“For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.” (1 Kings 17:16)
I am so grateful for the way the Bible captures the highs and lows of our human experience as God’s beloved creatures. Yesterday, we considered the challenges of being a prophet. Today, we enjoy a good old-fashioned cause-and-effect story, where three people experienced the blessings that follow from following where God leads.
It is a time of drought, and Elijah the prophet has travelled to Sidon after a stream closer to home has dried up. Interestingly, he becomes the foreigner — the one in need — seeking hospitality in another’s land. But God has gone ahead of Elijah, and Yahweh has already commanded the widow Elijah is about to meet to supply him with food (verse 9).
Yes, you heard right. Elijah is about to receive the care of a widow, one toward whom he should be showing mercy! And she, too, has heard Yahweh’s voice, meaning that there are two prophets in this story.
The widow is on her last handful of flour and planning to make one last meal for herself and her son. Nevertheless, she follows Yahweh’s lead (as well as traditional Middle Eastern culture) and serves Elijah first. And her near-empty jar and jug go on to carry the three of them through the drought!
Do you have one of those stories where you felt that God had gone ahead of you? Where God provided for your needs despite the physical realities of the situation? If so, spend some time recalling how dearly loved it made you feel.
The good news is that in the highs and lows, whatever our physical circumstances, God is always delighted in each one of us and calls us his beloved children.
Dear loving God, thank you for providing the things I need and going ahead to the places you call me each day. Today, I pray that you will open my eyes and ears to notice how you are providing for me and how I might use these gifts you give me to minister to the needs of my fellow travellers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.