26 The people will curse him who withholds grain,
Today’s key words are defined as follows:
curse: 1. a. An appeal or prayer for evil or misfortune to befall someone or something. b. The evil or misfortune that comes in or as if in response to such an appeal
blessing: 1. the act of invoking divine protection or aid 2. the words or ceremony used for this 3. the bestowal of a divine gift or favour
This verse speaks of people who have control something of importance to others. Something that is important to the very “lives” of the people around them. The first part talks about the way people feel toward those that “horde” this important commodity, in this case, the grain. Grain, being a staple food in the culture of the times, stood for either being physically well fed, or being weakened from not having enough for self or family. A person that had this important commodity and refrained from giving it or permitting it to be sold, would anger those around him, and bring on their disgust and even hatred.
The second part of today’s verse tells how people, and, God, will provide protection and aid to those who provide for a way for people to acquire the much needed commodity. As we see, throughout the Bible, GOD is our provider and the one who bestows true “blessings” to those who are generous in their hearts.
The story of the woman that had only enough for one more meal for her son and herself when the prophet Elijah came to ask her for food, gives us an example of what can happen when we are willing to part with something that is very important to us, even if it is the last of that “thing.” She was willing to share, and because of her generosity, even in her desperate situation, God blessed her with plenty to get by until the famine was over. He took her THROUGH this storm in her life, BECAUSE of her generosity, and shortly after that, the Lord used him to bring her son back to life! You can read the first part of this story in I Kings 17: 8-16.
Elijah and the Widow
8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 So she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’” 15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 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.