Friday, April 18, 2014

1 Kings 15-17 The jar was not spent

From 1 Kings 15-17

1 Ki 15.1-8; Abijam; Jeroboam; Abijam Reigns in Judah
1 Ki 15.9-24; Asa; Jeroboam; Asa Reigns In Judah
1 Ki 15.25-32; Asa; Nadab; Nadab Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 15.33-16.7; Asa; Baasha; Baasha Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 16.8-14; Asa; Elah; Elah Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 16.15-20; Asa; Zimri; Zimri Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 16.21-28; Asa; Omri; Omri Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 16.29-34; Jehoshaphat; Ahab; Ahab Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 17.1-7; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Elijah; Elijah Predicts a Drought
1 Ki 17.8-16; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Elijah; The Widow of Zarephath
1 Ki 17.17-24; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Elijah; Elijah Raises the Widow’s Son

Passage and Comments
The book of kings tends to follow the kings of Israel more than Judah. When each king is introduced the author gives a short summary of how he stands with the LORD. For example;
15 Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 3 And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father. (1 Ki 15:1–3)

9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah, 10 and he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 11 And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done. (1 Ki 15:9–11)

33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha the son of Ahijah began to reign over all Israel at Tirzah, and he reigned twenty-four years. 34 He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin which he made Israel to sin. (1 Ki 15:33–34)

10 In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned sixteen years. 11 He also did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin, but he walked in them. (2 Ki 13:10–11)
More often than not, the kings do evil in the sight of the LORD.

Following Jeroboam on Israel’s side we eventually get to Ahab. Ahab is described in more detail than the others because of the idolatry he encouraged in Israel and the prophet who spoke out against him. The prophet is Elijah. Elijah is about to pronounce a drought on Israel because of her unfaithfulness to the LORD. They should take notice and repent, but they dont.
17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” 2 And the word of the LORD came to him: 3 “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. (1 Ki 17:1–6)
Following his condemnation of Israel Elijah leaves. Like the rest of Israel he may fall into trouble. Without rain there will be neither water to drink, nor food to eat. He like the people will starve and die. But the LORD provides for him in a series of encounters. In the first above, Elijah finds a brook that still has water. The LORD commands birds to bring him food. Can you imagine what it would be like to have birds come and feed you bread and meat like this?
7 And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” (1 Ki 17:7-12)
The second place where the LORD provides for Elijah is in a foreigners home. Jesus will later note Elijah was sent here because of Israel's unfaithfulness (Lk 4.26). The widow is in trouble herself.
13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘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.’ ” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah. (1 Ki 17:13–16)
Through Elijah’s coming, the LORD gets to provide for them both. The LORD makes use of the little she offers to provide much much more for them both.

Story of Israel
The LORD has provided for Israel in the past. Food, water and spiritual nourishment. It is a sign of the times that the LORD has stopped providing Israel with food and water. It is because they have turned their back on his spiritual nourishment. His very word. Remember their wilderness wanderings and the command the LORD gave them?
8 “The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, (Dt 8:1–7)
Unfortunately it seems Elijah is all that is left providing Israel with spiritual nourishment in bringing the word of the LORD to them. But they have rejected him and the LORD. Thus they experience not only a famine of food and water, but of the LORD's word. But the LORD is faithful, he will not let this continue.

Story of Jesus
The LORD eventually provides the world with the true bread. The Hebrews were sustained by manna and the word of the LORD. Elijah, the widow and her son were provided for with bread and oil. After both of these came the Christ, Jesus.
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (Jn 6:25–35)
Has the LORD provided for you? Give thanks.