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The Blessings of Obedience

1 Kings 17:8-16 (ESV)

8Then 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.” 10So 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.” 11And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”

12And 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.” 13And 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.

14For 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.’” 15And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16The 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.


Sometimes God’s calling of obedience in an area of our lives seems like it come at the worst possible time. I recall the first time I felt the Holy Spirit’s nudging me to begin giving of my finances. At that time in my life, giving away any money seemed like an impossibility. Yet somehow, miraculously, each month when I made the decision to give my first income back to Him, the books always balanced just right.

One of my favorite teachers and pastors, Dr. Dick Fothe, defines “love” as: “The accurate estimate and the adequate supply of a person’s need.”  I have pondered that definition for years. By that estimation, I fear that I am incapable of truly “loving” anyone or anything very well. However, Dr. Fothe points out that God is the only one who is able to truly “love up” to this high standard. In other words, God so accurately estimated every need a person would ever have, that He supplied the world with His Son, who by His death and resurrection, perfected our existence.

Do you trust that God loves you perfectly, and that you should follow steps of obedience even when the timing doesn’t make sense? In today’s reading, we see an act of giving that required quite a bit of faith and obedience on the part of the widow. God coordinated this miracle, and Elijah probably had a good idea that everything would work out because God told him, “I have commanded a widow [in Zarephath] to feed you” (verse 9). However, from the poor widow’s perspective, the timing just did not make sense.

In this case, the widow’s obedience yielded precisely what she needed, just as God promised.
We can always trust that God’s timing and plan are perfect, and that His love for us will always make up the balance.  

You see, God has no need for money, or even time. After all, He created time, and our economical weights and measures are a pittance compared to His eternal substance. What God does ask of us is our obedience, even when the timing doesn’t line up, and even when we don’t understand.

Action Step

Is there any area of your life where you think God is calling you to be obedient? What is one way you can actively acknowledge this calling and take action on that obedience step?

Father, my perfect provider, I trust You with my life. I know that Your love for me is absolute and that Your timing is always perfect, even when it doesn’t make sense to me. Help me to practice obedience. Help me to exercise my faith in a new way by sacrificing my time, my attention, or my finances, so that Your kingdom is advanced. Amen.

“Love: Unconquered - Dr. Dick Foth.” n.d. National.Cc. Accessed February 19, 2024. https://national.cc/assets/uploads/files/Love_Unconquered.pdf.