Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Poor Widow and the Prophet Elijah

Elijah Stops the Rain

1 Kings 17

1Now Elijah the Tishbite was a prophet from the settlers in Gilead. “I serve
the LORD, the God of Israel,” Elijah said to Ahab. “As surely as the LORD
lives, no rain or dew will fall during the next few years unless I command it.”

2Then the LORD spoke his word to Elijah: 3“Leave this place and go east and
hide near Kerith Ravine east of the Jordan River. 4You may drink from the
stream, and I have commanded ravens to bring you food there.” 5So Elijah did
what the LORD said; he went to Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and lived
there. 6The birds brought Elijah bread and meat every morning and evening, and
he drank water from the stream.

7After a while the stream dried up because there was no rain. 8Then the
LORD spoke his word to Elijah, 9“Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I
have commanded a widow there to take care of you.”

10So Elijah went to Zarephath. When he reached the town gate, he saw a
widow gathering wood for a fire. Elijah asked her, “Would you bring me a little
water in a cup so I may have a drink.” 11As she was going to get his water, Elijah
said, “Please bring me a piece of bread, too.”

12The woman answered, “As surely as the LORD your God lives, I have no
bread. I have only a handful of flour in a jar and only a little olive oil in a jug. I
came here to gather some wood so I could go home and cook our last meal. My
son and I will eat it and then die from hunger.”

13“Don’t worry,” Elijah said to her. “Go home and cook your food as you
have said. But first make a small loaf of bread from the flour you have, and bring
it to me. Then cook something for yourself and your son. 14The LORD, the God
of Israel, says, ‘That jar of flour will never be empty, and the jug will always
have oil in it, until the day the LORD sends rain to the land.’”

15So the woman went home and did what Elijah told her to do. And the
woman and her son and Elijah had enough food every day. 16The jar of flour and
the jug of oil were never empty, just as the LORD, through Elijah, had promised.

Elijah Brings a Boy Back to Life

17Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became sick.
He grew worse and worse and finally stopped breathing. 18The woman said to
Elijah, “Man of God, what have you done to me? Did you come here to remind
me of my sin and to kill my son?”

19Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.” Elijah took the boy from her, carried
him upstairs, and laid him on the bed in the room where he was staying. 20Then
he prayed to the LORD: “LORD my God, this widow is letting me stay in her
house. Why have you done this terrible thing to her and caused her son to die?”
21Then Elijah lay on top of the boy three times. He prayed to the LORD, “LORD
my God, let this boy live again!”

22The LORD answered Elijah’s prayer; the boy began breathing again and
was alive. 23Elijah carried the boy downstairs and gave him to his mother and
said, “See! Your son is alive!”

24“Now I know you really are a man from God,” the woman said to Elijah. “I
know that the LORD truly speaks through you!”

The Holy Bible, New Century Version


The unnamed widow lived in Zarephath, a town in Sidonian territory. The Lord sent Elijah there during the drought that Elijah had announced to Ahab. While Ahab scoured Israel to find Elijah, he was in Zarepheth, in the homeland of Jezebel, the evil queen who was intent on wiping out worship of the Lord.

The widow, who recognized Elijah as a worshiper of the Lord (1 Kings 17:12), displayed an unusual and growing faith.

Although a widow and in poverty, this woman showed both courage and a growing faith. She was aware if Israel’s God, and immediately she recognized Elijah as a worshiper of His. Her readiness to feed Elijah when He made a promise in God’s name showed that the widow had some confidence in Him. At the same time, she showed a limited understanding of what God was like. When her son sickened and died, the widow jumped to the conclusion that God was punishing her for past sins. Elijah’s miracle restoring her son to life did two things for the widow. It strengthened her faith in God as Elijah interpreted His word to her. It also taught her that God is a God rich in grace and forgiveness for those who trust him.

(From Every Woman in the Bible by Sue and Larry Richards).

No comments: