Friday, June 3, 2016

Reflection - Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath - When Sharing Means Starving

Source Website: https://sermonsfromsilverside.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/when-sharing-means-starving-third-in-series-memorable-biblical-meals/
Posted by Silverside Church Delaware (SERMONS FROM SILVERSIDE) on 15 July 2012


The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, ...
PHOTO: "The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, ..." (1 Kings 17:14) Elijah, the widow and her son ate for a year. The Lord will provide for you, too. Just keep moving forward. God can't steer a parked car.
Picture posted by Silverside Church Delaware (SERMONS FROM SILVERSIDE) on 15 July 2012
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https://sermonsfromsilverside.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/when-sharing-means-starving-third-in-series-memorable-biblical-meals/



Elijah was the greatest of the prophets in all of ancient Israel.  Once he was on his own in the ministry, Elisha went to a little city or town called Zarephath.  Upon his arrival, he happened to see a widow gathering firewood, and though he didn’t know her he asked her for a drink of water.  When she stopped what she was doing to get the prophet his water, he added, "While you’re getting the water please bring me a piece of bread.  I'm hungry as well as thirsty."



Elijah was the greatest of the prophets in all of ancient Israel.
PHOTO: Elijah was the greatest of the prophets in all of ancient Israel.  Once he was on his own in the ministry, Elisha went to a little city or town called Zarephath.
Picture posted by blakeinboulder on October 6, 2015
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-df3NvCFWHIs/V1EzPaXBy5I/AAAAAAAAj-c/5nSMm9A7q-Y1SVMCluGXLIvX-7kC2yT6ACLcB/s1600/elijah-still-small-voice.jpg
https://milehighhallelujah.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/elijah-still-small-voice.jpg
https://milehighhallelujah.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/discovering-and-declaring-the-power-of-god/



Elijah upon arriving Zarephath, he happened to see a widow gathering firewood, and though he didn’t know her he asked her for a drink of water.
PHOTO: Elijah upon arriving Zarephath, he happened to see a widow gathering firewood, and though he didn’t know her he asked her for a drink of water.  When she stopped what she was doing to get the prophet his water, he added, "While you’re getting the water please bring me a piece of bread.  I'm hungry as well as thirsty."
Picture posted by Lu Anne
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WlMedcWPSS8/V1EzP9Dcv5I/AAAAAAAAj-o/AwmMb6cAyrs9cuwp0xgZSVzPRtRCXdrxgCLcB/s1600/p_0004.jpg
http://biblelessonsite.org/flash/images50/slides/p_0004.jpg
https://www.tes.com/lessons/v-a6UdP7lyrchQ/god-s-messengers-elijah-1-kings-17-18



If that sounds a little presumptuous on the part of a stranger, we have to remember the prevailing standards of hospitality among ancient Hebrews, which made asking such favors and granting them perfectly alright.  Her response, however, stunned prophet.  She blurted out despairingly,  "By the living LORD your God I swear that I don’t have any bread.  All I have is a handful of flour in a bowl and a bit of olive oil in a jar.  I came here to gather some firewood to take back home and prepare what little I have for my son and me.  That will be our last meal, and then we will starve to death."



She blurted out despairingly
PHOTO: She blurted out despairingly,  "By the living LORD your God I swear that I don’t have any bread.  All I have is a handful of flour in a bowl and a bit of olive oil in a jar.  I came here to gather some firewood to take back home and prepare what little I have for my son and me.  That will be our last meal, and then we will starve to death."
Picture posted by Standard Publishing (GoodSalt Inc.) - Elijah and a Widow of Zarephath
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-vAiafUlMc80/V1EzO6tJSgI/AAAAAAAAj-Y/1c2mmm8y6_0jBTgHprxa51fmbWX-CTt1ACLcB/s1600/elijah-and-a-widow-of-zarepath-GoodSalt-stdas0019B-1.jpg
https://1920332912.rsc.cdn77.org/view/elijah-and-a-widow-of-zarepath-GoodSalt-stdas0019B.jpg
http://www.goodsalt.com/details/stdas0019B.html



Without ministering to her pain, had he not heard that she was about to prepare the last pitiful meal she'd ever prepare before death through starvation took both of them, Elisha (who’d skipped pastoral care courses in seminary) said, "Don’t worry about it, lady." Don't worry about it.  This guy had to be nuts.  How could she not be worried?  Who could have avoided worry in such circumstances?



Don't worry about it, lady.
PHOTO: Elisha said, "Don't worry about it, lady." Don’t worry about it.  This guy had to be nuts.  How could she not be worried?  Who could have avoided worry in such circumstances?
llustration by Michael Parker
Picture posted by Faith S. Watson, Church Magazines, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4e5GAaXbQeY/V1EzPohxiaI/AAAAAAAAj-g/TZvT7NtDqxY6RPj-2obgpCOWmKRS3Gf4gCLcB/s1600/hannah-and-samuel-drawing_1284268_inl.jpg
https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/images/magazines/ensign/2014/09/hannah-and-samuel-drawing_1284268_inl.jpg
https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/09/faith-and-fortitude-women-of-the-old-testament-part-2?lang=eng&clang=ase



Stoking her suspicions that he was a nut case in clergy frock, not that nutty clergy are or ever have been in short supply, he doesn't seem to realize how ridiculous what he is saying sounds to her.  This is what he said, though, "Go on and prepare your meal.  But first make a small loaf from what you have and bring it to me, and then prepare the rest for you and your son.  For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says; 'The bowl will not run out of flour or the jar run out of oil before the day that I, the LORD, send rain.'"



For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says; 'The bowl will not run out of flour or the jar run out of oil before the day that I, the LORD, send rain.'
PHOTO: For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says; 'The bowl will not run out of flour or the jar run out of oil before the day that I, the LORD, send rain.'
Stoking her suspicions that he was a nut case in clergy frock, not that nutty clergy are or ever have been in short supply, he doesn't seem to realize how ridiculous what he is saying sounds to her.
Picture posted by Barzilaiendan on 28 March 2012
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https://barzilaiendan.com/2012/03/28/arhivele-regale-2-ieroboam-sluga-fara-stapan-1-regi-131-1420/



At this early point in the story, we have learned at least three important lessons:  1) to be very careful about which clergy persons you trust; 2) that the widow and her son were at the point of starvation because there was an unrelenting drought in their land, not because God was punishing them; and 3) that God was already in the process of restoring the land to pre-drought conditions.  Until then, food items could not grow, and livestock could not be kept alive.  Even so, the widow took a chance that the preacher and his directive were legit, and what really did she have to lose anyway?



The widow took a chance that the preacher and his directive were legit. She was pushed to the end of her rope, doubts, and becomes stronger.
PHOTO: The widow took a chance that the preacher and his directive were legit. She was pushed to the end of her rope, doubts, and becomes stronger.
Painting by Bernardo Strozzi - "The Prophet Elijah and the Widow of Sarepta"
Posted by Heather@Women in the Scriptures on Wednesday, 17 September 2008 at 5:32 PM

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iuAC4bQ_1Fc/V1EzOJ9x5VI/AAAAAAAAj-M/IUYJdiBVzcsY8X8-2YMQhLRaDCzAHkm9QCLcB/s1600/baroque-elijah-widow.jpg
https://stbenedict.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/baroque-elijah-widow.jpg
http://www.womeninthescriptures.com/2008/09/widow-of-zarephath.html



Well, the woman was willing to share even though sharing for her would speed up immanent starvation for her and her son.  That’s some serious kind of sharing, don't you think?  What the prophet had promised her could easily have failed to come to pass.  Then he would have slickly swindled the widow and her son out of a third of all they had to eat in the world by claiming that God said he should have the first of the three wheat-cakes she cooked.   In this case, though, God rewarded the widow's generosity, so the story goes, and the first time she realized it was when the flour bowl and jar of oil that had been empty the night before were full and ready to become breakfast the next morning.  That phenomenon continued until the rains began, and the crops grew.


Then she and her son could grow and purchase the food supplies they needed to remain well fed.


God rewarded the widow's generosity.
PHOTO: God rewarded the widow's generosity. For the first time she realized it was when the flour bowl and jar of oil that had been empty the night before were full and ready to become breakfast the next morning. That phenomenon continued until the rains began, and the crops grew.  Then she and her son could grow and purchase the food supplies they needed to remain well fed.
Picture posted by Special People on 21 January 2016 - A Woman of Beauty
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http://adoptedbygod.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/eikon_1132_.jpg
http://adoptedbygod.net/?p=360



Lessons from this food story in Hebrew scripture at the end of the poignant, edgy tale.
Natural disasters are a part of human experience, and even those who consider themselves closely related to God are not exempt from the effects of such disasters.

1) God does not cause or allow natural disasters; neither does God take away nature's own self-healing capacities.
2) Prophets should be required to take pastoral care courses in seminary.
3) People with little or no financial resources before a natural disaster hits will be in even more vulnerable places once the effects of the disaster begin to be felt throughout the affected community.
4) Sharing by those with next to nothing may be rare, but not unheard of.
5) Finally, when a meal is served and a clergy person is present, the clergy person eats first. Amen.



Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?" (1 Kings 17:17-18)


Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill.
PHOTO: Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?" (1 Kings 17:17-18)
Picture posted by Grace Christian Online Website - Television gospel spiritual resources
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http://up.edzx.net/pic/2015/03/26/zZeiqUry.jpg?imageView/2/w/1028
http://www.edzx.com/pic/view/index/213/



"Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he cried out to the Lord, "Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?" Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, "Lord my God, let this boy's life return to him!" (1 Kings 17:19-21)



 'Give me your son,' Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed.
PHOTO: "Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, "Lord my God, let this boy's life return to him!" (1 Kings 17:19-21)
Picture posted by Goodsalt - Elijah Brings Boy Back to Life
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https://1920332912.rsc.cdn77.org/view/elijah-brings-boy-back-to-life-1-1-GoodSalt-prcas1089.jpg
http://www.goodsalt.com/details/prcas1089.html



The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!


Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.” (1 Kings 17:22-24)


The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house.
PHOTO: The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!

Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.” (1 Kings 17:22-24)
Picture posted by Jasiel Reyes Diaz on 08 August 2014
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Sharing by those with next to nothing may be rare, but not unheard of.
PHOTO: Sharing by those with next to nothing may be rare, but not unheard of.
"Dear Lord, we pray for Your help to strengthen us to help even though we feel that we do not have enough. Amen!"
Picture posted by Pacific Press, Goodsalt - Elijah is sent by God to widow of Zarephath
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Posted by Silverside Church Delaware (SERMONS FROM SILVERSIDE) on 15 July 2012



Reference

[1] When Sharing Means Starving (Third in Series, “Memorable Biblical Meals”), Posted by Silverside Church Delaware (SERMONS FROM SILVERSIDE) on 15 July 2012, https://sermonsfromsilverside.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/when-sharing-means-starving-third-in-series-memorable-biblical-meals/

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1 Kings 17:14 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+17%3A14&version=NIV

1 Kings 17:17-18 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+17%3A17-18&version=NIV

1 Kings 17:19-21 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+17%3A19-21&version=NIV


1 Kings 17:22-24 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+17%3A22-24&version=NIV