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provision part 2

May 4, 2013

Elijah had chuckled as he made his way toward Zarephath. The village was in the very center of Baal-worshiping country. King Ahab would never think to look for him there. And in this small village he figured not even so much as a single soldier from the royal army would ever step.

He arrived hot, sweaty, and dirty from several days’ travel. His appearance was unkempt from living by the brook for so long. As Elijah looked around, he realized how different he must look to these strangers. Then he realized he hadn’t seen another human being in quite a while. Before his thoughts could go any further in this direction he realized how very thirsty he was. Due to the drought there hadn’t been much water to find along the way. Just ahead he spotted the city’s well. Even though he felt as though he couldn’t go any further, a close observer could notice that his weary pace quickened. Finally Elijah wearily dropped the full weight of his body on a bench near the well.

He asked a widow nearby for a drink of water. Her haggard countenance looked up to see the man behind the voice. Stunned at his appearance and compelled by the way he spoke, she immediately stopped gathering sticks and went to get it for him. After she turned away his empty stomach reminded him he needed food as well.

“Please bring me a piece of bread, too,” he added. He had not expected the reply that came from her weary face.

“As surely as the Lord your God lives, I have no bread. I have only a handful of flour in a jar and only a little olive oil in a jug. I came here to gather some wood so I could go home and cook our last meal. My son and I will eat it and then die from hunger.”

Just as it had happened before, the Spirit of God came on Elijah, supernaturally energizing his exhausted frame. “Don’t worry. Go home and cook your food as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread from the flour you have, and bring it to me. Then cook something for yourself and your son. The Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘That jar of flour will never be empty, and the jug will always have oil in it, until the day the Lord sends rain to the land.’ ”

Amazed at the bold words from the strangers’ mouth, the widow stopped to absorb what she heard and saw. Although no one had ever spoken to her like this before, she somehow knew that the words this rough-looking man said to her were true. Without a word she turned and walked toward her house. She obeyed to the letter what Elijah had instructed her to do. It happened just as he had said. Even after making a small loaf for this stranger, there was still enough for both the widow and her son. Already there was more food before her than she had originally had supplies for, still there was flour and oil in the containers! In fact, there was enough for the same amount of bread to be made for the next meal! Astonished, she baked the bread, then hurried back to the well where she eagerly told Elijah what had happened. Her son was close to her side.

“Sir, it happened just as you said! The flour and oil should have run out before I even finished with the three loaves, yet it didn’t! In fact, there is still enough for the same amount for another meal! I don’t understand, but we are so grateful. She continued, out of breath more from excitement than being physically winded. “Do you have a place to stay here in Zarephath? Our house is not large, but we have room for you if you need a place to lay your head at night. I have spoken with my son and he agrees that you could come stay with us for as long as you like. We are so grateful for what you have done!”

Always amazed at how his God provided for him, Elijah merely indicated with the appropriate movement of his head at the proper times during the widow’s breathless discourse. More than the provision of his food and water, and now a place to live, he found himself even more amazed at the transformation that had come over this impoverished woman. She had once walked slowly, gathering sticks with hunched shoulders. Her face had been drawn, her eyes empty. Now she appeared years younger. Her steps were brisk. There was light when he looked in her eyes. Elijah found himself refreshed because he had seen the Lord his God transform a life.
This poor widow had gone from hopeless to having a future. Her home had changed from starvation to sufficient. She and her son had gone from death to life.

“…the woman and her son and Elijah had enough food every day. The jar of flour and the jug of oil were never empty, just as the Lord, through Elijah, had promised.”

Yet on the horizon tragedy would soon strike again, and cause a drastic turn.

(I Kings 17:8-16, New Century Version)

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From → Elijah

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