1 Kings 17:1-24 slowly and repeatedly.
The main content of the text: God moves Elijah to Zarephath in the land of Sidon so that he can be provided with food by widows. There, God revives the dead widow’s son through a prophet.
Who is God?
Verses 8, 9 God sends Elijah to Zarephath in Sidon, the hometown of Jezebel, the leader of Baal worship. People may have thought that the impact of God’s drought would not reach Sidon, the heart of Baalism. However, Sidon also became a land of death, and now God is trying to show that only God can give life to that land.
Verses 10-12 The place God sent from the dried up Cherith brook was the widow’s house, which had run out of food. The food that God said he ‘prepared for the widow’ was the last meal he would share with his son right before he starved to death. The purpose is to give ‘faith’ as a gift through Elijah to the widow who confesses that ‘God is alive’ but has not experienced the ‘God who saves’.
Verses 13, 14 To the woman who laments that she has no choice but to die if she eats the last of her food, God asks her to serve the prophet of God with ‘a little bread.’ It may sound mean and harsh, but it is a call to trust God with her life. It means acknowledging that life and death do not depend on the bread, but on God. This is because people die not only when they lack food, but also when they do not acknowledge the living God.
Verses 15,16 As the Gentile woman takes a powerful step of her faith (Luke 4:25-26), she supplies the land of Baal, which was dying of famine, with a never-ending supply of flour and oil. Seeing the faith of the widow who trusted God with her children and her own life, God rewards her in a way that is incomparable to the ‘little bread’ she offered. What little faith does the great God require of me?
What lesson does God give me?
Verses 17-24 Connecting her son’s death with Elijah’s visit and her own sin means that the widow of Zarephath recognizes that all of this is within God’s control. Elijah went one step further and believed that God could save his son, and prayed earnestly three times with his body over his child, becoming a channel for God’s power to control life and death. It is not enough to interpret a situation as God’s work. She must join God’s work in prayer.
Community Prayer – Living God, help me always remember that the only way for me to live is to trust in the God of life.
Prayer for the Nations – Cameroon, home to 260 ethnic groups, is diverse in society, culture, and language. Let us pray that the Western-style worship and preaching culture established within the evangelical church will be contextualized to fit the Cameroonian environment and culture.