Today’s message comes from the story of Elijah. Unlike all other prophets, there has been no reference to Elijah’s genealogy, we just know he is a Tishbite. 1 King 17: 8-16. He arrived in Zarephath and at the home of a widow living in poverty with nobody to provide for her and her son amidst a land in drought. They were about to eat the last meal made from all that remained of the flour and oil.
Elijah said to the widow; “make me a cake first,” So she did as the stranger asked and then God blessed her. The land was in drought because God’s people, the Israelites, had turned away from God’s laws and taken God for granted, their continuous sinfulness generated a divorce from God. ‘She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution.’ Jeremiah 3:8. Judah was not divorced because God needed a wife from a pure line from which Jesus can be born, but she was just as sinful. God promised prosperity if his people remained obedient; ‘If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom,’ Deuteronomy 28:13. God warned the Israelites to never forget the Lord their God; ‘But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today.’ Deuteronomy 8:11. However they did forget and in their disobedience; ‘They have planted the wind and will harvest the whirlwind. The stalks of grain wither and produce nothing to eat. And even if there is any grain foreigners will eat it.’ Hosea 8:7. We know that the law cannot be separated from the love of God. Supporting this claim is John 14:15; ‘If you love me, obey my commandments.’ The practical evidence lies in countries which have left the British Commonwealth of Nations rule of biblical order to become a republic, each has become a harsh rule over its people since. Look at Africa and India; they were prosperous countries before they removed themselves from the Commonwealth, the work of the missionaries became less effective and now these places are full of slums. The poor grieving widow depicts the perilous position of the country, but the flour and oil remained, however small, and depicts the word of God. ‘Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.’ John 6:48-51. ‘But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!’ 1 Kings 17 13-14. God preserved the life of the widow and her son and God has promised to preserve Israel. The Godly nations are moving further away from God’s laws; Australia, Britain and USA are all in debt, our farms are being sold to foreigners, we have taken God for granted and a yolk has been placed around our necks. But there will always be the word of God among us; depicted in today’s story as the barrel of flour and a cruise of oil that sustained the widow and her son.