“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.’ ” 1 Kings 17:14 (NIV)
The widow’s faith awes me. Elijah gives her the word from the Lord that she is to use the very last of her resources to make food for him. Then food for her and her son.
The widow and her son were preparing to starve to death and this was to be their last meal together. Can you imagine her fear? Can you imagine her heartbreak knowing she could not save her son? As a mother, I would lay down my life for either one of my kids. I cannot fathom watching them die a slow death.
While she was collecting sticks to prepare their final meal, Elijah gives her a word from the Lord that she is to use their remaining food to FEED HIM FIRST.
Yet, he prefaces this instruction with a key phrase reiterated throughout the Bible.
DO NOT BE AFRAID.
Oh, her faith!
She doesn’t question Elijah. He told her what the Lord said and she went forth to complete the task.
“She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.” 1 Kings 17:15 (NIV)
In order to have food for everyone SHE HAD TO GO DO WHAT ELIJAH TOLD HER TO DO.
There have been many times when I was down to the bottom of the barrel. I thought I had nothing, NOTHING left. And all I needed to do was follow God’s instruction SO THAT He would provide.
Step One: Obey and follow God’s instruction.
Step Two: God provides.
And rarely does His provision come from expected sources. I have seen this time and again in my life. Months when making the rent payment seemed impossible because I needed to buy groceries or insulin, funds would come unexpectedly. Sure, there have been times I’ve asked for help; however, I believe that is the Lord working on my pride issue (that’s another post….).
Being faced with nothing beyond what you are holding in your hands and the Lord telling you to give that away or use it to further His kingdom, what would you do? What would I do?
These are the moments our faith is built and strengthened. And they are moments. We make a decision one way or the other and the opportunity to obey is gone. The widow could have walked away from Elijah but her faith in the Lord directed her steps toward obedience.
What else had she experienced in her life that her faith was so strong? The Bible doesn’t say, but I can imagine living as a widowed mother in those days was anything but easy. What were her thoughts as she gathered sticks? Had she already resigned herself and her son to an impending death?
Yet, she obeyed.
Despite what she was feeling, despite her emotions and the future she THOUGHT she and her son faced, the widow obeyed. When she obeyed, not only was she rewarded, but her son and Elijah benefited from her obedience! Who in your circle of influence or those close to you would benefit from your obedience? What future have you resigned yourself to that could be so different if you just obeyed?
I urge you (and myself!) to put in the work of building faith like the widow ~ possessing the awesome faith to use your resources for His work, with expectation, knowing the Lord always keeps His promises.