God requires faith and in order to intimately know God, trust is necessary.
There are many stories in the Bible where faith is demonstrated and blessings then follow. Job, Esther, Moses, Mary….. Isaiah, Joshua, Joseph, and Ruth are just a few of the better-known accounts that have encouraged and inspired many. In fact, the Bible is packed with an endless supply of encouraging examples and stories of faith, but for some reason they are lesser known. Today, I want to share one such account that has given me personal fortification in my walk with Christ.
Every person and every event found in the Living Word has a purpose. Over time, each of us will find instruction from a specific account, encouragement to spur us on through our own trial, rest in a peace that transcends all understanding, hope in the midst of a struggle, and even confirmation to a personal prayer request asking for wisdom and guidance.
Today I want you to consider 1 Kings 17:8-16. Elijah the prophet informs Ahab that there will be no dew or rain. It takes amazing faith to make such a bold declaration but God was the one who gave Elijah these words. God was the one in control. Elijah was merely the mouthpiece of God.
As the drought continues, the brook that had been Elijah’s water supply dried up. The Lord again speaks to Elijah. “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”
Now we really see God in action! Not only is He speaking to Elijah, but He is also speaking to a woman of faith who hears His voice and obeys His commands. God often provides for us through others. We can all be the vessels through which God works.
When Elijaha gets to the gate of the city Zarephath, he sees a widow gathering sticks. He asks her to bring him a cup of water and a morsel of bread to eat.
So she said, “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.”
This widow was desperate and ready to die. However, she trusted God would provide for her and believed the words of Elijah.
“And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’” So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.”
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)
If you are in a desperate place (or even just an uncomfortable one) questioning whether God will provide for your needs, I hope this story boosts your faith and cheers you up. The widow had lost her husband. This was out of her control. God stepped in to provide for her just as her husband would carry out. The drought was not in her power to correct either. Starvation and death seemed a reality for this poor widow and yet, she gave the last of her flour to the prophet of God.
Sometimes, we have to get down to our last bit of flour and our last sip of water to finally understand that God always provides when we obediently trust and obey Him. Not only will God provide…. He will bless. God blessed the widow in a way far beyond her own thoughts and imagination! God provided a miraculous bin and bottle with an endless supply of flour and oil!
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 (NKJV)
“ And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)