2017-10-23 - Faith Steps
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. 1 Kings 17:15
The widow of Zarephath had never met a prophet, so perhaps she assumed a prophet is supposed to be demanding. The woman did not mind providing him a cup of water. She also would be thirsty after traveling. When this stranger asked for something to eat, the widow was honest with him, saying she, herself had nothing to eat except a handful of ingredients. That’s why she was outside collecting sticks, to make a fire to cook the food. This man would have to find someone else who could spare some provisions.
The man was unfazed by what the woman had said. He told her not to be afraid, but to make him a loaf of bread first, and then make one for the two of them. He insisted there would be enough oil and flour for both loaves, and that each time she and her son needed food, there would be plenty until the drought was over. Imagine, this mother was preparing a meal with the last of their food, and a man said she would have plenty. It sounded too good to be true. In all likelihood, the widow of Zarephath’s first choice was not to feed a stranger before her own child. Nonetheless, the widow did what the prophet said. She showed tremendous faith and was willing to believe the impossible even in the face of death. It happened just as Elijah said. The prophet had a strong connection to God, indeed.
Later, there was another episode that put this woman’s faith to the test. Her son became sick suddenly and died. The mother was heartbroken. She asked Elijah why she was being punished. He responded by taking the boy’s limp body and asking God the same question: Why did the boy have to die? Elijah prayed for his healing, and God answered the prayer. The son was now alive. Never again would the widow need to distrust Elijah’s words.
Lord, Why are You asking me to consider this unthinkable notion? I have no idea what will happen to me. I want to believe I heard Your voice correctly. I am willing to obey. I have to step out in faith sometime, right? Please give me courage. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.