"For thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the the Lord sends rain upon the earth." 1 KINGS 17:14 (NKJV)
It had been a long battle of illness for my late husband of 17 years. We found out he had lung cancer. If left untreated, it would take his life in about a year. He had already fought illness for several years, so together we decided not to treat the cancer. The day finally came. He took his last breath and went home to be with the Lord. The fight was over for him, but not for me. I was left to mourn his death and face financial uncertainty. When he left, so did his income that was sustaining our family. I had a teenage son still living at home and a job that paid little with not enough hours. Fears were very real on top of grieving. But God is our provider and stability. Less than a month after my husband's death, I found a job ad in the newspaper. God was redeeming my hopelessness into hope! I felt very much like the Widow at Zarephath when God redeemed her instability to stability!
King Ahab of Israel did evil in God's eyes. As a result, Elijah prophesied that there would be no rain for 3½ years. This caused a famine and instability in the land. Many struggled, including a Gentile widow at Zarephath in the land of Sidon. She was in a desperate situation. She found herself looking at her last bit of flour. Not only did she worry about herself, but she also had a son to feed! Her plan was not ideal. She resorted to making one last meal for herself and her son to eat. Afterward they would wait to die. How desperate and helpless this widow must have felt! Not only did she not have enough food, but she also did not have enough hope! Instability often breeds hopelessness.
Desperate and without hope, the widow got busy gathering what she could. She gathered sticks for a fire in preparation of making their last meal. God led Elijah to the Widow. The first "test of trust" was when he asked her for a simple cup of water. It may have been to see if she would be willing to help. As she was getting the cup of water, the second "test of trust" came when he asked her to bring him a piece of bread as he was hungry. She was probably thinking, "How can I feed you, when I don't have enough to feed us?" She explained her desperate situation to him. Though Elijah didn't have food or provision, he brought much more to the circumstance... he brought hope! At that moment, she was unaware that God was already preparing for her provision.
Elijah first spoke to her fear. Then told her to go ahead and make bread from the last of her flour and oil, with one request...that she give him some bread first. Wow, that sounds like a selfish request, but it was not! It was a test of trust during her time of instability. Then the Word from the Lord came... "For thus says the Lord God of Israel, 'the bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth" (1 Kings 17:14 NKJV).
The Widow chose to trust in a redeeming God! In her obedience, she learned that God always keeps His word! As verse 16 says, "The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah." God redeemed the widow's life-threatening instability. He graciously filled her empty vessel providing the stability the widow needed to not only sustain her and her son with food, but also with life transforming faith and hope in the God of Elijah!
If you would like to be able to do a complete study of Session Five, order a copy of HER STORY: Redeemed by contacting Empowered Women's Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 817.554.5900 ext. 371. Available also at pcg.org/resources or Amazon.
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