Empty Jars

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God, through Elijah, proclaimed a three year drought. To protect His prophet from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, God hid Elijah by a small brook and provided takeout via Raven Express. Now, the brook is dry too. So God sends Elijah to the beach to a poor widow from Zarephath. Only God neglected to give the widow a heads up.

“So he(Elijah) went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

“As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel says, ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.’”(I Kings 17:10-14 NIV)

Here it is. A call to choose: what she wants vs. what God wants. God says feed my guy; her mother’s instinct says my boy is hungry. This poor widow in Zarephath has every right to tell this crazy old prophet to get lost. This is their last meal—one piece of bread—and then they will starve. Note how she refers to God: the LORD your God.

Yet, for some reason, she obeys. She gives away their last bite of food.

And a miracle happens. The jar and the jug are full.

God calls us to give up our right to ourselves. He wants us to zero in on one choice only—His. What shape has your call taken? Talk to the kid everyone ignores? Not cuss when the guys in the locker room do? Cut off the gossip before it starts? Tithe? Take turns with your sibling? Give your husband ten minutes before sharing the kids with him? Return the favor for your wife?

Our call may come one hundred times a day. Look to the One calling and remember, He will keep the jar full.

Questions:

Reread the passage. What stands out?

What would you have done in her shoes? What do you think her reaction was when the jars didn’t empty?

Did Elijah’s God ever become her God? What kind of discussions might she and Elijah have?

How do you think Elijah felt? God sent him to a Gentile woman. By Jewish law, Elijah shouldn’t be in her house. What rights did Elijah give up?

What is God calling you to choose? Do you think He will come through for you?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Empty Jars

  1. did i tell you…i love this.

    Russell E. Veitenheimer Novartis Pharmaceuticals Fort Worth District Senior Area Business Leader

  2. did i tell you…i love this.

    Russell E. Veitenheimer Novartis Pharmaceuticals Fort Worth District Senior Area Business Leader