In this, the second in our series, ‘Going beyond the expected, we look at the story of another woman; this time, a widow from a town in northern Israel. The subtitle of this message is: ‘Give up your last meal.’ We find the story in 1st Kings 17:8-24. The two central characters are the widow and the prophet Elijah.
The backdrop of the story is that Elijah had appeared on the scene and prophesied that there would be no rain or dew for three years. God then directed him to a brook where he was supernaturally fed by a ravens-driven supply chain system; the only occurrence of its type in Bible. The birds brought him food on a daily basis and he drank water from the brook.
In due time the brook dried up because there was no rain. God then directed him to move to a village, where he would be fed by a destitute widow. When Elijah arrived at the city gates, he saw the woman gathering sticks for firewood. He asked her to bring him a little water in a cup. As she left to get it, he added, ‘Bring me a little bread too.’ The woman replied, saying that she didn’t have any bread in her home; all she had was a little cruse of oil and a handful of flour; which she was in the process of gathering sticks to cook as a last meal for herself and her son; which they would eat and then await the inevitable – death.
Elijah told her not to be afraid, but to do as she had intended, only that she should prepare a little bread for him first, and then use what was left to prepare something for herself and her son. The prophet then went on to make a powerful prophetic pronouncement: that there would always be flour and oil left in the widow’s containers until the time that God sends rain.
The woman went away and did exactly as Elijah instructed. We read that she, her son and Elijah continued to eat until the rains returned to the land.
In the process of time her son became sick, grew worse and finally died. Elijah took the child in his arms, and cried out to God. God answered his prayer, and the child was restored back to life. Elijah brought the boy back down from the upper room where this miracle had taken place, giving him back to his mother.
This is an incredible story of faith. For faith read obedience, trust and sacrifice. The woman’s initial remit was to go and get a small cup of cold water for Elijah. However, as she was going, she was pushed outside her comfort zone and asked to prepare a meal first for the prophet. She did so in obedience. The result was that not only was there a continuous supply of food for her and her son, there was also a restoration of her son back to life after he died. She experienced three miracles – miracle of provision, preservation and restoration.
This tells us that when we go beyond the expected, we can expect provision; whether material or spiritual; the preservation of life, as well as that of total recovery and restoration, even when it seems that that which God has given to us has been lost.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2014©
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