Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 29th January 2023: This is faith!

Miracle Faith 1 Kings 17 Elijah

Reading : Verses from 1 Kings, Chapter 17

Elijah and the widow

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, 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.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Today we look at the the first book of Kings. The prophet Elijah is active in the reigns of Ahab and Ahaziah, kings of Israel. King Ahab rejects Yahweh and the covenant, and introduces the worship of Baal, (the pagan god of storm and fertility), as a 'state religion'. He also starts to persecute God's prophets, seeing them as 'trouble-makers'. The land suffers a famine and Elijah is forced to flee, first to a wadi, but then when the water dries up he obeys God's instruction to go to Zarephath.

The story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath is one of faith and obedience. Elijah put his faith in God's instructions, because he has learnt to trust God, even though he is asking for some food from someone who will be the poorest of the poor, a widow with probably no one to care for her and her son, and they are down to their last meal. Yet despite this, he has faith in a command that doesn't seem to make much sense. As for the widow she shows amazing faith in Elijah and in God in feeding him first, and her faith is rewarded when God ensures that all three of them have food and oil.

This little story reminds us to have faith in what God commands, even when it may not seem to make sense. We must be like the widow and be faithful with what we have, and perhaps use it as 'seed' to grow more, or to help others who are worse off than ourselves.


Heavenly Father,
give us faith to trust You
even when we cannot see the outcome.
May we listen to the still, small, voice
that speaks of applying Your values
to our world.
Even when we have little
may we be as generous and as trusting
as the widow of Zarephath.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look at this painting of the story by Cornelius van Poelenburch in the National Art Gallery, in Maryland, US.

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