“And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now 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.” And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.'” And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he 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 17:7-16 ESV
Earlier to this passage, God instructed Elijah to seek refuge from King Ahab at a brook at Cherith where He would provide him with food, water and shelter miraculously. The brook subsequently dried up. The livelihood at Cherith Brook was no longer sustainable. God didn’t leave Elijah in the lurch. He instructed Elijah to move to Zarephath and to be fed by a widow. We see that when one door is closed, God opens another. In God, there are infinite possibilities – of sustenance, of provision, of healing, of protection, of salvation. Our dried-up brook could be a financial lack, a broken relationship, a stalled career path, a retrenchment or a health crisis. But God is always there to lead you to another open door! “O God, that is who you are!” – that part of the lyrics of the song “Way Maker” always lifts me up as I sang it! God’s character of love and tender care for His children will never change!
“So Elijah arose & went.” Simple obedience means not arguing with God or offer our own options! Elijah could have said, “why don’t you just cause the brook not to dry up and resume water supply miraculously and keep the ravens coming to provide me with room service. I am just comfortable here. Please, Lord?” How many times we pray to God based on our own will and refuse to accept change? Not recognizing that His thoughts are higher than ours, and His ways higher than ours? Miracles are all customized uniquely to each one of us. God is too creative to be boxed up by our whims and fancies! Status quo and comfort zones may not be the best places to be stuck in!
God revealed to Elijah that he was to be “fed by a widow”. What a most unlikely source of supply! Those days widows would be the poorest segment of society that needed others to take care of their needs. To live off a widow was seemingly something that was not possible nor ethical to do. Yet it was God’s setting for a miracle to take place! It is not a household of a wealthy or at least a family that can afford to feed another mouth. The truth is that God uses the “weak things of the world …” to stage His powerful miracles! He used a poor widow instead of a rich man!
When approached by Elijah asking her for food, the widow lamented that she was about to prepare the last meal for herself and her son with some remaining flour and oil. At this, Elijah prophesied “The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” With this, he requested her to make a cake for him followed by doing it for her family. And it happened! The flour was not spent and the oil didn’t run dry. Not for one day but many days! A last meal became a many days’ sustenance! Plus having an extra mouth to feed! Not only did the miracle provide for Elijah’s meals, the widow and her son were spared of dying from starvation. When you start to give to others, much will be given back to you. By many folds!
The widow need not find different methods of doing the flour or adding the oil. No need to do rationing. She just did what she was doing everyday – and the bread just came out of the oven every day. It was a quiet miracle. No one except the widow, her son and Elijah knew. God’s miracles may not sometimes have to be “loud” – like dividing of the Red Sea, but it could be a “water turn into wine” occurrence. Let God have the last say! Never impose on others the same experience you have with God. Or be jealous of the ways how God blesses another and not you in the same way.
- In the seasons of life, we may come across pain-points where life comes to a standstill and many doors are closing. Do not dismay, God has prepared new doors to be opened, which can only be entered by sheer faith.
- Sometimes, the next destination God leads you in may be the most unlikely place to go to. We may need to move away from status quo and embrace a new journey.