Lessons from Elijah and the Widow

We’ve been so busy working on the other house, that I haven’t had much time to write, so I thought I would just use the notes I’ve written from my own daily Bible reading.  I’m currently following the ‘Bible in One Year’ plan, it can be found on the YouVersion Bible app, as well as a stand alone app (BiOY).  I also follow our own homeschool Bible reading plan (Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, and New Testament).

Today I wrote a few notes down from our OT reading, 1 Kings 17, the story is of Elijah being fed by the ravens and then by the widow at Zarephath.  A few things I gleaned in this lesson was that God could have continued to feed Elijah by the ravens and supernaturally kept the brook from drying up – but God knew that Elijah could bless and encourage the widow, so He sent him to her.  My sons wondered why did it take the widow’s son being resurrected to acknowledge God (plenty of prophetic symbolism pointing to Jesus right here).  They reasoned that after they had been miraculously fed for some time later (days or weeks) – when originally the widow only had enough to make bread one day for the two of them; wouldn’t that have been enough for the widow to believe?

My response was that this is actually something common, this happens to most of us – we receive God’s blessings and provisions daily but we take it for granted (that’s why if you’ve never done a prayer journal, it’s a great way to look back and see how God has answered prayers and provided in ways you didn’t think possible).  Sometimes we feel as if God has abandoned us, the widow asked Elijah why he came to her if he was going to allow her son to be killed because of her sins.  All too often, we allow ourselves to feel distant from God – when it’s our heart that separated us from God – not necessarily on purpose, we can get into a routine especially if life is going well, we tend to trust in ourselves instead of God.

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

(James 4:8 NLT)

I also wondered if Elijah needed the provision of the ravens to strengthen and encourage him, so that when he got to the widow, he could encourage the widow.  Now as Elijah has his faith strengthened, the widow’s son dies and obviously Elijah was distraught as well, but he knew enough that he needed to get the dead boy from his mother (the widow wasn’t a believer, she was full of doubts still, which even Jesus said He couldn’t do miracles due to unbelief).  Elijah called out to God and he didn’t just cry out – he moved [faith in action], for whatever reason he believed he need to stretch himself out on the child (an amazing act of faith in itself, the Holy Spirit probably told him what to do and he obeyed) not just once, but three times he repeated this  – keep on going to God in prayer, don’t stop until you receive!

We can’t stop just because we don’t see what we’re expecting, when we bring our prayers to God, He hears us – His timing is perfect.  I believe this story of provision with Elijah is filled with lessons we can use in our own faith today.  These are not just ‘stories’, they are truth that God uses to build us up and encourage us – just as Elijah and the widow were encouraged.  Think about the town Zarephath, I imagine that town experienced quite a revival once word got around about the widow’s miracles.

Comfort and Encourage

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