Learning to trust in God's promises is a life or death decision. Life to those who step in faith and death to those who fall away. We'll be doing a bible study on 1 Kings 17 and will be seeing this truth reveal itself through scripture.
1 Kings 17:1-6
1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. 2 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, 3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. 5 So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
Why did God send the drought?
"Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it"
During time Ahab was ruling over Israel for 22 years. He setup altars to Baal, made groves, and rebuilt Jericho by the hand of Hiel. Joshua 6:26 says that whoever builds up Jericho is cursed and Heil actually fulfilled the prophetic word in that verse specifically.
God's response to all this wickedness was to sending a drought. But notice how patient God is, Ahab was ruling for 22 years before God had enough of his wickedness. In this drought there is no dew nor rain, this inevitably stops all agriculture, livestock, water springs, and rivers. The result of this drought is a famine after enough time.
Elijah Meets the Widow
1 Kings 17:7-14
7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 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"
Connecting the dots to the New Testament
Just like Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:13, whoever drinks of him will never thirst again. Jesus was providing for Elijah the same way he's provided for you, by his word, Matthew 4:4 "... It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.". Although all of Jerusalem was facing a drought, Elijah was being fed by God's word, God's word commanded the birds to feed him, the same word that commanded the rain & dew to stop.
Regardless of the circumstances God will make a way because he promises to deliver his children.
“even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God."
"And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."
Notice how Elijah had food from the birds, but his source of water dried up. Verse 7 says that the stream Elijah was living off of dried up. If a stream dries up it implies the drought has hit a larger scale. In verse 10 and 11, Elijah asks the widow for water, but this raises another question, where was she getting this water? Elijah then prophecies that God will not let their meat and oil deplete, God didn't say anything about the water. She must have had a deep well to have lasted this long.
Now look at it this way, Elijah had food but needed water, the widow had water but food. They needed each other's blessings to survive! Elijah being a prophet brought the everlasting words from God which were literal words regarding food, and the widow had a supply of water, in a drought! But notice something, when Elijah asks for water the widow didn't say anything, it wasn't until Elijah asked for food that she then resisted him.
God isn't moved when we give out of our excess, it's when we give from our reserves God sees it as a greater sacrifice. Mark 12:41-44 Jesus sees everyone giving to the temple offerings, yet Jesus says everyone is giving out of their excess. And when a widow gave only two cents, Jesus says she gave all that she had, making her sacrifice more in the eyes of God. The widow in 1 Kings 17 had only had two sticks to make a fire for her and her son used to them feed Elijah. You can see how these two widows mirror each other in their sacrifice! Giving all you have is giving in faith, you put yourself in a position where you won't survive without God's hand. And this is what God has always wanted! But if the widow didn't provide for Elijah, it certainly would have been her last meal!
Don't make the mistake of eating your last meal, God is squeezing every drop of faith out of you before the breakthrough.
Analyzing the Widow's Faith
God tells Elijah he has commanded a woman to sustain him (Elijah) in 1 Kings 17:9. So we can already conclude this woman must have heard from God to begin with. When Elijah asks for bread and water, she doesn't immediately obey, rather says in verse 12 that she has only has two sticks for a fire, and only a little bit of oil left.
Two sticks isn't going to make a big fire, but it's better than no sticks. Just like her sticks, bread, and oil, this woman's faith was dwindling but wasn't absent. The word God gave her was that she'd sustain Elijah, the answer to "how she'd sustain Elijah" was found in obedience to Elijah.
Often times God will give you partial words that require blind obedience to get the next step.
Elijah was being sustained off the birds and this woman was down to her last meal, regardless of how it looked, her actions says it all. She prepares Elijah her last meal in obedience and breakthrough follows. She might have been wondering HOW God would provide for her and her son, but the HOW isn't revealed until your obedience is given.
Obedience brings breakthrough and breakthrough brings promise.
God gave her another word promising she would have an endless amount of food that would last until the next promise, the promise of rain. Some of us are focused on the rain, but the rain won't come until Elijah takes residence in our homes. Elijah might be a struggling brother or sister in Christ, it might be the homeless person you pass each day on the way home from work, or it might be deeper levels of commitment with Christ in prayer. Whoever Elijah is, let him in.
Word Curses and The boy
1 Kings 17:15-24
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.17 And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. 20 And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. 22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. 24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.
This widow suffered from a lack of faith, it wasn't until her son was resurrected from the dead that she believed Elijah was a man of God. Let's look at the miracles that came to pass:
God gives her a word directing her to sustain Elijah
Elijah shows up fulfilling the word God gave her prior
The word Elijah releases regarding the endless food & oil supply comes to pass
After all this, when her son gets sick she comes at Elijah like it's his fault for her son dying. The anointing makes the worst in people manifest. Look at how she addresses Elijah,1 Kings 17:18 " And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?" Interestingly enough, she confesses at the end of this story that she didn't even believe he was a man of God until the boy was raised from the dead. This begs the question, what made her confess this? The unclean spirit the exorcists (notice the only time exorcists is used in scripture is when people do deliverance wrong and suffer real pain from a demon! Exorcism performed by Catholics is based in error!) tried to cast out in Acts 19:15 confess they knew Jesus & Paul, and in Acts 16:16-18 the slave girl with the spirit of divination was confessing Paul and Silas to be servants of God.
In a miraculous display of God's grace and love, he answers Elijah's prayer and resurrects her boy from the dead.
Don't let a lack of faith cause you to bite the hand that feeds you!
Power in the Tongue
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue"
Her son's death was a result of her lack of faith, the widow says in 1 Kings 17:12 " 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" Be careful what you say, God just might honor it. But as much as God honored her words against her son, she also honored Elijah's prayer. Elijah's faith causes God to her his prayer and resurrect her son.
As true as God's word bring life, a lack of faith will bring death. When you start your walk with God he'll put trial and tests in front of you that seem impossible, but never forget that you can do all things through Christ!
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."
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