Summary: This sermon is in a series on Elijah
Last week we saw how God invited Elijah to join him on a journey. A journey from the Cherith brook to the Village of Zarephath. We saw how God used this Journey to shape and sculpt Elijah into the man he was to become.
Finally, Elijah makes it to the village... And upon arriving at the gates of the village, he immediately sees a widow picking up sticks. We’re not sure how Elijah knew that she was the one. Perhaps she was the only one there or perhaps God pointed her out to Elijah, but nevertheless, Elijah found the widow that God had spoke about in the Brook.
With a desire to find out more. turn with me in your bibles to 1 Kings chapter 17 beginning in verse 10
Elijah is so confident that she is the one, that when she tells him all the reasons why his request is not possible, he still commands it asking her to trust Him and His God, and in doing so she and her family would be saved.
As I reflected upon this passage, one word continued to come to mind- Opportunity. Through this request, a door of hope and opportunity was offered to this rather unlikely receipient.
Over the next three Sunday mornings as we reflect upon this passage together, I want us to see this story through the lens of God’s opportunities to his chosen one. And in that same way I want us to see how God gave this Widow at least three opportunities: The opportunity to be saved, An opportunity to witness, and the opportunity to give.
This morning, though, I want to focus upon the opportunity afforded to the widow to be saved.
Several years ago a movie was made about the sinking of the titanitic, a ship that was reported to be unsinkable. The movie was well over three hours long; but it was the last 45 minutes that stuck with me. In these minutes we saw a glimpse into the people’s response to the impending disaster. There were some rushing to get to their personal safes to get their money and their jewels, Others who just sat in denial that their was a crisis at all, others, especially a string quartet just played- focusing solely upon their music, but others dropped everything to make it to the only place of true salvation- the lifeboats.
In the village of Zarephath the people of the village were faced with the same life disaster- not from an Ice berg but from a devastating drought, and I wonder if many of the people’s reactions may have been the same as those upon that great ship the Titantic.
As the drought progressed, many in the city I imagine thought little of the lack of rain, but as its absence continue, it became the topic of conversation in the courtyards, and later in the markets, as food became scarce and its prices began to soar, and finally it settled into the homes where the cupboards became more empty and their wells became dry. Once it reached this point of conversation the reality of the disaster loomed large.
In the midst of this consuming need a widow checked her own cupboard and found that her resources were just about up, as best as she could figure and ration, she could muster just enough flour and oil to make one tiny meal for her son and for herself.
After this meal, they would both surely die. As she walked to the entrance of the city at its gates to collect firewood for the oven to cook the bread, she came across a foreigner who asked her to do the impossible, fix him a meal. At the request she told the man her situation. Surely this would end the request, but instead the man said to her make him a meal, Trust and she would be saved. This man offered to her an Opportunity to be saved.
For this widow this opportunity was met with a personal choice.- an answer of yes or an answer of No.
In responding to this opportunity we see three things that needed to happen for the widow to accept the opportunity of salvation.
First, she had to come to the end of herself. She had to realize her need.
Second, She had to completlely trust and obey even when the request made no sense
Third, She had to accept the gift- the unending flour and oil- the bread of Life.