Sometimes your situation seems so dire and you see no possible way to change it. You don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything around you is dark and grim and you’ve lost all hope of things getting better. I’m sure that’s how the widow in 1 Kings, chapter 17 felt. She had lost all hope of things getting better.
At this time that we meet the widow, Israel was acting up yet again and God was not happy with them. Elijah prophesied that there would be no rain or dew for the next 3 years. Whatever water supply was around was it. That means nothing would grow and everything would eventually die. Talk about a hopeless situation! What can you possible do or make without water? Water is life, without it, is…well, death.
Elijah went to the land of Zarephath in Sidon (now in modern day Lebanon – for those of you that are not geographically challenged like myself), frankly because God told him to go. God also told him that a widow there would supply him with food as He had commanded her. So off Elijah went. When he came to the town gate, he ran into the widow gathering sticks. He asked her for water and a piece of bread. Now, water was not completely gone yet, but remember they were in a drought.
Grab your tissues, here is the sad part…. the widow was going to get him some water but explained to him that she didn’t have enough to make him bread. She was there gathering sticks to go home and make one last meal for her and her son. It would be their last supper – they were going to die! <<wipe tears now>> All she had left was a little bit of flour and oil. That was it! They were down to their last!
Have you ever been down to your last? Last bit of food, last bit of money, last bit of gas, last month of health insurance, or last nerve (those of us with children are always on our last nerve). Knowing that this last bit of whatever would be a life changer for you. Something has to change quickly or the life and/or security that you’ve known will cease to exist. This poor widow and her son was right smack dab in the middle of their last.
Her circumstance wasn’t because of something that she had done. Her husband had died, in that time women and children were completely dependent on the man of the house. The appears to be no relative to take care or them. The son seems to be too young to work. And to add insult to injury, the land was drying up. What a hopeless situation! Elijah didn’t try to explain away her situation or make excuses for it. He asked her to do one simple thing – before she made food for her and her son, to make him a small piece of bread and bring it to him. He told to her that the Lord said,
The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.1 Kings 17:14 (NIV)
There are a few scenarios I can see possibly running through her mind all at once:
- “Are you crazy! Didn’t I just tell you I was about to go make the last meal of my and my son’s lives!”
- <laughing hysterically> “He did not just ask me to make him bread, did he?”
- “So the Lord is just going to make flour and oil for me everyday, huh?”
Needless to say, she didn’t laugh in his face nor did she argue with him. And she definitely didn’t question God. She did what Elijah told her to do – she went home and made bread for Elijah and brought it to him. And every day after, there was food for Elijah, the woman and her son. God provided!
Sometimes you just have to step out on faith! It was her faith in God, that He would provide, that saved her and her family, and ultimately Elijah. She had to trust that what God told Elijah to tell her was true. She had to step out on faith! When things get tough and seem impossible, we have to remind ourselves of the promises of God. He knows our circumstances and provides all our needs. He cares! We too have to step out on faith and trust that God’s got us! Just like the widow did!
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32)
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! (Luke 12:24)