Way back long ago, many, many generations ago. Way back around 1Kings 17 in the bible, there was a severe famine in the land due to a long drought. Whenever it doesn’t rain for years the crops just will not grow.
During this drought there lived a man of God named Elijah. The Lord spoke to Elijah and told him to go to Zarephath and a widow would feed him. So he went.
Now already the request of God seems so absurd. Why Zarephath which by the way means, smelting shop, and why a poor widow? Why wouldn’t God send Elijah to a wealthy household which would be more likely to have goods?
Could it be God was about to smelt the widow? Maybe He was going to do a refining work in her?
When Elijah came to the city he saw the widow gathering sticks and asked her to fetch him water and a morsel of bread. She told him, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
Now Jesus once said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Look at what this widow said. “As the Lord your God lives.”
Have you ever had someone say to you, “well, that might work for you in your walk with God, but it doesn’t work for me?”
That would be the same type of thing. She says, “As the Lord your God lives.” Maybe at one time He was considered the Lord her God and the hard times have made her bitter against Him.
Maybe she never had real faith in God at any point and time and so she does not believe in Him.
The total reason for her statement is not made evident but we do know this, she definitely did not own God as her own, she clearly referred to Him as being Elijah’s, God.
But even more revealing is the attitude she is walking in.
“I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
There it is! This poor widow is far too aware of what she doesn’t have. If you were to find her on the street and ask her how things were going she would be able to tell you how bad she has it. She could list all the things she lacks.
There is no silver lining around her cloud that she can see. This woman is defeated, depressed and discouraged looking only towards dying.
About The Author
- Tim Atchley
- Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
- I currently serve as Senior Pastor of Harvest Church in Knoxville, Tn. I was sent out from Trinity Chapel of Knoxville in 1993 accompanied by my wife Sheila our four children Sarah, Hannah, Josiah & Isaac and a handful of bold, brave and committed believers determined to plant our first church. Pioneering is hard work but well worth the journey. That is why we desire to make disciples of Christ who will, like us, also embrace the call to plant churches.