(Case study of widow of Zarephath)
Many a times we face what i would describe a hopeless situation. A situation where it seems all hope is lost and we have come to our wits end. We may have sought for human assistance and they may have tried their possible best and yet the condition and the situation remains the same. This is where divine intervention and timely one for that matter is needed most. How do we receive such divine intervention at such time is what is discussed in this article.
1Ki 17:8-16 KJV 8 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, 9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.
In the text we read, there was famine in the land. All the waters and rivers had dried because there was no rain for three and half years. Famine is a period of lack, lack of food, lack of water, lack of basic amenities, lack of necessities of life.
There is presently famine in many parts of the world. Even though rain falls and there are agricultural products around us, many will testify that there is lack. There is lack of jobs for universities graduates, there is lack of basic amenities, there is lack of money for businesses, there is lack of marriages for eligible youths and there is lack of basic social amenities in the society.
Can I pray for you?. Every form of lack in anyone’s life shall be settled this year in the name of Jesus.
The yoke of famine shall be broken in your home, it shall be broken in your business, and it shall be broken over your destiny in Jesus name.
That was the situation in Israel at this time. There was a great famine. Elijah was sent to Zarephath. To a widow woman. This woman had a son. She was gathering some stick at the gate to cook some foods.
Elijah met her and requested for water, the woman obliged and was going to get the water when Elijah beckoned on her and asked for food. The woman turned back and told Elijah that there was no food. She can give water, but as for food, there was no more food in the house.
What she was doing was to gather woods and cook the last meal with the remaining flour in the house for herself and her son and after that, they will die.
Elijah would be shocked to hear “die”. Why will you die? The woman told him because there was no more foodstuff, after they finished eating this last one, that is it. No food in the market, they were not expecting food or palliatives from federal government or state government, nobody is sending them food, in short there is no hope to survive. They have come to the end of the road. This is the last meal for the family.
There are many of us in the like situation, there are many people today facing the same situation like this, one way or the other, its like we have come to the end of the road, it may not be in food matter, it may be in finances, it may be in marital matter, it may be in business and work related matter. It seems there is no hope, everything seems to be stagnated and frustrating. It is an hopeless situation just like this woman. But I have come to tell you this morning that man extremity is God’s opportunity. God saw this woman and her condition and God decided to intervene in her matter.
That same God will intervene in my situation and in your situations in Jesus name.
How did God solve this problem?
- Whenever God wants to intervene in a mans life, He sends a man to him, he could be a man of God, a pastor, a prophet, a woman, but God normally send a man to him. God intervene in a mans life through man.
The Lord Jesus made mention of this account.
Luk 4:25-26 KJV 25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
You see there were many widows in Israel yet Elijah was not sent to any except this particular woman.
There were many lepers in Israel at the time of Elisha, how many of them received cleansing? Hear what the Lord said:
Luk 4:27 KJV And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
I pray for you, the grace that will single you out is on you this day in Jesus name.
There are may be many people suffering the same affliction in an institution, in a family, in a town but when grace appear, the grace will locate the person and separate him or her out of the crowd, that same grace has located you today in Jesus name.
God send His man to the woman. The person that God will use to change your life and turn your situation around may you not miss them in Jesus name.
- Another factor is that the woman was hospitable despite her condition and situation. There are many people facing the same challenge that will abuse the man of God, pursue him and say all manner of insult on him but the woman received Elijah and obliged to entertained him with water. Many have missed their sent angel, people assigned to help them or marry them because of their hot temper, hostility towards strangers. Bible warns us against such behaviour.
Heb 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
1Pe 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
It was through entertaining of strangers that Abraham was connected to his blessings.
- The woman was a woman of faith. She believed the man of God even though she had not met Elijah or heard about him before. When we believe the word of God through the men of God we set ourselves up for prosperity.
2Ch 20:20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
- When God wants to meet your need, He requires a seed. The seed is the answer to the need.
How could God send Elijah to a widow? If we were God, we will send Elijah to the government house or welfare commission but God sent his servant to a needy woman in order to help her. This is what I have discovered anytime God want to bless people, He creates needs, the people that are sensitive and spiritual detects the need and key into it. And that is their breakthrough. Whereas others will complain about Pastor, saying, “Pastor is asking us to contribute, donate money again, its too much, he want to kill us”. They did not know that it is an opportunity to key in to Gods way of prospering people. They miss it. May you not miss your opportunity in life in Jesus name. Sometime people think they are trying to help remove poverty from the life of the man of God but it is the other way round. God is trying to get His blessing towards them.
- Most time the seed require may be costly and expensive to give. To the woman, she was given her last meal, her last flour as a seed to a man of God. God sometimes require sacrificial seed. Something that will cost you something, something that it will take faith for you to give it out. Hear what David says:
2Sam 24:24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
When you give it, the promise of God will come to pass in your life, your need will will be met. Like that of the woman, when she gave her last meal, her vessels of food never dried up.
Isa 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
2Cor 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
6. The woman gave God priority.
When Elijah said “prepare mine first”. She did it without further hesitation and she had a wonderful and glorious testimony. Many of us put God matter, business, church activities as the very last in our schedule. We have enough excuses why we can’t attend to the matter of the kingdom. I am not condemning you, but who wants Gods best will give Him their best time, best money and above all best priority. This is what Jesus said.
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
How did her story changed?
This woman sad story changed to glorious end. How? By the prophecy of Elijah.
1Ki 17:13-14 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
Ladies and gentlemen, anytime we are in need, or we are troubled, dissatisfied, oppressed, or in need of anything, all we need to do is to speak this word of God to that need. Elijah spoke and the Bible recorded that truly the barrel of meal did not waste while the famine lasted.