Elijah and the God Who Provides
Bible Reading: 1 Kings 17:8-24
We continue to look at the life of the prophet Elijah. Last week we focused on the beginning of his story, and how ordinary Elijah is called by God to confront the wicked king of Israel, and then goes to live in the wilderness. Elijah is being prepared by God for many things to come. But before God uses Elijah for something big, He first puts Elijah’s faith to the test.
As a result of no rain, the brook Cherith dried up, and Elijah had no source of water. God directs Elijah to go to Zarephath, where a widow will take care of him. Once Elijah arrives, he asks the widow for water and a small piece of bread. The woman response is heart breaking. “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” She and her son are starving, and they are about to have one last meal. With no husband to provide, this widow and her son are about to be on knocking on death’s door.
Elijah is able to offer the hope of God. He promises the widow that God will provide food for them to eat. As the widow dips out the flour and oil needed to bake, the Lord will refill the containers so that they never empty. Elijah, the widow, and her son are fed and kept by the Lord for many days. Elijah and the widow experience and learn that the Lord provides.
But as we read down to verse 17, another test comes Elijah’s way. The widow’s son grows very ill, and the illness takes his life. The widow is heartbroken, and accuses Elijah of bringing God to her home to judge her sins. Elijah then takes the boy upstairs and begins to pray and seek God. He does not know why God allowed this to happen, and he is confused by what God is doing. You can hear the pain in his voice as he prays in verse 20: “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” followed by another passionate plea, “O Lord my God, let this child's life come into him again.” God hears the prayers of Elijah, and returns life back to the boy.
Two major themes stick out to me in this entire chapter of Scripture. First, God is a provider. God made sure Elijah was taken care of in the wilderness, and that there was always oil and flour available for the widow and her son. God gives His people what they need. When we find ourselves lacking in anything, we can pray by faith and know in our hearts that God is able to provide all that we need. The second theme in 1 Kings 17 is the transformation of Elijah. When we first meet him, Elijah is the Tishbite from Tishbe. But after confronting the king, spending some time in the wilderness, and seeing God raise up the widow’s son, Elijah is described differently. The widow says to him, “Now I know that you are a man of God.” Elijah has been tested and transformed by God, and now he is a man of God that is prepared for the next step of faith.
Call to Action: We all are being transformed by God. Our story may not be Elijah’s, but we all are being worked on by God. We have times in life that can be described as “wilderness years”, and we all have a story of being in need and God providing. God works in us to take us from being who we were, and He makes into men and women of God. He transforms our speech so that we speak His words. He transforms our minds so that we think His thoughts. He transforms our hearts so that we love as He loves. Are you submitted to God? Are you surrendered to Him so that He is transforming you into a godly person?