I once heard a distinguished clergyman say he had always observed that those persons who had learned to obey their parents promptly, most readily yielded to the claims of God, and became converted, while those who had always liked their own way had generally a long, severe struggle, before they were willing to give up their sins, and oftentimes could not make up their minds to do so, and, though deeply convicted, remained impenitent.
It is a fearful thought that, if you form a habit of disobedience to your parents, it may cost you the salvation of your soul.
It was the first of July. There had been no rain for several weeks. Every one feared there would be a drought. The farmer looked anxiously upon his fields of corn, whose deep green leaves had not yet begun to turn yellow, and upon the potatoes, whose blossoms were still unwithered. They could not long remain thus beautiful and thriving, if the refreshing rain was withheld. The ground was so dry that, in hoeing the garden, no moisture could be observed.
Mrs. Dudley talked with her children about the need of rain, and the propriety of praying to our heavenly Father to water the earth, that it might “bring forth and bud,” and “give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater.” She told them how Elijah prayed for rain, after there had been none in the land of Canaan for three years and six months, and how God heard his prayer, “and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”
This great drought was a judgment upon the people of Israel for their sin in departing from God, and worshipping idols. There had been, in consequence of this want of rain, a “sore famine.” We read in the book of Kings of one poor woman, who had only a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse. When Elijah met her, and asked her for water, and a morsel of bread, she told him this was all she had, and that she was gathering two sticks, that she might bake it for herself and her son, that they might eat and die! She know not where to find any more food for herself or her child, and expected to “pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field,” and to die with hunger.
Elijah bid her not to fear, but go and do what she had said. He asked her to make him a little cake first, and bring it to him, and afterwards make one for herself and son. “For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.”
It would not have been strange, if this widow of Zarephath had been unwilling to divide her handful of meal with Elijah, or if she had doubted the promise which was made to her, but she did not. She baked the little cake for the stranger, and afterwards one for herself and her boy, and there was plenty of meal and of oil left for another repast. “She, and he, and her house, did eat of it many days.” The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, till the Lord sent rain upon the earth, and her wants could be supplied in the usual way. She did not lose the reward promised to those who give a cup of cold water to the friends of God.