October 13, 2019, 1 Kings 17:7-16

This week we travel with Elijah as he moves from the court of King Ahab, past first a creek bed flowing with water, then through a season of drought and dry creek beds and onto Zarephath, where some of the households are preparing a meal made from the last staples in the home.

Let’s notice how he travels through these seasons and the conversations and interactions he has along the way.

1 Kings 17:7-16 (New Revised Standard Version)

But after a while he wadi dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.” As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.” She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Prior to this reading we first meet Elijah predicting a drought to King Ahab and then being directed to banks of a creek where there is running water and where ravens provide him with food.

Then the creek dries up and Elijah is directed to move on. But, he is not directed to a “land flowing with milk and honey.” He goes from one dry creek bed to a village and a widow who is near running out of food for herself and her son.

And of this widow he asks water and bread.

I know, we read, “… for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”

So Elijah got that word. Did the widow? The way I read the account, her conversation with Elijah does not start with, “I know the Lord provides all my needs. Come on home with me and have dinner with me.” I hear despair in her words. What do you hear?

Are the widow and her son brought to this place so they learn to live by faith? To trust their futures to the God of Israel?

Or … is the Prophet Elijah brought to this place of dryness so he can learn what it is to depend on God and to trust God when the world around him could give him reason to not have hope.

And Elijah has to give words of encouragement and hope to a family who thinks they are about to eat their last meal.

Read over this account a few times and notice the “seasons” Elijah and the widow pass through.

What might they learn from traveling this path together?

And, as you have time, review the seasons of your life. Notice especially those seasons which in retrospect you now see were a place of learning, growing, stretching that serve you well today as you face the future.

Give some thought to that and we’ll talk later ….

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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