Today's Reading: 1 Kings 17:8-16
"I go in and prepare [bread] for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die." (1 Kings 17:12 )
The widow of Zarephath has seemingly unshakeable confidence — in her impending doom. Without a doubt, she and her son are going to eat their last meal and then sit at home until they starve to death. If she gives anything to the prophet, nothing will change except they' ll probably die a few hours sooner.
While familiar with Israel' s religion, she' s probably not a believer, for she speaks of "the Lord your God" to Elijah. She' s done nothing to prepare to receive His blessing, nothing to earn daily bread for herself and her son.
We are similarly unable to properly prepare our hearts to receive God and cannot earn His smallest favor. Yet the same God who "sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45) also sent His Son into the world to rain forgiveness, life, and salvation upon fallen, undeserving mankind.
Like Elijah with the widow, so the Holy Spirit barges in on us, demanding through God' s Word, holiness and absolute faith in Jesus. Like the widow, we' re incapable of responding for we do not possess the means. Yet what comes as a command also comes as a gift: The widow baked and discovered that flour and water were restored. We cling to Christ and discover forgiveness and faith without end.
Through nature and our fellow man, God provides daily bread to the world, often granting fuller measure than we need. In the Gospel, He gives sin-starved souls the Bread of Life while at the Lord' s Supper, Christ feeds His Church His own body as bread and His blood as drink. Thus we are fed for this life and the life to come.
He who to this day has fed me And to many joys has led me Is and ever shall be mine. He who ever gently schools me, He who daily guides and rules me Will remain my help divine. (LSB 732:2)
Registration for the 2013 Higher Things Conferences, From Above, is now open! Register today at fromabove2013.org.
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.