1 Kings 17:8-16 (NRSV)
Verse 8Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Verse 9"Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you." Verse 10So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, "Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink." Verse 11As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, "Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand." Verse 12But she said, "As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die." Verse 13Elijah said to her, "Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. Verse 14For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth." Verse 15She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. Verse 16The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.
The theme this week is hope and faith—hope and faith that the Lord will provide. Hope is a word that we use often. But how often do we ground our hope in our faith? We who rely so much on scientific facts often dismiss faith and hope. How would each of us react if a prophet asked us to feed him or her with our last amount of food, knowing that we had a hungry child to feed as well? The woman whom Elijah visits appears to have already given up hope of survival. Maybe she felt that one day would not make much difference. In this case, one day did make a difference. Elijah’s arrival and her trust in him meant that she and her son survived. Elijah’s first words to her were not to be afraid. Jesus’ words to us are the same. Do not be afraid. Hold on to your faith and to your hope.
Lord let us remember you and place our faith and hope in your love for us now and your promise of salvation when our human lives have ended. Let us also remember and rely on the help you give us each day here and now. Amen.