Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you too will be cut off. – Romans 11:22
As Jesus said, God could have sent Elijah to many widows in Israel. So why to a foreigner? Our multi-tasking God did this for at least two reasons.
First, as a judgment on His own people. God’s prophet was unacceptable in his “hometown” and so he was sent to shower grace to a foreigner. He came to his own but his own did not receive him.
Second, to showcase His grace. Grace comes to those who don’t seek it. Clearly, the widow wasn’t a believer. She speaks about the Lord, Elisha’s God (1 Kings 17:12). But the Lord sought her. Grace comes to enemies. Zarephath is of Sidon. Wicked Jezebel introduced the worship of the Sidonian god, Baal, in Israel and to that place and those people the Lord sends His servant and His grace. As seen in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus and the Great Commission, God directs His grace to enemy-occupied territory. Grace stops at nothing to save the elect. God used the disobedience of the chosen nation to send His prophet to save this chosen foreigner. The Jews’ rejection means salvation for the Gentiles (Romans 11:11) and the death of His Son is a price God is willing to pay to save His own. Grace comes to those who believe. The widow’s faith is evidenced by her works. She trusted the word of the prophet and “did as Elijah said.” Christ, the final Prophet, invites us to come to Him and faith does precisely that, repenting and receiving the offer of salvation.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your hearts that you may marvel at the glory of His grace and mercy. Pray that your minister may faithfully proclaim God’s Word, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting, with complete patience and teaching and that you would receive Christ as He is offered to you.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta.