The widow of Zarephath

Widow of Zarephath

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  • When water of brook Cherith dried up because of the severe famine, Lord commanded Elijah to go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon to dwell at one widow’s house, who was very poor and weak. Elijah found her gathering sticks, so she may prepare bread from handful of flour in a bin and a little oil in a jar. All that she had was only the handful of flour in a bin and a little oil in a jar. But the Lord commanded His great Prophet to go to this poor widow’s house. God’s ways are higher and different from our ways! If we have to instruct Elijah, we could have sent him to somebody who is rich. And how Elijah responded to this command! Yes he humbled before the Lord, and went to her house without any question (1 Kgs.17:8-16).
  • Then Elijah asked this poor widow to prepare a small bread for him and to give him first, not to her starving son and to herself. This demand of Elijah sounds very selfish and cruel, isn’t it! How can he ask that! But he was doing just what the Lord had commanded him to do.  She replied him that all that I have is very little for me and my son, and then nothing is left to survive. But Elijah gave assurance of the Lord that, 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.’How she responded to Elijah! She believed in the promise of the Lord and did according tothe word of Elijah. She sowed in faith. Her step was very big, risking her and her son’s lives. But she acted in faith, trusting fully in the Lord and in His promise. This might be a reason, why God had sent Elijah to this poor widow’s house! And what happened next!! It is written that he and her 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. Not only Elijah, but she and her son sustained in that severe famine. What if she would not have done according to the word of Elijah? She and her son would have died in that great famine.
  • This incident took place in Old Testament, but many years later, Jesus remembers the widow of Zarephath in Luke 4:25,26 “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except toZarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow”. Jesus commended her act of faith and seed, sown in faith.
  • What more she could need when the Saviour Himself considered, remembered and took account of her bold step of faith, many years later!!

Anjali Jose

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