And remember – keep in mind what we talked about in yesterday’s post – that this is the first human interaction that Elijah has had in a while.
(NIV1984) 1 Kings 17:13-14 – “Elijah said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 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.”‘”
Firstly – Elijah promises the LORD’s provision for the widow and her son. If she helps Elijah, God will bless her and save her. She will have enough food – bread-wise – to last until the rain comes. (I kind of wonder about the time in-between when rain comes and the crops grow, but that’s just me. I believe that God provided for her then, too. 🙂 ) The obvious focus should, of course, be on the LORD’s provision.
However – there are two other things here that are interesting to me:
1. The beginning of Elijah’s response. The woman has basically told him that she and her son are going to eat their last meal and starve to death. So what does he do? He gives her permission. Go ahead and die. Just feed me first. I’m sure the widow was like, “What the heck?”
2. The widow didn’t have to feed Elijah. He gave her God’s promise, but that promise didn’t hinge on “If you feed me”. It’s a “please feed me because God is (going to) bless(ing) you wonderfully” type of thing here, not an “If you help me, then God will bless you.” At least, that’s the way I read it. And that, to me, is super important to how I think I should be interacting in the world now.
God has blessed me wonderfully. I’m at college. I’m in America. I wasn’t born into poverty and although I’ve had plenty of tough times, my years here and talks with my friends have shown me that I haven’t had it bad at all. Even my stories which I tend to think are cliche – I’ve been told about how accurate some of that is, which shocks me. I look at them and think they’re overdramatic and a stretch – and no.
I have a hard time with that.
And I believe that God calls me to give out of my surplus of wonderful things. For me, I think that’s one of my spiritual gifts – giving. (And please forgive me for talking about myself like I’m proud or something, it’s just…I’m who I know.) I like to give (my main problem is determining where exactly to give), and that’s something that just flows out of me. You need to be encouraged? Here – let me give you a present that I know you’ll like! That sort of thing.
So this, for me, speaks to that. I have SO much. Why shouldn’t I be giving back?
I also want to take note of two more things – the invocation of “Don’t be afraid.” (I love these words!) and that of all the starving people in the world, God chose those most helpless on their own – a widow and her son. (How old is the son, anyway?) And He does that time and time again – He helps us in our weakness. And that is the greatest encouragement that I could ever have – that when I am weak, then HE is strong. That when I am weak, HE encourages me, HE comforts me, HE is still with me.
Since this is the case, what else matters? If GOD is for me, who can be against me?