Summary: Today we are going to read about a woman whose faith is expressed through generosity. It is found for us in 1 Kings Chapter 17. In chapter 17, Elijah has just declared that no rain will fall in Israel for a period of years. We read how the Lord provides f
Last week we began looking at some men and women of the Old Testament. We began this with a man by the name of Noah. He was commended for his faith in Hebrews 11, and we saw that because of his faith, he was obedient. He was obedient in his submission, and in his service. These were an expression of his great faith. He submitted himself to God’s plan even though he probably had no idea what an ark was. He committed himself to the service of the Lord because God told him he was going to destroy the earth. Noah believed what God said and served accordingly. Both submission and service were acts of faith. Today we are going to read about a woman whose faith is expressed through generosity. It is found for us in 1 Kings Chapter 17. In chapter 17, Elijah has just declared that no rain will fall in Israel for a period of years. We read how the Lord provides for Elijah by the banks of the brook Cherith. This is when the ravens bring him food and he drinks from the brook. After a period of time the brook dries up and God sends Elijah to Zarephath, there God has commanded a widow to care for him. Let’s read our text for this morning, it’s 1 Kings 17:8-16….
“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. “
The first thing I want us to notice here is that the Lord prepared an opportunity for the widow to be generous.
That’s right, I said an opportunity! She had an opportunity to be generous. Sometimes we feel like generosity is an obligation, but in reality it is an opportunity to give back to the Lord. God chose this specific widow for the task. If she didn’t accept the opportunity, do you think Elijah would have gone hungry? No, God would have offered the opportunity to someone else. How many times do we pass up an opportunity that God has given us to be generous? By giving up our chance, we don’t stop God’s will from being done, but we give up an opportunity not just to be generous, but to receive a blessing! Because of her generosity, her and her son had plenty to last through the drought.
2. Her Openness
Sometimes we feel as though we don’t have enough to give, and this may have been the case for the widow. When asked for some bread, she told Elijah “I’ve got enough for one small loaf for me and my son and then we will die”. She didn’t lie. She didn’t try to make herself out as a martyr. She just spoke the truth! Remember in the book of Acts the story of Ananias and Sapphira. They said they gave all they had received. They lied about their offering. Guess what their reward was? God struck them both dead! Sometimes we are asked to give when we feel like we can’t. that was the case with the widow, she stated her position, and based on God’s word she gave anyway! God never expects more from us than He can provide. Elijah didn’t ask the widow for a full meal, just some bread and water. God’s not going to ask you to give a million dollars if He hasn’t given you a million. But, He will ask for a portion of what He has provided. Openness doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone what your finances are, but I think it calls for us to be open and up front with ourselves, and stop making excuses!