1 Kings 17 (NIV)
Elijah Announces a Great Drought
1 Now Elijah
The name “Elijah” means Yahweh is my God.
the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
Elijah claims that the God of Israel is in control of the weather — not Baal, the god of the sky. God honored what Elijah said for His own name’s sake.
James 5:17-18 (NLT)
Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
Elijah Fed by Ravens
2 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath
7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.
“Ah, it is hard to sit beside a drying brook — much harder than to face the prophets of Baal on Carmel.” (Meyer) He also mentions different kinds of drying brooks we might experience:
- The drying brook of popularity, ebbing away as from John the Baptist.
- The drying brook of health, sinking under a creeping paralysis, or a slow consumption.
- The drying brook of money, slowly dwindling before the demands of sickness, bad debts, or other people’s extravagance.
- The drying brook of friendship, which for long has been diminishing, and threatens soon to cease.
“Why does God let them dry? He wants to teach us not to trust in His gifts but in Himself. He wants to drain us of self, as He drained the apostles by ten days of waiting before Pentecost. He wants to loosen our roots ere He removes us to some other sphere of service and education. He wants to put in stronger contrast the river of throne-water that never dries.” (Meyer)
8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there.
God keeps moving Elijah and Elijah keeps trusting God! From home, to Jezreel, to Cherith, and finally to Zarephath, a Gentile city.
I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”
Widows in the Bible are nearly always poor. Could God be sending him to a wealthy widow?
10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks.
He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
No — this widow is poor. So poor she is preparing the last meal for herself and her son. But God has a miracle in mind for her!
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the land.’”
15 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. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.
GOD’S INFINITE MERCIES
“The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.”
See the faithfulness of divine love. You observe that this woman had daily necessities. She had herself and her son to feed in a time of famine; and now, in addition, the prophet Elijah was to be fed too. But though the need was threefold, yet the supply of meal wasted not, for she had a constant supply. Each day she made calls upon the barrel, but yet each day it remained the same.
You, dear reader, have daily necessities, and because they come so frequently, you are apt to fear that the barrel of meal will one day be empty, and the cruse of oil will fail you. Rest assured that, according to the Word of God, this shall not be the case. Each day, though it bring its trouble, shall bring its help; and though you should live to outnumber the years of Methuselah, and though your needs should be as many as the sands of the seashore, yet shall God’s grace and mercy last through all your necessities, and you shall never know a real lack.
For three long years, in this widow’s days, the heavens never saw a cloud, and the stars never wept a holy tear of dew upon the wicked earth: famine, and desolation, and death, made the land a howling wilderness, but this woman never was hungry, but always joyful in abundance. So shall it be with you. You shall see the sinner’s hope perish, for he trusts his native strength; you shall see the proud Pharisee’s confidence totter, for he builds his hope upon the sand; you shall see even your own schemes blasted and withered, but you yourself shall find that your place of defense shall be the munition of rocks: “Your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure.” Better have God for your guardian, than the Bank of England for your possession. You might spend the wealth of the Indies, but the infinite riches of God you can never exhaust.
–C. H. Spurgeon
17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD, “LORD my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the LORD, “LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
22 The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”
24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.”
HERE is a song I like a lot, a good match of chapter and music! The tune is easy to sing and the words speak truth. It was written by Reuben Morgan in 1998 and is sung here by Hillsong. As you listen, think of Elijah, and the widow — and yourself — “What the Lord has done in me.”