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Issue Features
Discovery Magazine 5/1/1990

Prophets, Pots, and Promises

In Old Testament times, God used prophets to deliver important messages. Elijah was such a prophet. In I Kings 17:8-16, the Bible tells us one story about this great prophet. A wicked king, Ahab, ruled the land. Ahab refused to obey God, so God said through Elijah that there would be no rain for several years. Because of the lack of rain, crops could not grow, and food was hard to find. But God took care of Elijah.

He told Elijah to go to the city of Zarephath, where a widow would care for him. Elijah obeyed God, and found the widow. When he asked for food, she told him she had two pots. In these two pots, she had only enough flour and oil for one last meal, and then she and her son would starve to death.

Elijah told her to cook the meal anyway. Then he made two promises. First, he said her pot of flour would never become empty. Second, he said that her pot of oil would never run dry. The widow obeyed God's prophet, and the Bible tells us that "The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which he spoke by Elijah." (I Kings 17:16)

We can learn important lessons from this Bible story: (1) People who are wicked (like King Ahab) often suffer, and cause others to suffer; (2) It is always right to obey God, even though at first we may not fully understand why He asks us to do something; (3) God takes care of people who obey Him (read Matthew 6:33); (4) God can use such people to help others who are in need (like the widow helped Elijah).



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In this debate, national best-selling author and self-professed agnostic, Bart Erhman, contends that the pain and suffering in the world show that the loving God of the Bible does not exist.

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