God directed Elijah to go to the village of Zarephath where the Lord instructed a widow there to feed him. Our verse for today is the concluding verse of this story.
Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you. 1 Kings 17:24
So let’s backtrack to the part of the story when Elijah arrived at the gates of the village. Keep in mind Elijah already knew that God had spoken to the widow before his arrival.
As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.” 1 Kings 17:10-11
Even though God spoke to her, did she recognize His voice? There was a good possibility she didn’t because she was a Gentile. In fact, she referred to the Lord as Elijah’s God.
“I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.” 1 Kings 17:12
Elijah’s Faith Guided the Widow at Zarephath
Elijah didn’t back down from his request. He had just come from the dried-up Kerith Brook. While he was there God delivered his breakfast and supper each day by ravens.
He already knew God wouldn’t let him go hungry. And the Lord had already told him a widow in Zarephath would feed him.
But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 1 Kings 17:13
Elijah compassionately guided her faith. A lesson we need to pick up on here is, we must give to God before anything else.
He was asking her to give out of her need first before she would enjoy God’s abundance. It was then he revealed that God would supply her dietary needs.
For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again! 1 Kings 17:14
She did what the prophet asked and a miracle took place. We know God supplied for the widow and her son and Elijah. But she also must have had regular dinner guests as well.
She and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. 1 Kings 17:15-16
We don’t know how long, “many days” were. According to the scripture, it continued until the crops grew again.
The Story Continues
This would be a great place to stop, except it’s not the end of the story. A new twist developed in this narrative.
Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. 1 Kings 17:17
Because of her dead son, this widow in Zarephath pointed a finger at Elijah with an accusation.
O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son? 1 Kings 17:18
She had to have been at an all-time low. As a grieving mother, nothing else mattered. I guess she forgot about the day she planned her and her son’s death before Elijah got there.
Elijah though, in his compassion prayed for life to enter back into her son.
He stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” 1 Kings 17:21
The scripture goes on to say, The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned. 1 Kings 17:22
It was at that moment the widow of Zarephath uttered this statement, Now I know for sure that you are a man of God.
I guess she didn’t realize this one thing. It was because God took care of Elijah that she ate miracle food for “many days.”
Yet only after her son was raised from the dead did she believe he was a man of God?
What We Can Learn from the Widow at Zarephath
How many times are we guilty of circumstantial faith? That’s when we easily exercise faith when our circumstances are working in our favor.
But it’s a different story when it seems things are working against us. It’s at that moment we forget everything God ever did for us.
We forget what the church has done for us. And we forget about that brother or sister in the Lord who was there during our time of need.
Just like the widow at Zarephath all the blessings we’d received don’t even exist in our minds. Why? Because we can only see the disappointment of that circumstance.
Everything else is out of focus except the situation happening at the moment.
Lord, help us to always stay focused on you. We don’t get into the blame game forgetting what you have done in and through us.
Check out this other post about when God performed another miracle called Expect A Miracle When You Need One.
Read the entire story of the Widow at Zarephath in 1 Kings 17.
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