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When it\'s hard to believe

1 Kings 17:8-16

Pastor David Ernst

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Sep 9, 2018 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our text for today touches on a topic very relevant to our situation in Venezuela today. We meet a widow without flour and oil in her house. At that time, God had punished the people of Israel for their idolatry with a drought. With the lack of harvests for lack of rain, there was a shortage of food.

During this crisis, the Lord sent the prophet Elijah to live with a widow in Sarepta of Sidon. "And when he came to the gate of the city, behold a widow woman was there gathering wood; and he called her, and said to her, Please bring me some water in a cup, so that I may drink. And as she went to bring it to him, he called her again, and said to her: Please, bring me a piece of bread in your hand too. And she answered: As the LORD your God lives, I have no cooked bread; that only a handful of flour I have in a jar, and a little oil in a jar: and now I was picking up two logs, to enter and prepare it for myself and my son, so that we could eat it, and die. And Elijah said to her: Do not be afraid; go, do as you said; but first make me a small cake baked under the ashes, and bring it to me; and then you will do for yourself and your son. For Jehovah, the God of Israel, has said thus: The jar of flour shall not run short, neither shall the jar of oil be cut off until that day that Jehovah will send rain on the face of the earth. Then she went, and did as Elijah told her; and he ate, and she and her house, many days. And the jar of flour did not fail, neither did the jar of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he had said by Elijah. "

The Lord had said to Elijah, "Behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain you." However, the widow had her doubts. But, no matter what her doubts, the Lord counted her obedience as evidence of faith, though a weak faith, and provided for them.

What does Jesus say in our gospel (Matthew 6: 24-34)? "Therefore do not worry, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or what shall we put on? For the Gentiles seek all these things, but your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Fine words from our Lord. He also taught his disciples to pray for "our daily bread" in the Our Father. As the Small Catechism says, daily bread means food, drink, clothing, footwear, house, home, land, livestock, money, goods; pious spouse, godly children, pious servants, pious and faithful authorities; good government, good weather, peace, health, good order, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors and similar things. Furthermore, God gives bread daily, without our supplication, even to all the bad ones; but we pray with this request that He will make us recognize this and thus receive our daily bread with gratitude.

Well, in times of plenty, it is easy to believe in the goodwill of God. It should also be easy to share food and drink with the afflicted when we have more than we need, but always there are those who do not share anything even in abundance. In times of scarcity, many more people think only of their own well-being, perhaps the welfare of their family. But, the time of scarcity is precisely the test of our trust in God.

This strong faith does not come from our hearts, and we can not acquire it by our own strength. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who is active in the Word of God. Therefore, when the devil tempted Jesus, after forty days of fasting in the desert, to turn the stones into bread, the Lord answered him, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of his mouth. of God "(Matthew 4: 4). Therefore, the Lord tells us, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

The kingdom of God in this world is found in the Word and the sacraments in which we receive the promises of forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Christ. The preaching of the Word in its purity and the administration of the sacraments according to the order of the Lord are the marks of the holy church, the communion of the saints on earth. Because of this grace that God has shown to the church, the gifts of faith in baptism and forgiveness in the Lord's Supper, God has commanded his church in the words of our epistle for today (Galatians 5: 25-6). : 10): "So, as we have a chance, let's do everyone good; and first of all, to those of the family of faith. "

As God sent Elijah to the widow of Sarepta to help her and increase her faith, He has sent her church to reveal the presence of the kingdom of God in this world, first in the Word and the sacraments, and in the works of mercy.

By the light of Christ, that shine in his church, we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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