Now Elijah 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.”
1 Kings 17:1
This is how we first hear of Elijah; an extremely obedient prophet of God. King Ahab was the leader of Israel at the time and he had turned from the LORD and had built alters to Baal. So much so that in 1 Kings 16:30 it says that he “did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him.” Because of this, he didn’t want anything to do with what Elijah had to say. This is why the LORD sent a drought on the land. We now find Elijah living in the wilderness, literally being fed by the LORD via a raven and drinking from a brook.
Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 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 be a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
“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.”
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. For this is what the LORD, the God is 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.’ “
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. 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.
Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 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?”
“Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper toom where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 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?” 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!”
The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 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!”
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.”
1 Kings 16:7-24
There are several things you can draw out of this story, but the question that came to my mind immediately after reading it was this: How many times in our lives do we grow complacent to something God has done for us in the past?
This widow possessed a jar of flour and a jug of oil that, for a time, never ran out. We don’t know how long that lasted; all it says is ‘some time later’, but in verse 1 we know that God said there would be rain for a ‘few years’. Then we learn that just after the ‘brook dried up’, God sent Elijah to the woman. Now a brook is a small stream and it wouldn’t take long for it to dry up with no rain. It was another ‘some time later’ that the boy got sick and died. Either way, whether it was weeks or months or a year or more, I believe the miracle of ‘all you can eat bread’ had lost its luster to her.
It was only when her son died and Elijah raised him from the dead through the power of God, that the widow, believed that ‘the word of the LORD was true.’ She had to be astounded by the flour and oil and yet she had not truly believed in, or had taken it for granted, the power of God that was on display.
Here is a point to ponder: How many times do we do that in our own lives? God continues to show Himself to us, but we forget; we grow complacent; we require more and more proof that He is truly there for us.
Dear Lord, we thank you for all that you have done for us in the past, all that you are doing now, and all that You will do for us in the future. Even if you do nothing else for us we recognize You have done all that we could ever wish for and more than we could ever deserve. In Jesus name, Amen!