Sermons

Summary: What would you do if God asked you to give the very last of your possessions to a complete stranger? This episode in the life of Elijah, shows us what real faith is all about.

THE WISDOM OF A WIDOW

I Kings 17:8-16

The sun beats down unmercifully upon the tiny town of Zarephath, a remote village well to

the north of the land of Palestine. It is there that a fraw widow woman searches for sticks.

Why is she searching for sticks? She is searching for sticks because she has no more fuel, and

must find something to help her prepare one last meal for her and her son. You see, it hasn’t

rained inover 3 years. the land is hard and dry and parched and barren. There is a terrible

famine. And as usual, the poorest are hit the hardest.

She is resigned to the fact that there is nothing else she can do to sustain her own life. But

for the sake of her son, with the hopes that he might somehow survive, she gathers up sticks,

trying to ignore the stomach pains and fatigue, yet feeling her life force slowly ebbing away.

As she bends down to pick up a dead, dry chunk of wook, she sees in the corner of her eye,

from a distance, the hazy figure of a man apporaching the town gates. She glances up and as he

draws nearer, she can tell by his attire that this stranger is a Jew. And she marvels in the fact

that he looks relatively healthy, well-fed, almost portly in appearance (she doesn’t know that

this man of God has been fed each day by Ravens sent by God!”)

And this stranger, this middle-aged Jewish man, walks up to the sin-sick widow, and makes a

request. “Mayu I have some water to drink?” She is preparing to die, with barely enough

energy to complete her chores, and this stranger has the audacity to ask for a drink of HER

precious water! What would you do? What would you say? We would likely say, “Get you own

water stranger, I’ve got to worry about myself!”, or “I’m the last person in the world you should

be asking for provisions”, or at theast (out of politeness) we might say, “I’m sorry sir, I cannot

help you. Perhaps some wealthy citizen of this town could be of assistance.”

INSTEAD, she offers no resistance at all. she quickly gets up and hurries over to her water

jug, to fetch him some water. THEN, he pushes the issue. “While you’re at it Ma’am, could you

also give me a little bread to eat?” WHO IS THIS MAN?

She turns to the prophet and sadly confesses her flight. she explains to him that she only

has enough flour and oil to make one last meal for her and her son. She expleains that they are

starving and near the point of death. After an explanation like that, we might expect an apology

out of Elijah. but instead, he is even more pervasive.

“Well then”, he exclaims, “please use the last of your flour and the last or your oil and make

me a cake of bread and let me eat it!” Then he adds, “God has promised that if you will serve

me what you have, He will take care of you!” WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

They say that there is nothing among men as strong as a mother’s love for her children, YET

I want us to picture what may have happened next.

1. She walks into her mud hut. Her son is sleeping on a mat on the floor.

2. She begins to cook up the ingredients. (DESCRIBE the boy awaking to the pleasant aroma)

3. She turns her back to her own son and walks out the door, to ELIJAH!

4. She gives the cake to Elijah, (DESCRIBE the crumbs falling into his beard).

5. She goes back into her house. She is afraid to look in the jars. BUT WHEN SHE DOES...

THERE IS OIL! THERE IS FLOUR! {Read verse 15)

As we think about the faith that this wise widow exercised, it reminds us of our own journeys

of faith and trust in the Lord. Today, I want us to notice 3 similarities.

I THE PROBLEM

A Although she overcame it fairly quickly, there was a problem that the widow had to

contend with. Here was the problem.

1. She had something that was very precious to her.

2. God asked her to give it up.

B Though it doesn’t say much here, we can only imagine the struggle that went on within this

woman. After all, IT WAS ALL SHE HAD!

C “What’s the point? Are you saying that I need to go home to my pantry and give the rest

of my groceries to our preacher?” Exactly! (Just kidding)

But God does call upon us to be willing to give up, even that which is precious to us.

1. It may be a person. I.e. The girl I dated before meeting Pam.

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