Summary: Through one of his many miracles Elijah leads the widow of Zarephath to trust the Word that he speaks as the LORD’s prophet.
“What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you?” Time and time again the Jews asked Jesus to perform miracles as a sign of his power and as proof of his claims. They implied that they would put their faith in him if he did a miracle at their request. But to those who wanted to see miracles with no intention of listening to his message our Savior said, “4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign.”
We can understand Jesus’ reaction when we remember the purpose for his miracles. He did them to confirm whom he was and the message he was sent to speak. When driving out demons, healing the sick, or raising the dead started getting in the way of his message Jesus usually stopped doing those things. However when those miracles were serving to convince people that they should listen to him he kept on working such wonders.
In our Old Testament lesson for this morning we have an example of a miraculous sign confirming a message from God. We heard about Elijah raising a widow’s son from the dead. When she saw that demonstration of God’s power it confirmed for her who Elijah was and more importantly the message he had been preaching.
In his letter to the Romans the Apostle Paul stated that, “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” This miracle is recorded in God’s Word for our learning and our encouragement. How does it apply to us? Well, think of all the times we have been slow to believe what God says. And also think of all the times we have demanded some miraculous sign from God. We might have said, “Lord, prove you are out there by giving me a sign! Show me a miracle! Prove your power! Prove that you love me by doing this or that for me!” But we know that God doesn’t work that way. Oh, he definitely can and does perform miracles for us. However he doesn’t do them at the snap of our fingers. And most of all God wants us to put our faith in what he says. God’s desire for us is that we trust his Word with or without miracles.
Understanding that we also can’t overlook the miracles that God has performed in our lives through his Word. In his wisdom God puts his power in the Scriptures. By connecting this account of Elijah raising the widow at Zarephath’s son to your life may the Holy Spirit enable each of you to:
“RECOGNIZE GOD’S POWER IN YOUR LIFE”
I. As he replaces death with life
II. As he replaces doubt with faith
You may know some of the background behind these verses. Under the leadership of King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel God’s people were worshipping idols. The majority of the people were also living immoral lives contrary to God’s Commandments. Because of this Elijah, a prophet for the LORD God, pronounced a curse on the land saying that there wouldn’t be any rain or dew for several years. This made Elijah a hated and hunted enemy of King Ahab. So Elijah went into hiding. For a time God provided food and water for him along a brook. After the brook dried up because of the drought the LORD sent Elijah to a widow’s house in a town called Zarephath—outside of Israel. You may remember how God used a miracle to feed his prophet and the widow and her son. He caused a jar of oil and a jug of flour to never be used up.
But then God allowed tragedy to strike the house where his prophet was staying. The widow’s son became sick. In time he died. Both the widow and the prophet wondered why God let that happen. But through that time of testing God revealed his power. He showed his power by replacing death with life and doubt with faith.
“17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, ‘‘What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” Holding her dead son in her arms the widow speculated about why it had happened. Had the “man of God” caused this? Did he do it to punish her for a sin from her past?
Elijah didn’t let the widow’s speculating go on for very long. “19 ‘Give me your son,’ Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD, ‘O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?’ 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, ‘O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!’ 22 The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.” Elijah was reminded that God can do more than just control the weather! He has power over death itself. He has the power to replace death with life.