1 Kings 17:1-16
What does it mean to trust? Merriam-Webster defines the verb usage of trust as “to believe, to rely on, and to hope confidently.” We think that we have to believe “enough” in something for it to work out in our favor. However, that’s not how trust works, and definitely not how trusting in God works. God is and always will be faithful to His Word, whether we believe in Him a lot or a little or not at all. God develops and expands our trust and belief in Him by testing us. When was the last time He tested you? When the test was complete and the dust settled, did you have a new respect and trust in the Lord? Whether it worked out in your favor or not, did you give glory to God?
Today, we look at the story of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath from 1 Kings 17. This story took place between two major events: the Lord punishing Israel with a long drought for worshiping the false god Baal and the Lord proving to the Israelites that Baal was a false god on Mount Carmel. When the Lord told Elijah to hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan River, He told him to drink from the brook and eat the bread and meat that the Lord would supply him with via ravens (1 Kings 17:2–6). Sounds a little bizarre, right – food delivery by way of ravens? Would you have trusted that the Lord would provide for you in that situation? Elijah did. He obeyed and the Lord provided him all his needs as promised. It wasn’t a lavish existence by any means, by Elijah didn’t need extravagance.
“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 me 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 of 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.’’” (1 Kings 17:7–14).
So, Elijah got to his destination and saw the widow the Lord told him about. The drought was still going strong and causing a severe famine. This woman was preparing a last meal for herself and her son, and Elijah asked her to give him the meal instead. But he assured her that if she did this, she would have a refilling jar of flour and jug of oil. Many of us would probably roll our eyes and think, ‘This guy is nuts. How will my flour and oil not run out as I use them?’ That is not how our physical world works. The widow didn’t need to be a modern-day physicist to understand that matter can’t be created from nothing. But the Lord’s prophet was telling her to trust that the Lord would provide for them.
“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.” (1 Kings 17:15–16). The widow trusted in the Lord and He provided not only for her and her son, but also for His prophet, Elijah. Just when the widow didn’t want to give up her last meal to a stranger, the Lord worked a miracle by defying the laws of physics that He created to provide for them. After all, the Lord created the entire universe from only His Word. Her obedience out of faith saved her life and her son’s life.
Are you confident that the Lord will provide for you, or are you relying on only yourself? When you find yourself in dire need, FEAR NOT! Take your petition to the Lord in prayer. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink … Is not life more than food? … Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ … For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:25–26, 31–33).