Devotion 301 – Tuesday of Pentecost 8

Opening Prayer

May the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us! Amen.

Text: First Kings 17:12–16

Then she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.'” So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.

Devotion

This widow believed the Word of the Lord which Elijah spoke to her, so she did what he said, and carried out what he commanded. The last remnant of flour and oil she had she took and made it into a cake for Elijah. Then later she was to make a meal for herself and her son from the same flour bin and oil jar, but nothing was left. Perhaps she did not yet have a living knowledge of sin, and perhaps it first entered her heart with the death of her son. Or it may be that this hard test was only a chastisement that led her into deeper repentance and knowledge of herself. Either way it is certain that at the first meeting with the prophet she bowed herself to the Word of God in beautiful faith in His power and providence and she shows it in beautiful works and humble hospitality. Dear Christians, let us learn from this widow. We have not just one, but many promises from God to care for us with all that we need. “Do not worry… for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. He who feeds the bird and clothes the lilies, shall He not also feed and clothe you” (Mat 6)? “He who delivered up His Son for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Rom 8:32)? So He speaks to us through the Son Himself and through His Apostles, and He is even greater than Elijah. If you have little, trust that it shall be enough. Take comfort from it, and share with others who are needy, and it shall certainly stretch and last, till the rain comes and fills those who are empty. Our age with its credit-system certainly has its own difficulties, but faith in the holy, living God is able to overcome them. Beware of establishing debt, and do not use what the Lord has not given you, but beware even more of unproductiveness. You do not need much for yourself, but you shall receive much interest with the Lord.

As that widow had to marvel and smile every day when she took from the flour jar and her cruse of oil, so you shall do likewise. You should see the Lord’s miracle in this, that there will always be flour in the jar, water in your well, milk in your jar, money in your wallet. Or is it not miraculous that your supplies are always replenished? Don’t the angels’ hands set the table for you every single day? Now thousands of times you have gone to the table and many children of God have done the same, but still there is always food there, and I bet that you will never lack bread to the end of your days. Maybe habit made the widow dull to the Lord’s miracle, until she was reminded of her son’s death and resurrection. There must also be salt and fire for us.

Closing Prayer

Lord, we pray You, teach us to receive bread from Your hand and to share it with others and to enjoy it ourselves with joy and thanksgiving. Amen.

Hymn

God all things is making,
Me then ever taking
Safely in His arms;
He who me selected,
As His own elected,
Before I was born;
He who knows And then bestows
All I need in life and dying,
On Him I’m relying.

God all things is making,
Dangers from me taking,
Turns away distress;
My support providing
Food and drink supplying,
That will serve me best,
And then when Another’s kin
Are with sighs and sorrows saddened
Me God still will gladden.

Stockman/Brorson: Gud skal al Ting mage L 490:1-2 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Gud skal al ting mage (ELH 264); alternate hymn: All praise to God who reigns above ELH 435

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