© 2000 by Jerry L. Croasmun

Read -- 1 Kings 17:7-16 and

"Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food."
-- 1 Kings 17:9 (NIV)

Back in the days of Elijah, the prophet of God, there was a widow who lived with her son in a town called Zarephath, which was located in the region of Sidon. We are first introduced to Elijah in the 17th chapter of 1st Kings. Drought and famine were upon the land for three and a half years. (See James 5:17-18 and Luke 4:25). It was during this time that Elijah was sent by God to the Zarephath widow. Upon arriving at Zarephath, Elijah asked the widow woman to give him a drink of water and to make him a cake of bread.

Elijah first met the widow woman gathering sticks and in 1 Kings 17:12 we read, "As surely as the Lord your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread--only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it--and die." The widow was preparing to fix her last meal and then die. Or was she? Please note the Lord did not say to Elijah, "Go and command the widow to take care of you." He did however, say in verse 9, "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." God had already spoken to the widow's heart and He had control of the situation.

Elijah instructed the Zarephath widow to make and bring him a small cake of bread before she made any food for herself or her son. I can imagine the woman thinking and possibly saying, "Oh no, another mouth to feed." I doubt many of us, being human and made of flesh with hunger pains and all, would be willing to share what we viewed would be our last meal. I believe, the widow was able to respond to the prophet's request for she knew she had heard the voice of God prior to Elijah asking for food. She probably was unsure of her future, but was obedient to God and fulfilled Elijah's request.

Elijah was a man just like us. In James 5:17-18 we read, "Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."

We must not overlook the fact that God provided food for Elijah, the widow woman, and her family for three and a half years. This was not a one time miracle, but rather was one which God repeated daily for over 1,270 days. In
1 Kings 17:15-16 we read, "She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. The jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah."

God is still one who provides for our needs. Are you experiencing a spiritual drought in your life today? Are you hungry for the things of God? Is God calling you to reach out to others? God still cares. Note, as with the widow, He will not ask you to give more than He has given you. As we share the love of Christ with others, may it be said of us as the widow said of Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man [or woman] of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth." (See 1 Kings 17:24).


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