Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Who is Elijah? A man who trusted

Who is Elijah?
A man who trusted
                Elijah is moved from the wilderness where ravens
provided his meat and bread and the brook his water as God tells him to go to Zarephath. Elijah set aside his own agenda, feelings and concerns to do God’s bidding and he did so without hesitating.
                At Zarephath’s gate he meets a woman gathering sticks. He speaks to the woman and asks her to bring him some water in a cup. Then as she walks away to get the water, Elijah then asks for bread. For some reason, the woman who Elijah meets responds by saying, “As the Lord your god lives.” And at that moment Elijah knew that this would was a kindred spirit, a faithful woman of God.  This woman welcomes Elijah into her home and he realizes how poor she is but because they both trust and believe in God to provide their needs there is no fear.
                The woman has very little- a handful of flour and a little oil in the jar. The reason she was gathering sticks was in order to make a fire so that she could make a little loaf for her and her son. So instead of two people in need, there are really three. Elijah asks to be fed first which seems odd knowing that she had so little. Yet when he ate, he also made a promise.
                If you feed me first, then make some food for yourself and your son, you will not run out of food. The bin of flour and the oil will not dry up until God sends rain to the earth.
                What would the woman do? Feed a stranger first of all that she had or herself and child?
                Yet she was a woman of God. And so she went away and did according to the word of Elijah. As a result all ate for many days. God’s constant supply of flour and oil for this woman was a miracle. It is similar to Jesus’ promise in Matthew 6:33” Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. “  She put God’s purposes first, and God graciously provided.    
                Another crisis then comes to this woman. Her son becomes very sick and he had ‘no breath.’ The widow’s only joy is her son and now with his illness he would probably die.
                Yet she trusted God even though she believed she questioned Elijah and blamed him for her son’s illness. She has many concerns within: anger, guilt, blame But Elijah has compassion and takes the boy outside the house up the stairs and to the roof where he placed the boy on his own bed.. He prays to God and stretches himself out on the child and asks God to let the child live. And the boy breathed again. He took the child and took him back into his mother’s house and they were happy.
                The woman tells Elijah, “I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth. She fully trusted in God.

In times of crisis do we run to God’s presence and care or do we run away?
In times of crisis are we learning to face anything that might weaken our trust in God?
In times of crisis are we learning to trust in God’s will, not only for the future but also the present?
In times of crisis do we remember the power of Christ’s resurrection?

God of grace and love, through Elijah’s story with the widow and her son we learn how she comes to believe that Elijah is faithful to you. She also builds up her faith and grows stronger because she comes to realize that Elijah is your faithful servant through the miracles of the flour and oil and raising her boy to life.  Somehow however, we do not see ourselves as in this story because we do believe, we do not see how the woman questioned her faith and God when she needed him most. Yet there are times when we think we can do it all and better than you. But we cannot. Help us O God to trust, fully trust you in all of what matters in this life. Let us be reminded of how important it is to trust you as we read the story of Elijah. Amen.

Resource: Bill Crowder, Trusting God in Hard Times Lessons from the Life of Elijah Discovery Series, 2016

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