“Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” (1Ki 17:9)
Keep in mind we are talking about “the blessing given to Abraham.” Earlier we discovered that when God speaks His blessing over your life, then all heaven and earth are mobilized in full compliance with the Divine decree – and you are blessed indeed!
God spoke it, ordained it, and confirms it by bringing to pass. It happened to Abraham, and yesterday we saw a stunning example of this in the life of Elijah the prophet, as dirty birds brought him two meals a day during an extended draught – because God ordained it to happen that way.
Today, we are going to see the great care God’s has for a Gentile widow in the city of Zarephath – and we will learn from her story that He cares for us the same way!
While Elijah waited each day for the ravens to bring him food, the Brook eventually dried up. When it did so God said, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” (1Ki 17:9)
The word “commanded” is the same used when God ordained the ravens to feed Elijah. God has used the dirty birds to teach Elijah this great lesson: When the Lord ordains something to occur it will surely happen, no matter how absurd or unconventional it may appear.
Elijah went to Zarephath with a faith that would not be deterred by anything he saw or experienced; he knew God had made all the necessary arrangements for His word to come to pass.
Arriving at the city he met a widow gathering sticks to build a fire. How remarkable the timing in all of this. When we follow the Lord’s directions for our lives we will always find ourselves at the right place, the right time, and meeting the right people.
Elijah struck up a conversation with the woman. “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink,” he said. And she quickly responded in a free and serving manner. She could have been bitter and hardened, and snapped back, “Get it yourself!”
Had she done so, Elijah simply would have looked for another widow. Never forget that you are always being tested in one way or another, and your responses hold great consequence for what happens next.
As the story unfolds, the woman takes what little food she had left and baked a meal for Elijah. She undoubtedly thought it would be her last meal – but Elijah knew better, for the Lord had told him, “I have ordained a widow to sustain thee.”
Upon seeing her give so willingly, even at her own expense, Elijah pronounced this prophetic word over the widow – “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.’ ” (1Ki 17:14)
And it happened just as God had said. The widow sustained Elijah for almost three years; she also provided food for her extended family and friends during this most difficult time of prolonged draught.
This widow, by acting with unselfish generosity, actually unleashed the blessings of the Lord upon her life. The thing which she held in her hand was but a small plug holding back the full flow of God’s generous abundance! What happened in the life of this unnamed widow in the Samaritan city of Zarephath gives us an astounding example of God’s capacity to bless us today – and His delight in so doing…if we will but open our hands.
Are you allowing your fear of financial uncertainty and future insecurity to cause you to hold on tightly to what is in your hand? Will you not follow the stellar example if this widow and let it go? Put your finances, your future, and your very life in God’s hands – for there is nothing too difficult for Him!