The Flour and Oil in Your Cupboard
But she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.” Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the face of the earth.’” – 1 Kings 17:12-14
I think we all would admit that many families around us these days are dealing with these strenuous economic times. Inflation, unemployment, and gas prices are all up while the stock market, spending, and personal morale are down. People do not have to look too far to see the residual effects of our nation’s economic recession. But unfortunately, it seems that many Christians today do not see the benefits of a bad economy. I truly believe that the Lord permits tough economic times to strengthen our faith in Him. In times of economic instability, He desires for us even the more to take our eyes off our “supply” and place our eyes on the “supplier.” He is always faithful to supply our every need, and Christians are to see their heavenly Father as the supplier of everything they have (Philippians 4:19). The bottom line is this; no matter how severe an economic crisis might be, it must be viewed as part of God’s economic strategy. Nothing happens without God’s permission and His eternal purposes in mind.
In our text above, we read about a widow who the prophet Elijah met. Prior to their meeting, Elijah, serving as a messenger for almighty God, had pronounced a drought across the land. And as God’s pronouncements are always true, a physical drought undoubtedly came. But this drought did not simply impact the ecology, it also impacted the economy. The widow and her son lived together, and the drought had taken a toll on the two of them financially. All they had in their cupboard was a handful of flour and a little jar of oil. By the time Elijah met the widow-woman, her plans were to use the little bit of flour and oil to make bread for she and her son, and then die (1 Kings 17:12). Things looked so bleak, the widow assumed that she and her son would end up starving to death! She was literally mentally preparing herself to accept the fact that death was just around the corner. But Elijah brings a message of hope to the widow and her son. He instructs her to go ahead with her baking plans, but first, bake him a bread cake. Then afterwards, she can make bread cakes for herself and her boy. At first glance, someone might accuse Elijah of selfishness or even taking advantage of a widow woman. But as bizarre these instructions may sound to us, they were God’s instructions. And these were instructions with a promise. The bread and oil would never run out until the severe drought across the land is over. She followed his instructions, and as the Lord promised, the flour and oil never ran dry during the drought.
God knows and understands the economy better than any of the bankers in New York, any of the traders at Wall Street or even the political pundits out of Washington. And He knows every detail of your family’s financial situation as well. God wants to take your “flour and oil” and do a miracle in your home. Just like the feeding of the five-thousand, God wants to multiply whatever resources you have to make them go further. Don’t be fearful about the economy. Instead, faithfully respond to God’s promises by handing over to Him the “flour and oil” in your cupboard!
– Pastor Eric