This morning I read about a homeless man who imposed himself on an impoverished single woman — a widow with a son — asking her to feed him and provide him housing. He ends up staying in her home, in a room near the attic, for a while, regularly helping himself to her fridge.
One day the widow’s son dies, and the man takes the boy to his room, alone, and puts the boy on his bed and lays on him.
OK, at this point, what do you think of all this odd behavior? And what would you think if you learned that this homeless man was in fact a prophet of God, Elijah? Yup, check out 1 Kings 17:8-24 for the whole story.
So now I’m wondering: What principles can I gather from this passage? Is this story saying that there are times when it is appropriate for a single man and a single woman to live under the same roof? Or were such arrangements only permissible B.C., when Old Testament prophets often “acted out” the Word of the Lord in alarming ways?
I do note that the man in this case is committed to a life of celibate service, and does not seem to be physically or emotionally entangled with the woman. I also do have to wonder what the neighbors thought of this living arrangement …
We learn how to live our lives well by looking to Scripture — not simply to imitate specific actions, but to unpack and embrace the principles behind those actions.
So, what principles can we draw from this story? Maybe this story is more about God displaying His sustaining faithfulness during difficult times than about this single man and single woman? I wonder if maybe, then, our story should be more about God and His faithfulness than about ourselves. If so, what does that really mean?