There was a great famine in the land due to a drought. The prophet Elijah had been instructed by the Lord to find a certain widow in Zarephath who would supply him with food. But when Elijah found her and asked for bread, she told him she had only enough flour and oil to feed herself and her son for the very last time. Elijah then said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But make a small cake of bread for me first.” In other words, “Before you feed your loved ones, I want you to trust God and feed me first.” Elijah was asking the widow to stretch her faith farther than it had ever been stretched before. He was challenging her to put her faith in God for the family’s provisions…no matter how long the famine lasted. He reassured her that by trusting God the jar of flour and jug of oil wouldn’t run dry…and they miraculously didn’t. Oh, to have the faith of that widow! Her eyes only saw a handful of flour and a dribble of oil left…but yet she bravely stepped out in faith, trusting God to provide for her family.
God had been very specific to Moses on where and how to sacrifice offerings to Him. (Leviticus 17:3-5) But the people had fallen into the habit of worshiping at the high places of false gods instead…and it became Israel’s pitfall. Even King Solomon became too comfortable and apathetic about where he worshiped God…for it tells us in I Kings 3:3, “Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.” By using the altars of false gods, the Jewish people were unwittingly incorporating and melding deceptive ideology into their worship of the one true God.
Solomon asked God for a discerning heart and the wisdom to distinguish between right and wrong and God was pleased. (I Kings 3:9-10) For Solomon wasn’t asking for the superficial or trivial, or things that had no eternal significance…he was asking for wisdom. I once worked with a Doctor who started calling me Prudence. When I asked why, he stated it was how I conducted myself dealing with patients and that he appreciated my common sense and prudent approach. When you ask God for wisdom, understanding, discretion, and His Will in your life… He happily will oblige. (James 1:5)
In this verse, Elijah had just fled from Jezebel and her death threats into the desert. There in his fear and exhaustion, he prayed for the Lord to take his life. When suddenly a message carrier for the Lord appeared…not with some great vision or even an explanation of this predicament Elijah found himself in. Rather, the angel simply told him to eat, drink, and then sleep. Over the course of my 36 year Nursing career I’ve seen it happen way too many times…a patient is either critically ill or dying, but it’s the spouse’s or caregiver’s health that deteriorates. When we’re in crisis, we forget to do the ordinary things. We forget to get adequate nutrition…we don’t think to drink water…we don’t get enough rest. And the result is a caregiver with downward spiraling health. Care for the caregiver has become a focus for the Health Care Community, and something I advocated for wherever I worked. So if you find yourself a caregiver, please remember to treat yourself kindly, take time for yourself, and do the ordinary things. For you’ll be of no help to your loved one if you’re in the hospital.
I once worked for a Doctor who gave me the nickname, Prudence…of which I was very happy with! For I’d much rather be known for my good judgment rather than careless and unwise decisions. All wisdom and abilities we have, find their source in God…and a reverent attitude towards Him is the start of all discernment and discretion…for all understanding resides in our hearts.
He’s a promise keeping God. If He’s said it…He’ll do it. He’s also a faithful and trustworthy God…He will never go back on His promises. Have you trusted Him for something lately? Not just saying it, but really standing on His Word and believing? That kind of faith building strengthens our walk and allows us to rely on Him more. And as we come to rely on Him more, our love for Him grows, and so does our trust.