Saturday, February 2, 2019

An Eternal Love Story

       
  February is “love month,” the month in which Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day. Do you remember as a little girl in school hoping that you would be the recipient of many valentines to bring home to show your mother? You thought that the more you received was proof of your esteem among your classmates. Perhaps that was so or perhaps not. But, getting a valentine, or some other token of affection, on February 14th is always a good thing and, as widows, you probably look back on many years of Valentine’s Days with a wistful longing to once again receive that affirmation of love by your beloved. I can’t promise you that you won’t feel bleakness in your spirit on this coming Valentine’s Day and perhaps you’ll even shed some tears. But, what I hope to do is assure you that God loves you beyond measure and He cares deeply about every facet of your life. 
I want us to look at two stories in the Bible that prove my point.
          In I Kings 17:7-16 we read about the prophet Elijah and his encounter with the very wicked King Ahab. Ahab was married to the even more wicked Queen Jezebel and they led the nation of Israel into deep sin and the worship of idols with violent and atrocious acts associated with their worship. The people would even sacrifice their own children to a man-created idol. God had had enough of this and sent Elijah to confront Ahab. God gave Elijah the power to stop rain from falling, causing a severe famine in the land to demonstrate that He was the true God. The famine affected everyone, even Elijah. He had no resources from which to draw, no produce stored in a barn somewhere held in reserve for just such a time as this. 
So God told Elijah to go to a neighboring country to a small town called Zarephath where he would meet up with a widow whom God had told to feed Elijah. Doesn’t that seem a little odd to you? Surely there were people in the land of Israel who would be happy to assist the prophet. But God sent him out of the country
to a Gentile widow who, along with her child, was on the verge of starvation. Elijah obeyed God and sure enough, he came upon the widow and asked her to make him a loaf of bread. She told him that she had just enough flour and oil to make a meal for her and her son and then they would die. Elijah assured her that the flour and oil would not run out until God would send rain on the earth. And this precious widow obeyed Elijah’s request making him the first cake and only afterward one for herself and her son. And, just as God had promised, there was enough flour and oil to sustain them for the duration of the famine. She and her child didn’t starve and were a remarkable demonstration of the power of God in the process. God had his eye on this woman, had compassion in his heart for her, and chose her to be the one to sustain the life of his prophet all the while keeping her and her son from a sure death.
          Another story that comes to mind is found in Luke 7:11-17. Jesus and his disciples were in the city of Nain. As they were near the city gate Jesus saw that a young man who had died was being carried out for burial. He was the only son of a
widow and she was following his coffin weeping. When the only son of a widow died, it meant that she lost not just her child, but also her security, her means of support. The Scripture tells us that Jesus had compassion on her and walked directly over to the coffin of the young man and told him to get up. And he did and Jesus then gave him to his mother. Jesus knew that the death of this widow’s only son would not only leave her emotionally destitute, but most likely without the wherewithal to live comfortably and with honor in this culture. Nothing and no one, not his apostles or the large group of people crowding around him, was more important to Jesus than meeting the need of this widow.
          Why did God pick these widows and change the circumstances of their lives for them?  If one searches the Holy Scriptures, you will find the heart of God for widows all through them. Beginning with Moses, the prophets, the Psalms and throughout the New Testament, widows are mentioned frequently. In fact, there are close to 80 references to widows in the Scriptures. God cares deeply for them. Psalm 68:5 reminds us that, “He is a father of the fatherless, and a protector of the widows.” There are even Scriptures that give a warning to those who would mistreat or cheat a widow, “Cursed is anyone who denies justice to foreigners, orphans, or widows,” (Deuteronomy 27:19). In other words God is saying that anyone that messes with one of his widows is going to answer to Him and it’s not going to go well.
          Widows have the very heart of God and He carefully watches over you with tender love and compassion. While other women this Valentine’s Day in America may be receiving sentimental cards from boyfriends and husbands, the love you receive from God himself is eternal and pure. You are not alone, for He is always with you and for you. No one or no situation is more important to Him than you and your needs. I wish you a wonderful month basking in the eternal love of your Heavenly Father.



Several times in the above message Shari mentioned how God had his eye on the widows.  I found the song "His Eye is on the Sparrow" by Ethel Waters. Ethel sang this beautiful song at one of Billy Graham's Rallies.  Just click above and enjoy.

Message by Shari Hervold