The widow of Zarephath has been asked for her last bits of food in her pantry. She's been promised that a miracle will happen, if she complies.
Let's dive in!
This widow was facing death. The death of her little boy, and her own, as well. But she went to her house and did exactly as Elijah had instructed her. So there was food every day for Elijah, the widow, and her son! The jar of flour was not used up, and the jug of oil did not run dry.
Oil was considered to be a blessing given by God to an obedient people, and the olive tree was a characteristic of the land which God gave to Israel.
then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. (Deuteronomy 11:14)
a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; (Deuteronomy 8:8)Perhaps this miracle is pointing us toward the fact that when we are faithful, and when we are obedient, God will send us blessings. He will supply our needs.
When we look a little deeper, it's not just that she did as Elijah told her, it's far more important to see that she did as the Lord wanted her to do. She willingly gave what she had - at great risk to herself and her son. She trusted in the promise of God's prophet; she trusted that she had heard God's promise to her. And He fulfilled that promise, and He used her as a resource, a comfort, to His prophet. Her own needs were met as a result. Instead of the tiny pile of flour and the dribbles of oil being one final meal for two, there were many meals for three!
Could God have reached down and placed a large quantity of bags of flour, and many earthenware vessels of oil in her home?
But in a land of great famine, her neighbors would more than likely have discovered it. How could she then hold on to what she needed, when she would be asked to share with all? And she would have wanted to share, I'm sure, for we see that she is a compassionate woman, from her interactions with Elijah.
She received just what she needed, for herself, her son, and the prophet staying with her. Do we besiege God sometimes with prayers for massive resources? Do we think that there are things that we simply "must" have in order to be happy? Are we guilty of treating the Creator like a genie in a bottle? Our Lord knows what is good for us. He knows what we actually need. He will not give us what will destroy or harm us.
But if we ask, He will give us of His storehouse:
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
Next week we will continue looking at the faith and the story of the widow of Zarephath . . . I hope that you will come back to study with us then!