William Andrew Dillard

“And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.” I Kings 17: 15-16.
From the pages of antiquity comes an unusual, arresting story that the Lord Jesus would use hundreds of years later. It would offer the Pharisees, and all future generations an opportunity to rethink their spiritual position.
Now, as then, there are those who feel that they have God franchised; that if He does anything, He will either consult with, or work through them. While this writer has profound respect for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, it remains possible for a church to become just as the ancient Pharisees were in this regard.
So, jumping in thought from the ancient days to the ministry of Jesus, we hear him saying in confrontation with the Pharisees: “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.” Luke 4:25-26. This so infuriated the good folks in the synagogue at Nazareth that they sought to cast Jesus off a mountain. (What kind of righteousness is that?)
Things have not changed over the years. When people are thinking, believing, or doing wrong, and then confronted with truth, they have two options: Accept it and change or retain error and become angry. Blessed are those who do the former.
But, the ancient Pharisees were so much like many modern religionists. They were so steeped in traditions, many of which supplanted the very Word of God, that they became blinded to opportunities around them, and the magnificent, awesome possibilities afforded to those who simply trust and do with childlike faith. How we should pray that our minds and hearts should be more as parachutes, and less like concrete.
So, just why did God bypass His people of covenant to bring such a blessing, and marvelous story into the Word with someone estranged from that covenant? Maybe it was for the very purpose that Jesus used it hundreds of years later. Also, He doubtlessly knew this common, human failure was not restricted to the Jews, but would afflict His people down through the centuries. By it, a wonderful goad was created for His people of all time.
Sometimes great blessings in harmony with the Word lie just outside the box of long held traditions. Then, let no power succeed in leaving one fearful or derelict to explore the principles of the eternal Word. THINK!

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