The Widow’s Obedience
BY: Archbishop Sir Dr. Godfrey Gregg
This morning I want to speak to you from the Book of 1 Kings Chapter 17. I trust your hearts will be opened to receive this word and helps to restore or renew your faith in the Lord. All scripture is given by inspiration, and we learn it is profitable to us. So as I speak to you this morning let the Lord have His way and please open your hearts.
And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah. 1 Kings 17: 16
Ahab had become king of Israel, the land of the northern tribes. He “did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him” (1 Kings 16: 30). Elijah the prophet, the Tishbite, of Gilead, confronted Ahab telling him that there would be a drought: “there shall not be dew or rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1). Yesterday I told you in my email that it takes one to get the message and so I am continuing this path.
Then Elijah obeyed the Lord and went and stayed by the Brook Cherith. It was here that ravens brought Elijah bread and meat. But then, as there had been no rain in the land the brook dried up. Then the Lord sent Elijah up north to the region of Sidon. You will be amazed at the things God does to get His message across. Please follow along with me and keep your hearts open. For now, this website is my pulpit and I will use it to minister.
So, Elijah travelled northward to the city of Zarephath. The Lord had told him a widow there would provide for him. When Elijah arrived at the gate of the city he observed something quite troubling: a poor widow gathering sticks. Instead of inquiring why she gathered sticks or offering assistance, Elijah asked her to do something for him: “bring me a little water in a cup that I may drink.” As the window went to get the water, Elijah had another task for her: “please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” A poor woman, with confirmation from God, walked in obedience and without questioning she obeyed.
This widow was destitute. She was at the end of her life. She explained her predicament to Elijah that all she had was a little flour and oil. She gathered sticks that she may prepare the flour and oil so she and her son may eat and then die. In these direst of circumstances, her focus was upon helping herself and her son and not Elijah or anyone else. This is quite understandable given the emergent nature of the situation.
But Elijah persisted, saying “make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterwards, make some for yourself and your son.” As the Word says, the widow went and did as Elijah commanded. She made the cake and served Elijah first. You see God must be first in your life and everything we do; Here Elijah represents God to the widow. The church is poor and representing the widow.
Miraculously, because she obeyed the Lord’s prophet the widow and her household ate for many days. “The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.”
And so we now turn to look and the deeper spiritual realities living within the Lord’s Word. From the Heavenly Doctrine, we learn that Elijah represents the Lord as to the Word. We know without a doubt that it is the Lord’s Word that teaches us about the Lord and the life we should live. I hope you get this understanding of the word. It is not what we do but what the word says. Ministers must walk in accordance and obedience with the word of God.
The Lord told His followers “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6: 56). However, because they did not understand what the Lord meant, many of His followers turned away. When the Lord asked His disciples if they also wanted to go away Peter answered “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6: 68). Are we going to take a position like Peter this morning? To who Lord shall we go. Archbishop where shall I go when we are making a difference? Archbishop we have come too far now to turn back for the truth has been revealed and the Mystical powers are among us.
Elijah represents the Lord’s Word with us. Our task is to open our hearts and minds to receive the Lord’s love and His truths. This is the meaning of eating His flesh (which is His good) and drinking His blood (which is His truth).
In his morning message, we see that Elijah travelled to Zarephath of Sidon to a widow. As taught in the Lord’s Word of the Heavenly Doctrine, Zarephath of Sidon represents knowledge of good and truth while a widow means a person who has good and a desire for truth. What we can make of this? As long as we are striving to become good people and our hearts are sincere, the Lord will always teach us. He will come to us with His Word, opening the understanding of our eyes to see. Hallelujah
As the Lord said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7: 7-8). But for this to become possible for us we must be like the widow. We must be receptive to the word of God. Not one foot in and the rest of the body out. This is serious business in this hour and Mystical children take heed.
In the natural sense, the widow is a woman whose husband has died. Yet, in the spiritual sense, as mentioned, a widow is a person who has good and at the same time a desire for truth. The widow within us takes form in our willingness to live a good life. While we are so disposed to be good people, living a heavenly life, we also want to know-how. Our desire is to learn from the Lord. That is the hope.
But like the widow, we must be willing to give water to Elijah. We must be willing to give to the Lord. I tell you today that the widow giving water to Elijah represents obedience along with the desire that good has for truth. In other words, if we want to know and understand the truth we must be willing to obey the Lord. We must trust that the Lord will enlighten us with His truth as long as we are willing to do what His commandments teach us. My brothers and sisters, we cannot be in church today and in the world tomorrow. You may well take the world and give me all of Jesus.
An important event in this morning message is the widow’s obedience to Elijah. He asked her for water and a morsel of bread. At first, she seemed reluctant to comply. In her hour of need, she was destitute and had resolved in her mind that she would die. But she quickly yielded to Elijah. She served Him first. I am not asking you to serve me but give to the Lord all of your heart.
The widow served Elijah a cake of bread. Again we turn to the Lord’s Word. The Heavenly Doctrine teaches that flour is the truth that a person derives from doing good.
The oil represents the good of love. Like the widow, our life must be one of making a cake from oil and bread. The cake made from oil and bread is truth conjoined with good. In simple terms, the bread represents the body of Christ and the oil the Spirit of truth. This will I do my dying Lord I must remember Thee.
From this, we can know that we must join the truth with the good that we do. Joining truth with good is more than an abstraction. An abstraction without some action is empty. In other words, we can join the truth with good only by doing what is good. There is no other way to see the truth than by doing what is good. As I tell you oftentimes, “truth is seen because of its end in view, which is good, or what amounts to the same, life”. Living a good life is the prerequisite for seeing the truth.
Therefore our life must be characterized by making a cake and giving it to Elijah. In simple terms, our life must be characterized by doing what is good so that the Lord can continue helping us to see many of the wonderful ways to live a good life. The Lord can and will help us to see the many opportunities, as they arise, to truly do what is useful. Then as long as we sincerely seek to do what is good, something miraculous can happen for us.
After the widow obeyed Elijah “the bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.” As is our custom we turn to the Lord’s Word to instruct us in the deeper spiritual reality for the salvation of our souls. His Heavenly Doctrine tells us that the oil and flour not running out represents being “enriched with the good of truth”. So in plain terms, it is from doing what is good that the Lord can enrich our understanding to see the truth. With assurance, we may conclude that truth is seen from doing what is good.
In our New Testament lesson, we see the Lord feeding the multitude of five thousand people. The Lord took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted
(John 6: 11). From the Heavenly Doctrine, we learn that in the spiritual sense, to eat and drink means to nourish oneself spiritually; to eat means to acquire good and to drink means to acquire truth.
In the same manner, like the five thousand people who ate as much as they wanted, we can do the same. The Lord continues offering food; the bread is His goodness and the fish is His truths about how we should live. We can have as much as we want.
The Lord crossed the Sea of Galilee. When He reached the other side a multitude of people numbering five thousand followed Him up onto the mountain. He fed them bread and fish, “as much as they wanted.” The Lord will cross our Sea of Galilee and find us. It does not matter where we are or the situations in we find ourselves. God is more than able to deliver us out of any situation. He will in His appointed time and season. We just have to learn to trust Him. That is all He requires of us.
The Lord sent Elijah northward to Zarephath. There a poor widow served Elijah a morsel of bread. Consequently, she and her household ate for many days and “the bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.” As Elijah travelled to Zarephath, the Lord likewise will visit us and revive our desire for His truth so long as we love truth for the sake of doing what is good and acceptable.
We know that the Lord alone is the source of all that is good, that from Him and no other source proceed things like love, tenderness, and innocence, joy, long-suffering, gentleness. He alone possesses the entire body of knowledge, all the truths about living a heavenly life. If we are hungry and unfulfilled the Lord will feed us. As He provided for the widow in Zarephath, He will feed us to such an extent we could say “the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want” and that “my cup runs over” (Psalm 23: 1, 2). We in the Spiritual Baptist faith know well that Our Shepherd will supply our needs and Jehovah is His Name. However, we have to behave like we really know Him. We act like the world too often and it is hard to know the difference.
This story of Elijah the prophet visiting the widow of Zarephath is the story of the Lord with us. He is forever present in our desire for truth even when, like a poor widow, we seem to have nothing. Surely, without the Lord, we can do nothing. But as long as we trust in Him and strive to obey His Word, He will teach us His ways.
The Lord said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Let the Lord have His way in your heart this morning and throughout the day. Whatever we do let it be in obedience to the voice of God. Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your heart but like Samuel say “Here I am sent me.” We never know how God will visit us so let us be watching unto prayer. On that last day, we will be reminded of our life here and many will hear these words “In as much as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me.” You will reply Lord when was this done and where? your judgement will be departing from me, into everlasting damnation.
Lord Jesus Christ keep us ever watching unto prayer. We are helpless but with you in our lives, we are powerful and more than conquerors. Have mercy on us and take charge, in our going lead the way and do the same on our return. Have Thine own way and keep us in pastures fresh and green. Bless us in the Name of Jesus Christ.