Sunday, January 4, 2009

Encouragement to the Impoverished

"The barrel of meal shall not waste,
neither shall the cruse of oil fail."

"A word spoken in due season, how good it is!" Even in a time of famine, as it was in Elijah’s day, or in a time of adversity and pending sorrow, as it was in the widow’s household, "thus saith the LORD God of Israel" ever suffices for every barrel and cruse in "the household of God."

Consider this text in terms of temporal adversity and physical need–Elijah pursued by Jezebel; starvation, disease, and death at the widow’s door; our own Jezebels hot on our heels, distresses in our minds, bodies, and spirits; fears within, foes without–let every soul thus impoverished by the world's ways and woes hear the word of the LORD,"the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail."

Though, like the widow, God’s own elect may doubt the prophet’s word, and every circumstance seem to contradict the holy promise, "nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure: the LORD knoweth them that are His," and He who feeds the sparrow and clothes the lily will surely supply every need of those more precious to him than all the fowls aflight, more beautiful to him than the lilies upon a thousand hills. King David knew this great old truth, by revelation and experience, "I have been young," said he, "and now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread." As surely as the barrel and cruse are the potter’s work, so also is their supply. He who fills the stars with heavens and the oceans with water, can surely, yea, will surely "supply all our needs according to His riches in glory." Therefore, "let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid; God hath spoken it, He also will bring it to pass; He has purposed it, He also will do it." He who esteems His word better than His own name, though heaven and earth pass away, will yet fulfill every jot and tittle: "the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail."

May this word also bring conoslation to him who is impoverished in spirit. Have you "a famine of bread and a thirst for water" in your hungry, arid soul? Is your soul cast down and disquieted within? Then rejoice, for the prophet’s word is especially for you–"the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail." Feed upon Christ, ravenous soul, for He is "the living bread," heaven’s Manna fallen upon this wilderness of sin that you may eat and never hunger. Art thou wounded in the way, as all the careless world passes by? Then know that Christ Himself will pour oil into thy wounds, anoint thy weary brow, and nourish thy famished soul. No mean fare this heavenly bread and holy oil, but limitless in its bounty and infinite in its measure so that it will neither waste nor fail.

Worried soul, like the widowed mother of a dying son, worried by temporal or spiritual need, God’s promise is yours, spoken by the faithful prophet’s voice, "the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail." By this sure word of prophecy shall every barrel brim, every cruse o’erflow, and every impoverished soul be made fat.

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