Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.” (1 King 17:24)
One day, Elijah, God’s prophet, was sent to King Ahab. He told, “As surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!”
King Ahab, who was the king of Israel, did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. He married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal. First Ahab built a temple and an altar for Baal in Samaria. Then he set up an Asherah pole. He did more to provoke the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him.
Right after Elijah told to King Ahab God’s plan as the above, God told to him: “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, east of the Jordon. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” (1 Kings 17:3) Elijah went to Kerith Brook as commanded, and hid himself. As God told, no more rain fell from sky, the land was getting drier. Even so, he was able to sustain his life by drinking from Kerith Brook, and eating what the ravens brought him. For Elijah, it was the period of experiencing God in the intimacy with him and enjoying His supernatural power and provision. He did not have to go out to find food, which was dangerous and risky because King Abab was seeking Elijah’s life. In God’s hand, he was secure. However, this period did not last forever. Sometime later, the brook also dried up, because the draught was so severe. He flew and hid from the danger of King Ahab to preserve his life. Now, he confronted with another serious problem – Kerith Brook that he used to drink from was dried up too. He could not stay the same place any longer.
Not like Jonah, who complained about a vine that gave a shade from the hot sun, but soon was dried up, which he did not planted, but God made grow, Elijah did not complain. He was a man of God. He prayed and believed God’s infinitely goodness and His good will toward His people although everything around him was going against what he wanted or desired. Soon the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” (1 Kings 17:9) He went to Sidon as God commanded. Sidon was located at the northern end of the western part of Israel situated on Mediterranean Sea. He was at the east side of the Jordan. He had to make a journey that was not difficult and dangerous because he had to cross the large portion of the land of Israel, from the east to the west, while King Ahab was seeking his life. He was in this much trouble only because he delivered God’s message to King Ahab, who was a wicked king. Bible recorded King Ahab did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him.
After the difficult and dangerous journey, Elijah safely arrived in the region of Sidon, and searched for Zarephath, a widow. He found the widow, who was gathering sticks. In the sever draught and famine, Elijah saw the hardship that the widow suffered. It was not easy for him to tell what was told by God. In faith, he opened his mouth and asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” She was kindly about to share the precious water. Out of his hunger, he also told her, “Would you bring me a bite of bread, too.” Then she immediately stopped and answered, “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) She was kind and shared water with Elijah, a stranger to her, but she had to tell her plan: she gathered a few sticks and cooked the last meal for her and her son. When she was asked by Elijah, her generosity was not diminished even under her extreme situation.
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. 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 17:13-14) If we were her, what would be your or my response to this request?
Bible continues. And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and her son and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah. (1 Kings 17:15) She did not hesitate nor struggle. She just did what Elijah said in her faith of God. What a faith she had! To Elijah, it was not easy to convey what was told by God to the widow. He saw her difficult situation, and he heard the desperate story — picking sticks to cook the final meal with her son and then to die together. The two in faith followed what was told by God, whether what God told them made sense or not. Through faith, the widow got the precious miracle – her flour jar and oil jug had never been emptied throughout the draught, and the faith could save herself, her son, her and all her household as well as Elijah.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1)
God, please, give us the faith of the widow, who had a faith of transcending all understanding. We want to be like the widow who, through faith, could save her household and Elijah. Grant us a rock of faith of Jesus Christ. We want not to be swayed by what we see and what we hear, but stand firm on the rock of faith. Make us getting into a deeper understanding about you, and experiencing your presence and love in Christ Jesus in every part of our life. It is our earnest desire in you, who is our ever-loving Father, the Almighty God. Amen.
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