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  • Rev. Joseph A. Bias

Elijah and the Women of Zarephath

“Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 1Kings 17:9

There are two stories each in the old Testaments concerning the works of God through his prophets Elijah and Elisha.

The first is of Elijah in the days of Ahab when he ruled as King of Israel, but he did great evil in the sight of the Lord more than any of the kings before him. He married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal,(meaning: with Baal or toward the idol) the king of the Sidonians. Ahab forsook the god of Israel and worshiped Baal and built and altar to Baal in the temple of Baal which he had built in Samaria. He also made a wooden image to Baal. Now Elijah was sent by the Lord to Ahab and he prophesied the judgment of God over him and over all Israel because of him, saying,

“And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” 1Kings 17:1

And it was so, for three years and six months there was no rain in all the land. But Elijah was immediately sent by God eastward to dwell by the Brook Cherith where he found plenty of water. Food was brought to him daily by ravens. Now when the brook dried up because of the drought, God sent Elijah to Zaraphath which is in Sidon to dwell there.

God said to Elijah,

“Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 1Kings 17:9

So Elijah went to Zarephath and when he entered the gate of the city he saw a woman gathering sticks. So he called to her and asked her to bring him a little water. As she was going to get the water Elijah called to her again and said, bring me also a morsel of bread.

“And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” Kings 17:11

So she said to him, Sir, I have no bread in my house and nothing to make even a morsel of bread. All I have left is a handful of flour in a bin and a little oil in a jar. This is why I am gathering sticks to prepare it for my son and myself to eat, so that we may eat it and die.

But hear what the prophet said to her. “Do not fear…” The first thing he instructed her to do was arrest the fear that was gripping her to the point that she saw no way out but death. “Do not fear, go and do..” The first thing the enemy of God wants to do, is to render us exhausted, surrendered and resigned to our perceived fate of the moment. Yet it is in those desperate moments the voice the Lord speaks to us, “Do not fear, go and do…” Preparing a meal with what you have is a good thing, go do that, but don’t do it to prepare to die, but do it with a different purpose in mind.

He said to her, Go and do it to the glory of God and honor Him with it first by honoring the messenger (in this case, Elijah) who brought His word and the supernatural provision to you.

“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. 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.’ ” 1Kings 17:13

Now this is important to note. Elijah did not send her away to make a small cake for him, which would have used up all that flour and the oil she had to make it, then come back to him and bring it to him and return home empty handed and hungry and the sit around and look at the bin and the jar formally holding a little oil hoping to see a miracle happen, because she was obedient to give her last little but of provision to the man of God.

NOOOOOOOO!!!!! That is not God’s way!!! Hear what the man of God said to her before she moved from the spot where she heard it while she was holding her little armful of sticks.

He said to her,

“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.’ 

While he was speaking and before she got home the bin was already filled with flour and the jar was filled with oil.

So, by the time she got home there was no waiting, no hoping no stressing to make a small cake from a handful of flour and a trickle of oil. She went immediately and did as she was instructed and — I love this part,

“So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.” 1 Kings 17:15

She did what the Lord told her to do and all of them, she, her son and the prophet ate for many days. Remember the Lord sent Elijah to her so she could take care of him during the draught and that exactly what she did.

Sometimes when you least expect it your blessing, your super-natural provision may be tied to God using you to be a blessing to someone else particularly out of your own need.

The massage here is principally about worshiping God in faith as opposed to taking an action in fear without hope. The woman of Zarephath had nothing but the dregs of provision left in her house. But at the word of the prophet she was willing to do whatever it would take to save her son and herself. The pathway to their salvation was worship, and she did it with joy and thanksgiving. And what was the result? They all ate for many days.

“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.” 1Kings 17:16


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