We have a society that’s obsessed with individualism. Our idols are still working within our hearts to displace God from the rightful place he deserves. There’s no gentle introduction to Elijah. If this was all about Elijah, we’d expect a back story. Instead there’s a different emphasis. What is mighty is the reality of God’s word working through the unlikely to bring about his plans.
Obedience is hard. It doesn’t matter if the instruction is important. God preserved Elijah. He delivered God’s message to the King. It’s clear that it was the Lord preserving him. He was confident in him so he continued to be obedient, following what God had told him to do. A widow wasn’t the most likely candidate to provide. Somehow Elijah remains obedient and through it, an unbelieving widow shows faith. God demonstrates his faithfulness and provision.
We lose sight of the reality of the bigger picture. We can be confident that he has a plan for us. It’s not ours. At the end, God’s work will be finished and we will meet him. It’s hard to grasp. We shouldn’t expect to find life easy. We can be confident that God is in control. He’ll continue to provide what we need, even when it’s not what we expect. When we get frustrated, it’s because he’s not providing the things we want. It’s the desire for those things that crowds God out.
The widow is in dire straits. She helps a stranger. With only a small understanding of who God is, she demonstrates her faith by giving Elijah the little food she has. God responds with both grace and mercy, by bringing her son back to life. God’s love for the outsider is still the same today. We need to protect ourselves from becoming complacent and thinking God’s word is only for people like us. God’s love is for all people, no matter who they are or what they do. All he asks is that they put their faith in him. We can be encouraged to honour him and know that what we do doesn’t change our standing with him.