Everyone sooner or later experiences the fear of shortage. Will the job run out? Will the food run out? Will the paycheck, retirement, or social security run out? Will we have enough? James 5:17 says, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours….” This means he was human, having all the same fears, emotions, and insufficiencies we have. He was an ordinary person, and yet God used him to do extraordinary things. As we look at part of his story in 1 Kings 17, we will see how his faith, and the faith of a widow, far surpassed any fear.
The Place of Faith
In 1 Kings 17:1, Elijah tells King Ahab that there was going to be a drought. The drought was judgment on the nation for idolatry. Talk about a tough message to deliver! Then, in verses 3-4, the Lord tells Elijah, “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” Can you imagine the fears?! Ravens were going to be the ones that fed him?! Josiah Hopkins tells the story of years ago when he was in the army. He was ordered to go to France but got permission to remain behind ten days for letters. None came. When he got to France the mail was already there! The commanding officer said: “In the army, the letters go where the orders read.” In the Kingdom of God, the blessings go where the orders read. All we have to do is go where God tells us to go and do what God tells us to do, and we can trust Him to provide all we need!
“And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land” (v. 7). Just because you are a Christian does not mean you will never face hard times. In the will of God, jobs and bank accounts can dry up. But, when God closes one door, He opens another door! “Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you’” (v. 8-9). Don’t give up! The place of blessing is walking with God. All we have to do is obey. He does not want us to trust in the gift but the Giver! Needs build our faith in God.
The Principle of Faith
The widow in this story was a gentile woman with limited resources. Reading verses 10-12 you see that she is broke, depressed, and suicidal! But, God’s ways are not our ways. He often uses unlikely people in unlikely places to meet our needs. The very thing the widow did not have is what Elijah asked her for. This is the “first” principle that is taught throughout scripture. God must be first. He cannot be second. When we give God our first and best, whether it’s the first hour of every day in personal time with him, the first day of every week in worship with other believers, or the first dime of every dollar through tithing, it is then that He blesses. The principle is give what you need. If you need encouragement, give it. If you need a phone call, make one. If you need money, be generous to someone else. You reap what you sow and you reap more than you sow! “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mt. 6:31-33).
The Power of Faith
As we read the end of this story, we read that “there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah” (v. 15-16). Additionally, the woman’s son became sick and died and God used the faith of Elijah to heal him and raise him back to life. When the place of our faith is the person of Jesus, not our own selves or possessions, and when the principle of our faith is to obey and put God first no matter how backwards it may seem, we see God’s wonder-working power do the impossible! He is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. He is our source. There is no insufficiency that He is not able to overcome.
“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” (Eph. 3:20-21).