Today, I’ll be looking at three different passages of scripture. The main one will be 1 Kings 17. I’ll also discuss Luke 4 and Matthew 6. I’ll begin with Matthew 6.
Many times, a mother will ask herself, “What’s a mother to do?”
When our second child was about 2 years old, my wife was preparing a salad. She was tearing off the bits of lettuce that were browned and not edible. She heard a noise, turned around, and discovered our daughter eating the scraps. We panicked a little, but she was fine.
I heard of a mother who went into her child’s room and found that the child had “decorated” the walls with crayons. In a flash of insight, the mother grabbed an empty picture frame and framed the child’s artwork, and just left it there.
I want to tell you about a mother who was in dire straits. She was wondering what she was going to do.
25 “Therefore, I say to you, take no thought about your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they do not sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they? 27 Who among you by taking thought can add a cubit[a] to his stature? 28 “Why take thought about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: They neither work, nor do they spin. 29 Yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. 30 Therefore, if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is here and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore, take no thought, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 (For the Gentiles seek after all these things.) For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you. 34 Therefore, take no thought about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take thought about the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is the trouble thereof.
First Kings chapter 17 tells us about a woman who was in dire straits. The economy was very bad. She lived in ancient Israel. The time was after David the great king and his son Solomon. Solomon’s son Rehoboam was the successor. He went to the counselors and asked what he should do for the people. They gave him some good advice, telling him that his father had gotten pretty harsh in his old age. They recommended that Rehoboam help the people and they would love him forever.
However, he went to some younger people and was told that if he gave too much to the people, they would take advantage of him.
So he followed the counsel of the younger people and announced that things were about to get much more difficult under his reign. Ten of the 12 tribes decided they would not go along with that and left.
What had been a united kingdom was now split between the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom. The northern kingdom kept the name Israel. The southern kingdom went by Judah.
The prophets came and said that if they didn’t repent, they would be taken into captivity. That did happen later. The Assyrians came and took the northern tribes into captivity and they pretty much disappeared. You don’t hear about them much anymore. If you’ve heard of the “ten lost tribes of Israel”, it’s most likely about those tribes taken by the Assyrians.
What remained was Judah. Jerusalem was in that country. That’s where the main Jewish temple was. Assyria’s power began to wane, so Babylon came in and took Judah captive. So, in the end, they all wound up in captivity, just as the prophets had said.
Before the captivity, there was a series of kings. All the kings of the northern kingdoms, beginning with Rehoboam, rebelled against God. He created idols such as golden calves, for them to worship. In the Bible, it says that the nation continued to do evil in the sight of God.
The southern kingdom had a mix of both good and bad kings. King Ahab was known as the worst king ever. The mother in our story lived during his reign. There was a drought and famine in the land, so food was very scarce.
What’s A Mother to Do?
The mother’s problem was that she was alone. She had a son, but she was a widow. She was doing her best to make ends meet.
One day she was out gathering twigs for a fire. She had looked at her food supply and discovered that she had only enough left to make one meal for herself and her child.
Then a man of God came along. It seemed to the woman that it was just a chance encounter. In their culture, they were supposed to care for strangers and travelers. The man asked for a drink and the woman obliged. As she turned to get it, the man asked for a piece of bread as well. The woman was devastated. She told the traveler that she had enough supplies for one bit of bread for her and her son to eat and that they would then most likely starve to death.
You may think that this man of God took pity on the woman and told her to keep the bread for herself and her child. He did not. He told her to go ahead and make the bread and bring it to him when she brought the drink.
What’s a mother to do? She’s gotten instruction that seems to make no sense, and goes against her every instinct!
Sometimes, God does that with us. Sometimes while you’re reading the Bible, you will come across something that doesn’t seem to make sense. Why? Because we’re thinking in the ways of the world. We don’t know what the future holds, but God does.
The man of God was named Elijah. He gave the woman the instruction and she was supposed to follow it.
What’s a mother to do?
A mother, and everyone else, needs to have her ears attuned to hearing God speak to her. Keep your mind open when reading the Bible. If the Scriptures say it’s wrong, it’s wrong. No discussion is needed.
It doesn’t matter how you try to rationalize it, if it seems too harsh, or if it doesn’t make sense to you. If God says it’s wrong, it’s wrong!
Now, I do believe in a certain amount of tolerance. I won’t kill you for your opinion, and I certainly hope you won’t kill me for mine.
But today, there seems to be a movement that says, “I can have my opinion, but you can’t have your (BIblical based) opinion.” That’s not tolerance.
For me, on this Earth, the only one who can get me to change my opinion on Biblical matters is God.
Obedience and Miracles
Back to our mother: Elijah told her to do as she said, to make the bread for herself and her son, but first, bring him some of it. She was in a quandary. She wrestled with the idea of just leaving the man standing there instead of feeding him as he’d asked. She made the decision to do as he had asked.
She reached down into the flour barrel, and a few grains fell out of her hand. She thought maybe there was a little more than she had thought. Then she poured the oil and noticed she had a few more drops than she had realized. But there wasn’t enough to make another cake. She went ahead and made the cake and took it to Elijah.
Feeling hopeful, she reached back into the flour barrel and found that there was enough to make a cake (bread)for herself and her son. She discovered the same thing with the oil. That in itself was amazing.
The next day, however, she went back to check the supplies and found that there was enough flour and oil to feed them that day. The next day was the same, and the next, and the next! God provided for that widow and her son.
Luke 4:24-27 mentions the widow:
24 He also said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you truthfully, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were closed for three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land. 26 Yet to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, a city of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet. But none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
So out of all the people in need during that time, the one widow heard and obeyed, and was given a miracle. Why was it only her?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that God is good all the time. I know that the Apostle Paul had seen countless miracles. It’s called a miracle because it doesn’t happen all the time. If it happened all the time, it would just be something we expected. A miracle is when God does something unusual and supernatural. He did that for the widow.
What Are We to Do?
Now it comes to what are we to do?
We are to look for God and listen for God all the time in our lives. We are to watch for the miracles and when they happen, rejoice and testify about them.
Maybe you’re like Paul, who had an infirmity of the flesh. Three times he asked God to remove it from him, and probably thought He would, but God did not remove the infirmity. However, Paul continued to praise and serve the Lord.
Sometimes God does something miraculous, sometimes He doesn’t. But he told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
So what’s a mother to do? What’s a person to do when in dire straits?
First of all, you pray and look for God to work. When you see Him working, allow it to happen. But, you also need to trust God when you don’t understand what’s going on.
After the blessing of the flour and oil, the widow came to a point where she didn’t understand what was going on. After some time, her son became very ill. It looked like he was near death.
So the widow sent word to Elijah that her son was gravely ill. She asked if he was just going to continually remind her of her sin. She sarcastically spoke to Elijah. He ignored her sarcasm and asked that the child be brought to him. She carried her son to the prophet and he took him to an upper room and began to pray. Three times he asked God to bring the child’s soul back. After the third request, the child began to breathe again. Not only was he breathing, but he got up and was well.
She had trusted God with the food, and He provided. God had healed her son.
What’s a mother to do?
Listen to God to see where He’s going to work. Read and believe Scripture. Trust God in the everyday things of life.
The Final Action
There’s one other part of the mother and son’s story. It’s not written in 1 Kings 17 but I know that it happened. At some point, they both died. I believe that the woman trusted God, and at her death, she went to be with Him. I also like to think that she told her son the story as he grew, and he came to trust God as well. If he did, he also went to be with God in the end.
So, the most important thing that ANY person can do is to know that you know that if death comes your way, you’re ready to go and meet the Lord. It will be a wonderful thing for you. It will be a time of joy, with no pain or suffering.
What’s a mother to do? Trust God. Most of all, make sure you’re ready! How?
Believe in the promises that are in God’s Word. I’d be glad to show you some. You can contact me here and I can share them with you. I’m not asking if you’ve attended church, or even said a prayer once. Do you KNOW that you’re ready to meet God?