The Widow & the Warrior
The Widow - (1 Kings 17)
- There was a coming famine in the land during the age of Elijah. No food, no water for several years. And during these times of drought the Lord provided for His prophet. The Lord sent Elijah to go live east of the Jordan, to a brook where water could be found. The Lord also provided Elijah with bread & meat in the morning and evening, through the agency of ravens.
- But there came a day when the brook ran dry. And the Lord commanded Elijah to go live in a place called Zarephath, where a widow (a woman who had lost her husband) would provide for him. Now when Elijah met this widow at the gates of Zarephath he asked her for water & bread. But because of the famine she said to Elijah, swearing on His Lord, that she only had enough nourishment for this one last meal which was to be between her and her son, and then they’d die of hunger and thirst.
- But you see, Elijah was there with the power and will of God. And this Source of power has the ability to provide nourishment, even when none seem to be found. And sure enough that widow never ran out of food and drink while a man of God was with them.
- However, later on in this account, the widow’s son falls sick and dying. She begs Elijah to intercede with His God on behalf of her son. Elijah does so, and the Lord responds by healing her son. She then says “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”
- Curious how she would not have known that, earlier on. When through Elijah her nourishment never ran dry. We would think she’d have been sold on the power of God during the first miracle. But no, it took another.
- Interesting how we can do the same, living in this Christian testament. We see God answer prayer time and time again, yet lack faith in His provision the following day (i.e. we don’t have the money, we don’t have the time, we don’t have the resources, we don’t have the numbers). FRIENDS, WE HAVE GOD! We have enough of everything He so desires of us in His church.
- In all instances, PAY ATTENTION TO THE POINT, God saved the widow. She had been set free from the bondage of thirst and famine (starving to death), and also the bondage of loss for her child. She was saved by God through the agency of obedience, brought to her by a prophet. She received the nourishment (the word of God), and life (her son restored). And though she did not know this, Jesus would use her as an illustration when His time to walk the earth had come.
And now, the Warrior - (2 Kings 5:1-14)
We transition to the account of Naaman, captain of the Army of Aram, a great man, highly respected. A valiant warrior through whom God gave Aram war victory, but there was problem with Naaman. Naaman was a leper, he had leprosy, and so he was very sick and dying.
- And through the agency of a prophet, and providence of God, instruction was given for Naaman to obey specific orders, if he wished to be healed of the leprosy. He had to dip in the Jordan River, 7 times.
Of course, Naaman was initially furious at the conditions, but after a word from the Lord, he repented and did as he was told, and his health was restored. God saved the warrior. And though Naaman was unaware, Christ would speak of his account in the New Covenant.
And now we move forward centuries into the account of Christ, in...
- In this section of recorded witness (vss. 1-13), Luke writes of Jesus’ temptation taking place over on the Westside of things. Of course Christ conquers His adversary’s agenda. The Devil tried to use emotion and his own interpretation of the Bible to deceive and swindle the Anointed One, the Messiah. However the serpent of old failed miserably. And this account transitions to where,
We begin now reading vss. 14-16, And so this platform gives way to our portion of study this day, Christ returns to the North-side of things in the power of the Spirit. Folks have been paying attention to this man, the Nazarene. One who grew up in hard labor, not thought to be some-kind of eloquent and well versed scholar, yet respected as noble. But none the less Jesus persists in consistency with his attendance to religious people, places, and affairs. And so they grant him the opportunity to teach in their religious establishments. So He further journeys to Nazareth (where he grew up and was raised) to do what he purposed to do, reading the Scriptures on the Sabbath in the synagogue.
Vs. 17, In this instance the scroll (the prophet Isaiah therein) was handed to him for public reading. Well, Jesus receives the Bible, and finds His book/chapter/verse (if you will), because He has something to say to them about what the Bible says,
- Small excursion, practical practice in the application of this principle: Where did Jesus find His Source of truth? Both when dealing with Satan, and now these religious people? In the Bible! Question, where do you find your source of religious information? Dreams? Emotional experiences, (aka your “feelings”)? Perhaps Family members? Friends? Pastors and Priests? A man in white robes sitting at the Vatican? A man with nice shiny teeth and wavy hair on TV? Will you trust men with your eternal soul? Or be like Jesus, and trust the Bible? Food for thought, a challenge for your mind (free of charge).
Back to the text...
Vs. 18-19 Jesus here quotes a messianic prophecy about Himself. Speaking of One who would preach the gospel to all who are seeking spiritual freedom, the humble and honest! And just like the day of jubilee was a physical freedom from sin, in the age of Christ the spiritual shackles of iniquity and lawlessness would be broken with the obedience to this good news preached by His Majesty.
- “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” And the conditions to be met for entrance as citizens of this kingdom would be extended to all who love Jesus.
Vs. 20, This was an authoritative position seeking audience for teaching purposes, and those hearing were paying close attention to what He was saying.
Vs. 21, The Word of God transmitted through the agency of man, the prophet Isaiah, had now, that very day, been quoted and fulfilled. Christ Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One on the verge of teaching them the truth.
Vs. 22 now the people didn’t really understand the depth of Christ’ declaration, but they were all speaking well of Him and the accuracy of His words. So much so they even question and doubt Jesus’ upbringing in Nazareth as a simple carpenter’s son. He speaks like a well versed and seasoned scholar, so how on earth can this man be a carpenter, the son of a carpenter, from Nazareth of all places?
- Don’t you know if God can give us a mustard seed from Nazareth, it can surely grow in Spencer. Amen?
- They flatter Him none the less because these Jews think He’s quoting a prophet speaking of a Messiah that was going to come and release them from the physical oppression of the Roman government. That this Messianic prophecy would build an earthly throne in which they would have positions of secular influence and power. Similar in thought with His disciples in Matthew 18, “who then is the greatest in the kingdom?” Sizing their selfish wants according to the world’s standard of judgment.
Vs. 23, And so Jesus recognizes their vain praise and further states the fact that they would indeed wish to hear and see the things He said and done in other districts. The Word had been buzzing around about Jesus and these religious people wanted a piece of the cake. Thinking they had come to the wilderness to find a reed shacking in the wind. Not so!
Vs. 24, Jesus says this because He knows how they are going to act once He tells them gospel truth. “You’re going to hate my preaching, because it’s strong and true, it’s not what you were expecting to see and hear, and in turn you’re going to hate me for it. But I’m not in this ministry to pander my submission upon the rebellious. Rather I’m invested in it for all who will love Me by keeping my commandments.”
- Remember, Jesus is speaking to His people, religious people who belong to the household of God. It would be like Jesus standing behind this pulpit and telling you what he’s about to tell them.
Vs. 25-30, what was so offending, what triggered these Jews to violence against Jesus? Can’t you see? Jesus revealed to them that the Messiah they’ve been waiting on was going to be releasing the Gentiles. He’s telling them that God is going to release the Romans and all other heathens and pagans. And He did so with Bible evidence declaring God had saved the widow and the warrior, BOTH GENTILES, HEATHENS AND PAGANS! Very wise of Luke to record this account for the Greeks, don’t you think?
- These religious people the Jews, wanted to hear and see what Jesus was all about? Well, the Messiah provided. He told them the truth and He miraculously slipped from their murderous midst.
- When you preach the truth to Christians, members of the church that belongs to Jesus Christ, who have a misguided idea of the prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ and His apostles? When you preach to Christians who have a worldly understanding of what a man of God looks like, sounds like, and acts like? When you preach to Christians who have allowed their own emotions and idleness guide them? They’re going hate you. Our own people!
- This kind of approach and preaching of Christ is spiritually beneficial for two reasons, it gets rid of fake Christians in the assembly and it renews and strengthens into repentance those who wish to remain and grow. This kind of preaching is very hostile to idle cowards in the fold, but it is the breath of life and freedom and courage to all who love Jesus. The Widow & the Warrior.
The Jews thought the Messiah was going to come and release them from the oppression of the Roman Empire. And here Jesus says to them “I’m the Messiah, and the ones I’ve also come to free from oppression are the Gentiles, from their bondage in sin. I came to seek and heal the sick (the Gentiles), not those who think themselves already healthy (Jews).”
God saved the widow from Zarephath with water, and the Aramean Warrior with water also. You want to try and convince me this morning that God can’t save us with water? He can save you too this very moment if you so choose to love Jesus. Here are the very simple conditions.
- Change your mind, repent, turn towards God. Let go everything you think is so important. Everything you thought you knew about religion. Trust in Jesus, the God of the Bible, confess Him as your Lord and Master when He says you must be born again of water and the spirit, and live faithfully as a forgiven citizen of His kingdom, His church.
“Whoever believes AND is immersed shall be saved. Whoever does not believe shall be damned.” – Mk. 16:16
When you come out of that water, you are safe with God and His Son. You have His church as your family and system of support, priority, responsibility, fellowship, and comfort.
If you want Jesus to save your soul, He will make you a citizen of His kingdom, a congregation in which you see here this morning in Spencer WI. Not perfect, but serving a perfect Master.