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Posts Tagged ‘the widow of Zarephath’


1 & 2 Kings: Some Left Over – Part III

Elijah Fed by Ravens

Elijah Fed by Ravens

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

When we study the stories of Elijah and Elisha we find that with their miracles of sustenance for the marginalized there is always something left over. Their acts of mercy foreshadow Jesus’ acts of mercy in the New Testament.

Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath: In 1 Kings 17 Elijah predicts a great drought. He moves east to rest, as God recommends, and rests near a stream where ravens bring him bread and meat. After a time the water dries up and so Elijah follows God’s voice as it counsels him to move to another place to stay with a particular widow. What follows when the prophet resides with her is a story that gives us counsel about what we might do when we find ourselves searching for solutions to problems that for us are enormous, but that for God are quite ordinary. When we use the scripture link to explore different versions of this story, we find that solutions to our own dilemmas appear – and we also find that when God provides, there is always something left over to share with others.

Aert de Gelder: Elisha and the Widow of the Prophet

Aert de Gelder: Elisha and the Widow of the Prophet

Elisha, the Widow’s Oil, and the Multiplication of Loaves: In 2 Kings 4 Elisha helps the widow of a God-fearing man whose creditors want to take his two children as slaves in payment for an unpaid debt. Miracles follow when Elisha follows God’s advice. Later in this chapter we see the renewal of life through resurrection, and transformation of a poisoned stew. More miracles follow in subsequent chapters and again, comparing varying versions of these stories using the scripture link brings us a fresh perspective of stories we may have heard many times. Ultimately, the message remains . . . when God provides, there is always something left over.

Tomorrow . . . Matthew’s story of the loaves and fish.


Images from: https://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/elijah-fed-by-ravens/ and https://agnes.queensu.ca/explore/collections/object/elisha-and-the-widow-of-the-prophet-pouring-the-flasks-of-oil/

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Tobit 3: Seek Consolation – Death

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet: The Raising of Lazarus

We have sought consolation from paralysis, blindness and deafness. We have looked for peace when we are speechless or plagued by possession. Today we reflect on how we might seek comfort in the face of death or deep loss.

We know the stories of those Jesus raised from the dead while he walked among us as human: his friend Lazarus, the widow of Nain’s son, the synagogue leader Jairus’ daughter. We also know the story of how, through the intercession of the risen Christ, Peter brought Tabitha/Dorcas back from death, and Paul called back Eutychus. When we look at the Old Testament, we remember that Elijah restored life to the widow of Zarephath’s son, and Elisha to the Shunammite woman’s son. And perhaps most importantly, we know that Christ has the power to return each of us to eternal life once we leave this earthly one.

Henry Thomson: The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter

All of this reflection on restoration speaks to our desire to overcome death. It exemplifies our hope that deep loss is not permanent. And it resonates with our expectation that Christ’s love for each of us calls all of us to union with him . . . out of certain death and into certain life. In this holiest of seasons when we celebrate the coming of Jesus to the world, we return to one more story of restoration. The story of Tobit and Sarah.

I have always turned to this Book when I am in the middle of a hopeless situation, when the circumstances in which I find myself offer absolutely no anticipation of salvation for myself or for someone I hold dear.  Each time I spend time with these verses, I come away refreshed by the themes the story offers: healing, restoration, desperate prayers made, and desperate prayers answered.  There are soap-opera elements, cliff-hanging events. There are people focused on money, power and sex; yet, over all of these forces, love holds sway.  And it is the only place in the Bible where Raphael is featured.  He is, indeed, so important that the story cannot take place without him.

James Tissot: The Raising of the Son of the Widow of Nain

So why does this archangel visit these characters disguised as a traveler? How does he bring them hope, rebirth and transformation? What is the attitude of each character before God the Creator? And what might we take away from the lessons laid out here?

If we have to read the whole of Tobit today, let us do so. If not, let us focus on Chapter 3. Tomorrow a Prayer for Death . . . and Birth.

Adapted from a reflection written during Advent 2007.

For a quick re-cap of the Old and New Testament resurrection stories above, visit: https://www.gotquestions.org/raised-from-the-dead.html

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