Sunday, September 12, 2010
I Kings 17:8-16 15th Sunday after Trinity
And it occurred, the Word of Yahweh to him (Elijah) saying, "Rise, walk to Zarephath, which is in Sidon, and stop there; look I have ordered there a widow woman to provide all your food." And he rose, and he walked to Zarephath, and he came to the gate of the city, and look there, a widow woman gathering sticks. And he called to her, and he said, "Bring, please, to me a little water in a vessel, and I may drink." And she was walking to get, and he called to her and he said, "Bring, please, to me a piece of bread in your hand." And she said, "Life of Yahweh your God, if there is to me a supply, for if a full palm of flour in a pot and a little oil in a jug, and look, I am gathering two sticks and I will go in and I will prepare for me and for my son, and we will eat, and we will die." And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go, prepare as you have spoken, however, prepare for me from there a little cake first, and bring it to me, and for you and for your son you prepare afterward. For so says Yahweh, God of Israel, ‘The pot of flour will not be consumed, and the jug of oil will not be lacking, until the day Yahweh gives rain on the face of the earth." And she walked and she prepared according to the word of Elijah, and they ate, she and he and her house for days. And the pot of flour was not exhausted, and the jug of oil was not lacking, according to the Word of Yahweh which He spoke in the hand of Elijah.
God provides. We all know this. The Lord provides. This truth has sometimes become almost a trite, pithy statement that people offer during times of need. But it's still true. Jesus provides! Often when it seems like the darkest moment of your life, your Savior is there providing whatever you need. It may appear as though nothing good is forthcoming from God, but He keeps His promise to provide you your daily bread for this world's living, and He adds to that the promises which provide for even more!
Now, things looked pretty bleak for Elijah. Wicked King Ahab had married nasty gal named Jezebel from the foreign land of Lebanon. They persecuted prophets like Elijah, killing most of them. Then a drought comes into the land, and Elijah is spared certain death as God leads him to a brook and provides food for him through ravens. Then God throws a curve-ball at Elijah. He tells him to go to Lebanon, that nasty land Jezebel came from, where God would provide his next meals.
"Of course", you consider at first, "Elijah should trust God and go where He's promised to feed him." But I'm sure it wasn't so easy for Elijah. Picking up and going to a foreign land, trusting God to provide for him there during a great drought? Not so easy. But Elijah trusted that God would provide just as He had promised, and went to the home of the widow of Zarephath. Even there, he continued to trust God could provide, even though her pantry was almost completely bare. And God did provide!
Well, how about yourself? Do you readily, and willingly go where God has promised to provide for you? Quite often, you don't. Do you come faithfully to hear God's word proclaimed each Sunday & holiday from the pulpit? Do you also faithfully attend the bible classes offered here, and do you bring your children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews to Sunday School, so that all of God's family here may be taught from God's Word of truth and be equipped to fend off the devil's temptations?
Do you want to come to the Lord's Table *every Sunday and holiday* for the spiritual nourishment of Christ's Body and Blood? "Well, I'm not sure I'm ready for that..." some of you are probably thinking. Every Sunday communion may seem like foreign territory to us... And do you take opportunity for private confession & absolution, as you learned in the Catechism, so that you may regularly hear God's absolute forgiveness from the Pastor as from Christ Himself? "I'm not doing that!" you think.
But why not come often to receive these gifts God has promised to you? Just because it's outside of your personal comfort zone to do so? It was surely uncomfortable for Elijah to cross the border into hostile territory during a dangerous drought. But he acted not on his personal feelings, but in faith, trusting God's promises each step of the way. So too are you blessed to walk even more often to the Lord's Table to receive the body of Christ given for you, and His blood shed at Calvary for your life!
And you are blessed to come to bear your soul whenever it is heavy with guilt, to hear the wonderful words of forgiveness, that you are set free from your sin, from death, and from the power of the devil! For Jesus promises to provide more than just for your daily bread here and now. He delivers Himself as the Bread of Life at the Cross, and in Word and Sacrament, He feeds you unto your life everlasting! Amen
Hymns for Today from LSB:
#726 Evening and Morning
#760 What God Ordains is Always Good
#719 I Leave All Things to God's Direction