and some food wouldn’t be amiss,” he says. Pushy, wouldn’t you say? He already knows she’s a widow, and probably in dire financial straits.

I love her response. Elijah’s straightforward request hit a nerve. “All I have is enough to feed my son and I one last time. Then, we’ll die.”

Gulp. Two can play the direct conversation game, mister.

Elijah has a word for her. “Don’t fear! God will provide for you and your son until the crops grow back. God says so!”

She believes him and takes Elijah at his word. Or, God’s word. The widow makes Elijah some bread, and then a meal for herself and the boy. By God’s providence, the oil and flour hold out.

The widow’s response to Elijah is raw. Despair fell out of her mouth. She had no one to take care of her. But God. You see, obedience costs us. It involves sacrifice of some kind. Elijah probably didn’t want to impose on the widow at all. God prompted the whole encounter. Yet obedience brings blessing.

It’s never about the thing God requires of us. It’s a trust issue. Do we believe He will take care of us?

 

 

 

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