Weekly Meditation: 5th June 2016
1 Kings 17:8-16
‘Put not your trust in princes’ (Psalm 146:3, AV). It is a well-known verse, and provides a warning not to rely on the wisdom of humans, however exalted. The psalm catalogues the reasons for trusting not humans, but God; he is ‘the maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them’ (146:6), he champions the oppressed, feeds the hungry, sets prisoners free, restores sight, raises the depressed, loves the righteous, protects the stranger, provides for widows and orphans and gets in the way of the wicked (146:7-9). Furthermore, his reign is everlasting (146:10). Why would anyone want to trust a human instead of such a God?
God has provided many demonstrations of his ability to save and restore. During a time of drought and famine in Israel, God provided for his prophet Elijah by sending him to a widow in Zarephath (1 Kings 17:1,7-9). The woman appeared to be in no position to help Elijah for she herself was about to use up her last supplies of food – a little flour and oil. Elijah persuaded her to share her meagre rations with him, however, and her trust in Elijah and his God was fully vindicated. Miraculously, the supply of food was not exhausted until the drought was over (17:15-16).
Centuries later, God’s own son demonstrated his power over death. Jesus encountered a funeral procession – that of a young man. His heart was filled with compassion for the man’s mother, for the dead man had been her only son, and she was a widow (Luke 7:12-13). Jesus was able to raise the man from deathas easily as if he had merely been asleep – just with the words, ‘Young man, I say toyou, “Get up”’ (7:14), and, we are told, ‘he gave him back to his mother’ (7:15). The man would have been his mother’s only means of financial support, and Jesus’ actions revealed his deep understanding and empathy.
Trust in God has healed, saved, provided for and comforted countless individuals, many of whose stories are told in the Bible. Most of all, however, God gives eternal salvation to those who trust in him.
Paul was anxious to convey this message to the Galatians. He himself had trusted in his own qualities and skills for many years. He had been an exemplary worshipper of God, an advanced student of the scriptures and a zealous keeper of the law. Believing it to be God’s will, he persecuted the emergent Christian church ‘intensely’ (Galatians 1:13-14). However, it was not until God ‘called [him] by his grace’ (1:15) that Paul truly began to serve God. He had the privilege of having Jesus ‘revealed in him’ in order to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (1:16). Paul was adamant that the gospel was not something ‘man made up’, nor was it ‘received from any man’ (1:11-12), and he had no need to ‘consult any man’ (1:16). Rather, he ‘received it by revelation from Jesus Christ’ (1:12). Paul’s trust in God equipped him like Elijah and the psalmist for service to the Lord and to witness to his power.
By Susan Thorne