With the price of living rising beyond our ability to sustain our families and households, we all feel the pressure of the current economy. Friends of mine are losing their homes. Single mothers I know are fearful of not being able to feed their children. An impending recession will mean layoffs for many. The scars of the pandemic are hurting us now more than ever, and it can be terrifying and overwhelming. But remember, we are believers in a God who is greater than all our problems.
I want to provide you some hope today with a couple of widowed women from the Bible who felt the squeeze we all feel right now but were blessed by a Father they call “Provider.”
The Widow of First Kings 17
During the time of a three-year drought, the prophet Elijah was sent by God to a widowed woman in Zarephath. When Elijah found her at the city gate, he asked for water and bread, but the woman said she only had “a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse” that she was going to use to bake one last cake to share with her son: “that we may eat it and die.” (1 Kings 17:12)
Elijah said told her to make the cake for her and her son, and to give a small piece to Elijah. “For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.” (1 Kings 17:14)
Through Elijah, God was telling this widowed woman that He was going to provide for her through the drought to save her life and her son’s life. That the oil and the meal wouldn’t run out until rain fell and the drought ceased.
“And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.” (1 Kings 17:16)
The meal and oil never ran out because God never failed His widowed daughter and her son.
The Widow of Second Kings 4
The wife of a deceased servant of the Lord’s prophets cried out, “Thy servant my husband is dead…and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.” (2 Kings 4:1)
The widow’s husband had owed a debt he did not repay before death, and the burden then fell on his wife. A burden she could not bear because she had no money and nothing to offer the creditor except her two sons who would be taken as captives.
The prophet Elisha, who was among the prophets that the woman’s husband had served, asked her, “How can I help you? Tell me what you have in your house.” (2 Kings 4:2, paraphrased)
The widow had nothing but a pot of oil. Elisha told her to go to her neighbors and borrow lots of vessels and to bring them home. He said, “When you and your sons come home, shut the door and pour oil into all the vessels and set them aside when they are full.” (2 Kings 4:4, paraphrased)
“And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.” (2 Kings 4:6)
She had poured that single pot of oil into all the vessels she had acquired until she had no more vessels to fill. And when she told this to Elisha, he said, “Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.” (2 Kings 4:7)
When the widow of First Kings 17 was ready to give up and die knowing all her resources were dried up (literally) and she had no way to provide for her son, God delivered her from starvation by turning what little she had into more than enough to sustain her.
And when the widow of Second Kings 4 didn’t know how she was going to afford to save her sons, God delivered her from her financial bondage.
When all hope is lost, we can see through these two widows that God provides for His children.
Whatever squeeze you’re feeling today, cry out to the Lord for supplication. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Fear nothing. Pray for everything.
When faith is your primary resource, God the provider is your hope and relief in uncertain circumstances.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:19
Encouraging songs of God’s provision: