There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1
Scripture reading: 1 Kings 17:17-24
How painful! It isn’t just that her son died. That is hard enough. Some of you know this firsthand. He was taken after such a miraculous intervention that spared his life. That makes it particularly poignant. What kind of God had this widow just been introduced to? Does he sustain life just to snatch it? Even Elijah appears flummoxed by this providence (v. 20).
In her confusion, she accuses God of being against her and treats this providence as punishment for her sin (v. 18). This is worth probing. Sometimes we feel this way in hard times because there actually is unconfessed sin in our life and the Holy Spirit is convicting us to repent. But at other times we feel this way because, prodded by the devil, we entertain harsh thoughts of God. More than a few Christians are always waiting for something bad to happen in their lives. They haven’t grasped sufficiently the sheer grandeur of grace. Tragedy isn’t God’s punishment for His dear children. We need to say to this woman (and each other), “Your son doesn’t die for your sin. God’s Son dies for your sin!” This is the blessing of the Lord’s Day as we are reminded again of God’s astonishing grace.
God does graciously correct her misapprehension. Elijah takes the child and God’s resurrecting power revives him. Through that kindness her spiritual life revives too, and she boldly confesses the truth spoken by the man of God. This trial, like all trials sent by a gracious Father, is for the strengthening of faith. Behold the grace and wisdom of our God.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray that God would protect us from improper thoughts concerning Himself so that we would neither think Him too soft (that we continue in sin) or too hard (that we despair of forgiveness). Pray that He would keep the cross of our Lord Jesus fixed in our hearts and minds.
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.