Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 King 16-18; Luke 22:47-71
8 The Lord’s word came to Elijah: 9 Get up and go to Zarephath near Sidon and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to take care of you.10 Elijah left and went to Zarephath. As he came to the town gate, he saw a widow collecting sticks. He called out to her, “Please get a little water for me in this cup so I can drink.” 11 She went to get some water. He then said to her, “Please get me a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any food; only a handful of flour in a jar and a bit of oil in a bottle. Look at me. I’m collecting two sticks so that I can make some food for myself and my son. We’ll eat the last of the food and then die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go and do what you said. Only make a little loaf of bread for me first. Then bring it to me. You can make something for yourself and your son after that. 14 This is what Israel’s God, the Lord, says: The jar of flour won’t decrease and the bottle of oil won’t run out until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.” 15 The widow went and did what Elijah said. So the widow, Elijah, and the widow’s household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour didn’t decrease nor did the bottle of oil run out, just as the Lord spoke through Elijah. (1 Kings 17:8-24, Common English Bible).
I love the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. To me, it is one of the great stories of the Bible. In this story, I am not sure what is in greater supply, Elijah’s nerve or the widow’s faith in what he was saying.
Sure, Elijah was saying what God was telling him to say, but didn’t Elijah just hear the woman? She has a little flour and a little oil. She and her son are going to eat the little she has and then she says, they are going to die. It almost sounds like Elijah is saying, sure “Fine, die if you must, but first take care of me.” That takes a lot of nerve.
What he is actually telling her is, God says for you to take care of me and then God will take care of you. While that may be true, it still sounds like someone telling a really tall tale and rather than have you accept the tall tale as a really good story, you are supposed to take it as truth. “You should have seen the one that got away.” Yeah, we’ll save that for another day.
For her part, the widow takes what Elijah says at face value. She easily could have told him to forget it, go away, leave me and my son alone to die in peace. But she didn’t.
That brings me to the real question, “How faithful are we.” Are we faithful enough to share what we have, great or small with others? It could have been that she said to herself, “what difference does it make if we die in 10 minutes or 10 years. I am not sure it does.
What I do know is this. God made us, created in God’s image, the image of perfect love. This is where you live and die. Will you take what you give and multiply and use it, or, would you hold on to it? I fear most of us would hold on to it.
When we put faith first, God is going to take care of us. If we are selfish with it, it might be that we are left to our own devices and wouldn’t that be a sad way to go.
Have a blessed day in the Lord,
With Joy and Thankfulness,
J Keith Broyles
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved