Trusting God to Provide
Today’s sermon is called “Trusting God to Provide.”
Our reading tells a story about God’s provision, a poor widow and a prophet called Elijah.
Elijah, you will remember, is the one who appears at Jesus’ transfiguration
Elijah represented all the Prophets of the OT, while Moses appears to represent the Law.
You will find that story in Mark chapter 9.
Elijah lived in “interesting times.”
Being chased out of his own country into the desert of Sidon by the wicked idolater Ahab, and his devilish wife Jezebel, Elijah is in a dreadful position.
But God was providing for him. At the beginning of the chapter we are told how, in extreme conditions, God was caring for His prophet.
God protected him from death at the hands of the king and queen by sending him away.
God fed him by means of ravens and watered him at the brook Cherith.
Then when the drought took full effect, God told Elijah, I will have “a widow…to provide for you.” (9)
Hearing such a message in his distress may have put off a lesser man.
“I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”(9) What?
Elijah might have thought: “So you are sending me to a place where there is a famine and to the lowest person in the food chain there, and they are going to provide for me? Obviously, Lord, you know what you are doing, because I certainly don’t!”
If we are given directions from God that we cannot understand, or that seem strange, we must discern whether we are going to use our reason or faith in order to do what God wants. In other words, we may be asked to do something that is not logical or sensible to us, but is nevertheless God’s will for us.
It was not logical to go to a poor widow during a time of famine to get food and lodging, but it was God’s will for Elijah.
It was not logical for Abraham to offer up his only son Isaac as a sacrifice, yet it was God’s will for them both. (Gen 22:2)
It was not logical for Jesus to allow himself to be arrested in Gethsemane, as He could have called down twelve legions of angels to rescue Him. But then He would have missed the will of God for Him and our salvation would have been forfeited. (Mt 26:53)
It was not logical or reasonable for Jesus to submit to His death on the cross, yet it was by that means, and that means alone, that we have our full and complete salvation from sin and death.
I Cor 1:21 “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1:22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
The Wisdom of the Widow:
So Elijah obeys God and goes to Zarephath to meet the widow.
Elijah meets her at the gate of the city.