I was reading 1 Kings 17 this morning… I’m not sure why, anyway, this is the story of the widow who feeds Elijah – the one whose bread and oil don’t dry up.
A few commentaries that Google produced talked pretty much about the ‘faith’ of the widow. Which is the story as I’ve pretty much always thought about it. I’m not sure this is entirely a story about ‘great faith’.
The widow is obedient, she is commanded by God (prior to Elijah getting there) to feed this guy. Then this miraculous never ending food supply thing happens. THEN her son gets sick and dies. Elijah beseeches God on her behalf and the son lives and that’s when we get this:
“Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”
This doesn’t seem like she had great confidence prior? It seems she was just getting by but wasn’t quite convinced it was God at work? (no?). Obedient yes? Great faith… not so sure?
This widow was given food when she was starving (one form of life) and then her son was given actual life (breath).
So do you then take a story like this metaphorically or at least in a messianic pointing sense and go with the widow as ‘us’, Elijah representing Jesus and there you have us: being sustained with food, and then Jesus advocating on our behalf and bringing actual life – a story of heaven – now but not yet?
or I’m a heretic. Perhaps she had great faith in God, just not in men… which is a whole other can of worms.