WOMEN OF THE BIBLE SERIES
Widow of Zarephath (I Kings 17:13-16)
I Kings 17:13-14, And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16 And 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.
During a famine, this widow fed the prophet Elijah before feeding her son and then herself. This widow was at the point of starvation, she and her son had enough food left for one last supper and they planned to lie down and starve to death. She did not have very much, only a handful of meal and a little oil. Notice! Here arrives the man of God! He tells her to feed him first. When she heard the Word of God, she went and did as Elijah had commanded her. This required great faith to use the last little bit of meal she had to prepare bread for a total stranger. Yet she did it by faith! God wants us to learn to trust Him in every circumstance, regardless of what outward appearances may suggest. When God gives you His Word you can bank on it. If you have dedicated your life to the Lord and are fully committed in carrying out His will, then you are the Lord's servant, and He is responsible to provide your need.
She knew that the Lord was his God (I Kings 17:12). God was not unconcerned about the needs and misery of the poor widow. In fact, He sent Elijah to encourage her faith and give her some material blessings at a time when she felt all was lost. Elijah challenged the widow to act on faith and feed him first with her very last meal (I Kings 17:13). Elijah was declaring that the Lord God of Israel would supply her needs if she trusted him (I Kings 17:14). The widow believed God’s Word through Elijah and did as he said (I Kings 17:15-16). Because of her faith in God and what He said through the prophet Elijah, the widow was willing to exchange the certain for the uncertain, the seen for the unseen (I Kings 17:10-16; Hebrews 11:27). God honored her faith not only with material blessings, but also with spiritual blessings. Her “…barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail” (I Kings 17:16). Even in the face of certain death she acted on faith, trusting in the word of the living God, and He provided. Jesus commended this woman’s faith in Luke 4. Luke 4:25-26, “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.”
The outcome of the faith giving was a barrel of meal that would not “waste” and a cruse of oil that would not “fail”. They would eat many days. She gave to the Lord and the Lord gave to her. She was rewarded for her faith giving. As the widow gave to Elijah first, then to her son and to herself. As was with the widow, we must give to God first before we can see God provide for us. The widow’s barrel of meal and cruse of oil never ran out. The power of God never fails, especially when you are scraping the bottom of the barrel. The flour that was used is a great reminder of Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bread of Life. The oil is a reminder of the Holy Spirit. They never fail. The meal and oil strengthened Elijah and the widow. The Word of God and the Spirit of God strengthens us. When we put the Lord first, He will multiply the little we have and meet our needs. No one has ever, or will ever, discover the limits of God’s great ability. God provides for His people. But there is a condition. We must trust and obey God's Word. Just as the widow trusted and obeyed the Lord, so we too must trust and obey Him. If we seek the Lord and His righteousness first, He promises to provide food, clothing, and shelter for His people. God will be with us every step of the way. He will hold our hands, hold us up, and even carry us when needed.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank You that you are always faithful to Your promises of provision. You have faithfully provided for me and my family. You have promised to supply all my needs according to Your riches in glory. You are both our Provider for both our physical and spiritual needs. Thank You that You delight to provide for my needs. Lord, it is a great comfort to know that You know everything about me. You know the needs and necessities of life I have before they arise. Forgive me for not relying on You as I ought. Teach me to rely on You and to rely less on myself. Help me to cast all my care on You. Keep my heart ever thankful for Your gracious provision. In Jesus Name. AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.