Summary: God’s promises made the difference for Elijah & the widow of Zarephath. His promises overcome our worries. For through faith in Jesus, you are his dear child. A.The widow’s worries B.Our God is in command C.Trust your Father’s promises and act accordingly
Text: 1 Kings 17:7-16
Theme: Our Father’s Promises Trump our Worries
A. The widow’s worries
B. Our God is in command
C. Trust your Father’s promises and act accordingly
Season: Epiphany 4c
Date: January 31, 2010
Web page: http://hancocklutheran.org/sermons/Our-Father_s-Promises-Trump-our-Worries-1Kings17_7-16.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Jesus speaks to us in Luke 4. The Gospel for today.
"After a while the brook dried up since there was no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to him [Elijah], "Get up. Go to Zarephath which belongs to Sidon and live there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."
"He got up and went to Zarephath. He came to the city gate, and look, a widow was there gathering wooden twigs. He called to her and said, "Please, bring me a little water in a cup so that I may have a drink." She was on her way to bring it, and he called to her and said, "Please, bring me a bit of bread in your hand."
"She said to him, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have a piece of bread but only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. See, I was gathering a couple of wooden twigs to go and make it for my son and myself, so that we could eat it and die."
"Elijah said to her, "Don’t be afraid. Go, do as you’ve said. But make a small piece of bread from it for me first and bring it out to me. Afterwards make some for your son and yourself. For this is what the LORD the God of Israel has said, ’The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run out until the day the LORD gives rain on the ground.’"
"She went and did as Elijah had said and ate for days -- he and she and her household. The jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run out according to the LORD’s word which had been spoken by Elijah." (1 Kings 17:7-16)
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
1) What worries you?
What worries do you struggle with? Worries about making payments and credit card debt? Worries about aches and pains or stays at the hospital? Worries about family relations, issues at work, what others are saying about us? We worry about our children, many of you your grandchildren. What kind of world will they be growing up in? And the younger people among us, you, too, carry your worries: grades, friends, relationships, success or failure. So many things worries trouble us. But at least after last Sunday we don’t have to worry about the Vikings losing another Super Bowl. All kidding aside, doesn’t that illustrate how we can worry about little things like winning a game all the way up to life and death issues, even eternal issues. I’m I forgiven? Will I go to heaven?
A. The widow’s worries
1) What worried the widow at Zarephath?
Think about the worries troubling the heart of this widow in Zarephath. For so much of history, the husband was the bread-winner for the family. He worked the fields or ran the trade or owned the property. How difficult for the widow left behind to fend for herself! How was she going to provide for her son? At first she appears to make ends meet. Maybe she gleaned in fields as Ruth had done. Maybe she had some skill or craft of her own. But things went from bad to worse. A drought struck the land, bringing famine.
We know the reason behind this drought. Here’s the background: It was the mid 9th century before Christ. Ahab had come to the throne of the northern ten tribes of Israel along with his wife, Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians. Not only did Ahab commit the sin of Jereboam, which was promoting worship at the golden calves that King Jereboam had set up several decades earlier when the northern tribes broke away from Judah -- not only did he continue in that idolatry, but he promoted the worship of Baal even building a temple to Baal in Samaria the capital. For Baal worship had been brought to Israel by Jezebel, Ahab’s wife. So the Lord sent the prophet Elijah to Ahab. Elijah declared to him, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word" (1 Kings 17:1 NIV). This drought not only affected Israel but also its neighbors. Sidon to the north from where Jezebel had come and towns under its control, like Zarephath, felt the drought. Curing this time the Lord took care of his prophet leading him to a brook from which he could drink and sending the ravens to bring him food.