Tuesday, April 23, 2024

God of Life

There is a story in the Old Testament about a widow living in Zarephath, to whom the prophet Elijah is sent for provision during a prolonged famine. When the prophet meets the widow, she is preparing to make one last little small bit of bread to feed her and her son, then prepare them both to die. 

Elijah speaks from the Lord to the widow and God provides an abundance of flour and oil that lasts them through a very long period without any other food. Until one day, the widow's son died. 

She cried out to God and called out to Elijah and asked, "Why?" Why did this happen? Is God punishing me for some kind of past sin? 

If we were to use her approach today, we might cry out to God and ask, "Did this bad thing happen because of that little white lie I told in 2007?" This is what the widow was asking. 

It was common in those times that persons looked at tragedy, trial, and calamity as the judgment of God. It was common for them to understand that bad things happen to you because you did bad things. Sinners get what sinners deserve. So it was only natural, when this son died at too young an age (after, we must remember, her husband had also died - she was, after all, a widow), she started to wonder...is it because I'm a sinner?

But then, she didn't have the Cross.

This is the difference between Old Testament law and New Testament grace. Back then, the widow couldn't imagine any other reason for death than sin (even though 1 out of every 1 persons will die). Today, we understand that God does not remind us of our past sin through death; Jesus already took care of that. And He would not dream of using death to condemn you. Not when He's already defeated it. 

So if you're looking at that bad thing that's happened in your life and wondering if it's God's way of punishing you for that thing you did that one time (or even that many times or even just five minutes ago), remember: that's pre-Calvary theology. On this side of the Cross, God is not punishing you for that thing you did. 

He's too busy loving you through it. 

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