1 Kings 17:16
And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Elijah.
I wish to spiritualise this incident, with its barrel of unwasting meal and its cruse of unfailing oil, and see it in a type of that unfailing happiness and peace and comfort for which men are for ever seeking. We are all too well aware, though we are constantly deceiving ourselves about it, constantly trying to hide it from our eyes, that the ordinary stores of life's joy do waste and fail.
1. One of our first sources of joy and comfort is youth.
2. Health is one of life's great fountains of comfort and happiness. Our health is a barrel of meal and a cruse of oil constantly being used up. Most of us are already taking medicine to keep the worn machine sufficiently in order so that we can make it work awhile longer.
3. Closely allied to health is strength, though many men and women carry burdens through long lives on shoulders grown strong through tribulations, never knowing what it is to have health. Many people exult in their strength; many get happiness out of it; the mere ability to do things is a great blessing from God; but that, too, is a failing cruse. After awhile we come to know that there is only about so much force, about so much strength and vitality, in a human being, and that if men or women use their strength in one way it means they cannot use it in some other way.
4. This is true of all the joys and comforts that we get from earthly fortune.
5. Then there is that great source of earthly comfort and confidence, the joy which comes from the fellowship and kindness of our relatives and friends. And now I gladly turn away from this side of our study to contemplate with infinite thanksgiving to God the cruse of oil that never fails. There is a life which Jesus came to give us which is not affected with the passing of youth, with the breaking down of our health, with the failure of our strength, or with the frail character of our fortunes — a life that may grow more abundant under them all and may never be more full of the vigour and enthusiasm of youth than when it faces the king of terrors; a life that does not fail though one is thrown into a dungeon with John Bunyan, or cast into the inner prison with Paul and Silas, or exiled among the heathen with David Livingstone; a life that can do without money, or health, or youth, or friends, and still remain sweet and patient and glad and loving and brave. If you to-night will take God's promise, with the same simplicity of faith shown by this poor woman towards the promise given through the lips of Elijah, you, too, shall save yourself alive unto eternal life.
(L. A. Banks, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.