I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Widow of Zarapheth

Imagine yourself at the point of starvation. I know it's hard since we live in America with a McDonald's on every corner, and food at every church function, board meeting, school event, ladies meeting, and open house in the area.

People even have birthday parties for their dogs with food, for crying out loud.

But try to imagine yourself at the point of starvation. Remember a time when you had to work through lunch, or, that you were fasting. Sometimes you just get hungry, am I right? [Like maybe once a month you feel the need to eat your weight in M&Ms or something.] Times that feeling by about a million, and that should help you. So, you're imagining yourself at the point of starvation.

And you haven't been this way for a couple hours, it's been a long time coming. You have a little bit of meal (flour, if you will) and just a touch of oil that you've been portioning out between you and your son, hoping it will last long enough for the rains to come and make everything better.

See, there's been a drought too. And no doubt food prices have skyrocketed, and you are just a poor widow who doesn't have the luxury of credit at any place, and of course there are no savings laid by...so you make do with what you have, hoping to ride out the drought. It has to rain sometime, right?

Only, now you're down to your last bit of flour. Your last drops of oil. Just enough to make a cake for your son and yourself, and then you will die of hunger. Not right away though. Your body has adjusted to being malnourished. It doesn't expect an awful lot at this point, so you know it may be days or weeks before you really die, if the water lasts that long, but you'll wish it were only a couple hours.

So this morning you are out getting a couple sticks together to make a fire. You will go home and make the cakes and eat with your son your final meal, and then wait to die. You think of your husband who has been gone these years, and wish he were here to tell you what to do. You can't help but feel this is somehow your fault, that your sins have somehow brought this upon you and your son.

As you are turning to go back home, a man calls to you and asks for some water. You head to bring him some, thinking it might put off your death for a little while longer, when he also asks for some food. You stop, and worries fly through your head. You know exactly how much flour and oil it takes to make the cakes you were planning, and now this stranger has asked you to feed him. You debate with yourself whether to tell him the truth or not, but decide it's best to let him know your condition.

He answers without pause, and with some authority to not be afraid, but to do as he asked. God will not let the oil or flour run out until it starts to rain on the earth. You aren't sure that can be true, but you figure you can make a cake for the man and one for your son instead of yourself, so you set to work.

And amazingly enough, the man's word was right! There was flour still in the barrel, and oil still in the bottle! But how long would it last? What if this man leaves, will the food still continue? Better not get too excited about it...but now it's been many days...and it still has not failed...

Can you imagine what this widow was feeling? Sometimes I get through my Bible reading, and think of these amazing stories without trying to put myself in their shoes. This one was easier to do because I am a mom who loves her children. And because I have doubted the provision of God on occasion.

The story goes on with the widow's son becoming so ill that he stops breathing. The widow's first response is to ask Elijah if this is why he has come, to remind her of her sin and take her son from her?

But Elijah takes the boy and the Lord puts life in him again. Then the widow is overjoyed and believes that Elijah is a man of God and that his words are truth. Some interesting things the Lord showed me in this story...

The woman was not impressed when the food didn't run out. She doesn't praise God or even say thank you to Elijah. I think she was so overcome with fear of it running out again that she dared not hope it would last. Maybe she thought if Elijah left them, the food would leave too.

Elijah stayed with her many days. Surely during this time he spoke to her of God. Of the things he had seen, and maybe he revealed to her (if she didn't already know) that he was the one who had proclaimed the drought in the land. Surely he had tried to convince her the ways of God were good. But she was not swayed.

It took the death and resurrection of her son for her to believe that God was able. But even during her doubt, during the time she couldn't praise Him because of fear, or guilt of her sin, or whatever, God continued to feed her. He didn't take away the provision because she had doubt. He sustained her through it.

I think that is such a powerful truth! God asked her to make a small meal for someone else, even in her dire circumstances, and her obedience caused the blessing of provision. Isn't it so easy during our hard times to stop tithing, or giving to others? Isn't it easy to go into self-preservation mode and think only of what our family needs?

Yet God provides. Now, it doesn't tell us that the flour bin was miraculously filled to the top, or that the oil was overflowing, but maybe every morning when she woke up, there was just enough flour and oil to make the cakes they needed for the day.

Maybe that's why she had a hard time praising, because the miracle didn't look the way she wanted it to. Isn't it so much easier to praise God when He provides abundantly? When he just provides the basics, we tend to forget to be thankful. But it's all HIs provision. It's all from His hands.

There is so much in this story to learn! It may need another post...have a blessed day!


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