8Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, saying, 9“Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10So 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.” 11As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12But 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.” 13Elijah 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. 14For 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.” 15She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. 16The 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.
1 Kings 17:8-16
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Reflection: God can take what little we have to offer and multiply it to accomplish his purposes. Not only did the widow have just enough meal and oil to make cakes for one meager meal for two people, but she had little to offer by way of traditional spiritual credentials. She was a foreigner, a woman, and a widow. Yet, she was available, and willing to obediently answer the call of God upon her life at that moment. Perhaps she figured that she had nothing to lose. But she was willing to draw water for Elijah even when she knew nothing of his promise of endless meal and oil. Furthermore, when the time came, she was willing to trust when the greater promise was presented to her. In doing so, she saved her family and supported God’s work through Elijah. How is God asking you to be available today? Will you trust in his promises, even if your present circumstances seem to contradict those promises? God can do a lot with what we believe to be the little we have to offer.
Prayer Focus: This week, pray for those who are hungry. There are those in our communities who, like the widow, do not know if they will have a next meal or from where such a meal could possibly come. Hunger does not discriminate between rural, suburban, and urban areas. There are hungry people present wherever you may go. Ask God to reveal how you and your faith communities might be part of a long-term solution to the problem of hunger. Canned and non-perishable food drives and the like are good works, but they are a temporary fix to the real problem of persistent hunger in our communities. How might God want to feed his children through you and your church? Pray for wisdom, resources, and the partnership of finding others who will passionately work beside you to nourish God’s beloved people.
Meditation Focus: Have you ever been hungry – really, truly hungry to the point that all you could think about was your next meal? Jesus said that those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness would be filled by God (Matthew 5:6). Do you hunger for God – really, truly hunger for God to the point that all you can think of is being filled with his presence, grace, and love? As you meditate this week, ask God to clear you of all those things that obstruct your hunger for God until you can imagine yourself as an empty vessel. Then imagine God pouring a little bit of oil, the oil of his Spirit, in you. And imagine him placing a little bit of grain, the grain that produces the bread of life, within you. As you meditate and pray, imagine those two small portions growing inside of you, filling all of those cracks and corners that used to be filled with ungodly passions and desires. What does it feel like to be filled with God? How does it change the way you think, feel, and act? As the oil and grain increase, imagine them filling you to the point of overflowing. As they pour out of you, how might the oil and grain be used to feed those around you? How has your life become an offering of God’s goodness to others? Allow God to empty you of your selfishness, fill you fully with his goodness, and create through you a new invitation to grace for others. Be emptied; be filled; be poured out.
Journaling Focus: What are your talents and passions? How has God gifted you in life and what is it that excites you? God can use those two things – what you do well and what you love to do – to further his kingdom on earth. Take some time to write about what you do well. Perhaps you can make a list of such qualities. Then take some time to write about what you love to do. Making another such list might be helpful as well. Then consider how those two realities connect. For instance, if you are talented in playing music and you enjoy working with children, then perhaps teaching sacred music to children is an activity that connects your gifts and passions. Or perhaps you are a good listener and you love to visit with people. Perhaps going to see a sick friend in the hospital or someone who is shut-in at home and offering a compassionate ear is an activity that connects your gifts and passions. We all have opportunities to do the work of God in our communities. These actions do not have to be grand and flashy to be faithful, kingdom-building actions. Write about a few ways in which you could connect, through kingdom action, those gifts and passions in your life. Then commit to trying one new kingdom activity this month.
Breath Prayer: Father, empty me; fill me; pour me out.
Photo Credit: Pikkystock | Dreamstime.com – http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-rice-bran-oil-bottle-glass-seed-old-plank-wood-image32971796#res13646869″>Rice bran oil</a>