In a time of economic ups and downs, managing our finances can be a real challenge. There is much uncertainty right now given the current interest rates and rising inflation rate. For the child of God, we must make a critical decision about the manner in which we live out our days. We will either live by faith and trust God…or we will live by sight and rely on ourselves.
In 1 Kings 17:8-16, we find a familiar story about a prophet being cared for by God through difficult and even desperate economic times. We also see the story of a widow who was challenged to live a life of obedience to God’s Word. This gentile widow is found gathering sticks outside of her home city when Elijah the prophet shows up at her door. She hardly has enough oil and flour to make one more small cake for her and her son before they begin the slow and agonizing process of starvation. This would seem like a poor choice by the Lord to ordain this woman to be the one to provide for Elijah in a time of famine and drought, but the Lord’s ways are so much higher than our ways. We find in this story 3 laws about how God’s economy differs from our own earthly economics.
1. God demands before He supplies. The Lord did not begin this journey of faith by empathizing with the desperate condition of the widow and her son, but rather God demanded something of her right off the bat. Even when the widow recounted the facts of her situation to the man of God, there was no backtracking of the command. God had not mistaken her for a woman of great means. He knew every detail of her situation and yet God met her with a demand. Don’t let it shock you when God tests the limits of your obedience and commitment to him right out of the gate. This woman had great faith, but there were certainly reservations, doubts, and concerns. She needed food, but God gave her another mouth to feed.
2. God supplies what He demands. The very thing that the Lord was asking of the woman was what she had in short supply. It was not until she began to obey in faith that God met her at the place of her need and supplied the very thing that he had demanded of her. She had to be willing to give to God what she was reserving for herself before God would ever unlock the heavenly cupboard and increase her oil and meal reserves. Friend, whatever God is asking from you, if you will be willing to give him what He is asking for, He will begin to supply the very thing He asked for.
3. God supplies more than He demands. It is a true cliché that “you can’t out-give God.” However, this is often difficult to try on for size…especially when God is asking for what we do not have, and in a time where having anything is a miracle. Yet, we can learn from this famous passage that every time we obey God in faith, He gives back more. (Luke 6:38 "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.")
It might seem as though God is unaware of your needs, but I assure you, He is more aware of our needs than even we are. Do not become offended or appalled when God makes demands of us in a time of great need. This is a test of faith that, if passed, will result in a continued supply and surplus of what God demanded from us in the first place.