Monday 20 September 2010

Oil and meal

Some more of John Newton's verses which I was shown recently. I thought that these are so suitable for mothers with little ones when it is difficult to have an uninterrupted service and we struggle with tiredness reading God's Word. I haven't found these in any modern hymnbook-this is from a facsimile of Olney Hymns-with the "f"s changed to "s"s for ease of reading.

By the poor widow's oil and meal
Elijah was sustained;
Tho' small the stock it lasted well,
For God store maintained.

It seemed as if from day to day,
They were to eat and die;
But still, tho' in a secret way,
He sent a fresh supply.

Thus to His poor He still will give
Just for the present hour;
But for tomorrow they must live
Upon His Word and power.

No barn or storehouse they possess
On which they can depend;
Yet have no cause to fear distress,
For JESUS is their friend.

Then let not doubts your mind assail,
Remember, God has said,
"The cruise and barrel shall not fail,
"My people shall be fed."

And thus tho' faint it often seems,
He keeps their grace alive;
Supplied by His refreshing streams,
Their dying hopes revive.

Tho' in ourselves we have no stock,
The LORD is nigh to save;
His door flies open when we knock,
And 'tis but ask and have.


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Sarah. I am not familiar with this hymn.

    It is most-definitely true, for me anyway, that I find my barrels strength feel constantly depleted by my children and how demanding this job is. I can very much identify with the line that says "No barn or storehouse they possess On which they can depend;", as I am, by nature, not blessed with maternal gifting and am every day reminded of it. I also realise that I have not because I have long asked not. I usually have only asked God to help me get through the day. I think, too, that it is sinfully difficult to prioritise time with God at the end of the day when you feel so exhausted. It is easier in the morning ... until the baby needs to be fed whilst your other kids are demanding breakfast or a nappy change, resulting in partial readings. But it is so necessary! The Word is there only place to get food and water that fills. Regarding prayer, it feels that asking more would be too much to ask for in light of all the horrible things others have to suffer (and I know this is wrong because our God is strong).
    Another great hymn is this one called "How Firm A Foundation", by John Rippon. I really love that one.
    How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
    Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
    What more can He say than to you He hath said,
    You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

    In every condition, in sickness, in health;
    In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
    At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
    As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

    Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
    For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
    I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
    Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

    When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
    The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
    For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
    And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

    When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
    My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
    The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
    Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

    Even down to old age all My people shall prove
    My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
    And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
    Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

    The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
    I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
    That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
    I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

    My favourite parts are 1, 4 and especially 7. Motherhood, to me, is something that our Enemy uses greatly to shake us and causes all manner of sin. But knowing that God will not forsake and will somehow give us a way out of temptation and grief, is of great comfort and is a boon to continue on to greater understanding of Mercy.

    Thank you, again, Sarah! I needed your post.

    Beth Fisher

  2. Beth,

    "How firm a foundation" is one of my favourites too.
    I know what you mean about not being "by nature, blessed with maternal gifting" but the Lord has given children and will give the strength and ability if we rely on Him.