Pentecost 24B (1 Ki 17:8–16)

November 8, 2015
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That’s what John says in the opening verse of His Gospel, and today in our text from 1 Kings, we see this Word appear to Elijah. “The Word of Yahweh came to Elijah.” This isn’t some voice in Elijah’s head. The Word always needs a preacher, and the eternal Word preaches His own Word. The eternal Word, the Son of God Himself, before His incarnation, appears to Elijah and speaks. He says, “Arise, go to Zarephath and dwell there. I’ve commanded a widow there to provide for you.” Our faith is strengthened by this account of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath. Our faith is strengthened in Jesus not only because of what He says to Elijah but also because of Elijah’s preaching and the miracle the Triune Yahweh works in “Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon.” Through all of it we see one thing:


And when Jesus takes care of you,

(I.) He takes care of you physically,

but more importantly

(II.) He takes care of you spiritually.

(I. He takes care of you physically.)

Jesus takes care of you physically. Of course He does! That’s what He did not only for Elijah, but He also did it for “the widow and her household.” Through Elijah, His prophet and preacher, the Lord had caused a great drought in the land of Israel. But Yahweh wouldn’t abandon His prophet, after all, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” The Lord Jesus wasn’t going to muzzle Elijah through hunger, but He “commanded a widow there to provide” for him. So also He cared for that widow, even though she wasn’t an Israelite. For through His prophet and preacher, Elijah, Yahweh comforted her and said, “The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.” Through the power of His promise and Word, spoken through Elijah, He gives sustenance and life to this woman and her household, and through her He gives sustenance and life to Elijah.

What the Lord Jesus, the eternal Word, did for Elijah and the widow and her household, He does for you too! The One who taught you to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” is the One who also promises, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Yes, you are because Jesus, the Son of God, took on our flesh to die and rise for you. That’s precious. He will give you daily bread. You may not have luxury, but as Paul says, “having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” The Lord cares about your body. He created it. He sustains it. He gives it food and health and strength and life.

But what about when health and wellness escape you? What about when you’re sick? When death is knocking at your door? Well, then your comfort and joy is this: THE LORD JESUS TAKES CARE OF YOU. And

(II.) He takes care of you spiritually.

And that’s exactly what He did for Elijah and the widow. He didn’t leave Elijah to His own devices. The Word appeared to Elijah to preach this message: “Arise, go to Zarephath and dwell there. I’ve commanded a widow there to provide for you.” Elijah hears and cherishes this Word, and he goes to Zarephath. He doesn’t go as just some guy begging bread, but Elijah goes as a prophet of Yahweh, a preacher of righteousness. And in His sending Elijah, Yahweh cared for the widow and her household. He cared for Gentiles. He sent a preacher into their midst. As the Word would say after His incarnation, “I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.” The Lord sent His preacher there not to feed but to save this woman and her household!

Jesus cares for you spiritually. He’s sent His preacher to you. To tell you that Yahweh doesn’t hold your sins against you. That Jesus, the Christ, the Word, has died and risen, and for that reason: “The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty.” There is always more with the Lord. Our cup truly “runneth over.” The font overflows with His blessing and salvation. The chalice never runs dry with Jesus’ blood shed for you. The bread never fails to be His body given for you. These things are true and certain because of His Word of promise, and they hold true until He comes again.

THE LORD JESUS TAKES CARE OF YOU. He cared for Elijah and that widow and her household too! He delivers His Father’s daily bread to you. He cares for you physically. He also cares for you spiritually. That’s of greater worth. For when you are cared for spiritually by the Lord it means that nothing can physically get you down. Not forever. For the body which you have, something that Jesus cares deeply for, will be raised from the dead. Your “cup runneth over, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” That’s Jesus’ promise to you because He cares for you.


1 thought on “Pentecost 24B (1 Ki 17:8–16)

  1. “The Word of the Lord”- to Elijah, through him to the widow. It worked in her a faith like a child. Same to same the widow with her mites. All three lessons have the examples of God working through the weak and lowly. So much for all of us would be “God’s little helpers” and grand champion worriers.

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