After a while the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land; and the word of the Lord came to him: Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you (vs.7-9). Zarephath was in Sidon where Queen Jezebel was from, it was also where Baal worship was predominant. So, God sent Elijah to live among His enemies for a while. YAHSHUA, in His teaching, said this of the widow who He sent Elijah to: But in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were closed up for three years and six months, so that there came a great famine over all the land, and yet Elijah was not sent to a single one of them, but only to Zarephath in the country of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow (Luke 4:25-26). YAHSHUA also mentioned that no prophet is acceptable in his own country (vs.24). Could it have been the reason why God sent Elijah to a foreign widow?
Elijah arose and went to Zarephath, as the Lord told him to. Arriving at the gate of the city, he saw the widow gathering sticks to cook her last meal. He called to her and asked for water, which she readily went to get it for him. Elijah then asked her to bring him a morsel of bread as well. She then gave Elijah the somber picture of the reality of the famine that was going around. She said, I have not a loaf baked but only a handful of meal in the jar and a little oil in the bottle. I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it- and die (vs.10-12). Here comes a test of faith: Elijah said to her, Fear not; go and do as you have said. But make me a little cake of [it] first and bring it to me, and afterward prepare some for yourself and your son for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: The jar of meal shall not waste away or the bottle of oil fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth (vs.13-14). The words that Elijah spoke had merits on the fact that those were the God of Israel’s words. I wonder how much the widow knew about the “God of Israel;” Did she know that the man who was speaking to her was a prophet of God? Perhaps by the way he dressed, he was distinguished as such. Whatever the case, we know that she was chosen by the living God to help Elijah in those days of drought; that in itself confirmed the fact, knowing about Him or not. By doing what Elijah asked her to do, she became a partaker of God’s supernatural blessings. As Elijah had said, The jar of meal shall not waste away or the bottle of oil fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth, and it happened exactly. The widow was then a witness of the acts of true God and the recipient of His blessings, because of her faith shown by her willingness to serve Elijah first from all she had in time of severe famine.
However, she was yet to see a greater miracle coming her way, when her son died as a result of a severe sickness. She cried to Elijah, feeling the guilt of her past, saying, What have you against me, O man of God? Have you come to me to call my sin to remembrance and to slay my son? (17:17-18). But Elijah did not respond to her question, only he asked her for her son; he cried to the Lord saying, O Lord my God, have You brought further calamity upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? He stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord saying, O Lord my God, I pray You, let this child’s soul come back into him (vs.19-21). If this widow still had any doubt about Elijah’s God, this miracle surely erased that from her mind when Elijah brought her child down and gave him back to her saying, See, your son is alive! Then she responded saying to Elijah, By this I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth (vs.23-24). We do not know if her child was to die at a time when Elijah would not have been there; all we know is that what happened that day was for the glory of God and His word. This miracle brought the widow deliverance from paganism to faith in the true God; from death to life.
Our God is the God of miracles yesterday, today and always. His ways are consistent with Whom He is. Walking in faith opens the door for us to perceive the everyday small miracles in our life. Elijah was available to serve Him through obedience; the widow, although ignorant of Whom He was, followed the path that led her to be recipient of God’s blessings, and ultimately, came to believe in Him- to be the only true and eternal God. If He can use a bird to accomplish His will to someone’s life, He surely can use us, humans. So, here remains the fact that Elijah, the raven and the widow in harmony with God’s purpose, were centered in God’s will for the world to see. Each in their task pointed out to the source of all blessing. To Him be glory now and forever more!