My thoughts have been in I Kings 17 this week. I’ve always loved Elijah. Through his life I have seen a great example of obedience. Our youngest child is named Brooke Cherith, after the place where God sustained Elijah’s life by having ravens feed him. After this scene we find him being sent to the widow at Zarephath. The Bible says that God had already commanded her to care for him. I wondered if she felt relieved when at first he only asks for a drink. She’s happy to get that for him. But on the way to get water, he adds the “little request” about bringing him food. This is different. She immediately tells him of her plight. She’s either a very dramatic person or she really thinks she and her son will soon starve to death. Elijah assures her that if she will feed him, she and her son will eat until rain falls. All seems pretty good at this point. One might argue that her faith is in this prophet, but he says he is speaking for God. Maybe a seed of faith is planted in her heart. She has to know this is definitly supernatural. Maybe she is wondering if God is blessing her only because of her care for Elijah. Everything seems to come to a screeching halt spiritually when her son gets sick and dies. She lashes out at Elijah as if he killed the boy. She questions whether or not he’s come to call her “sin to remembrance”. She no doubt thought she was being punished. What happened next is so amazing. Even though it wasn’t customary for anyone to touch a dead body except for family, Elijah says “Give me thy son”. He took him up to his loft and laid him on his own bed. He literally begs God for his soul to come back into his body. The Lord heard Elijah and the boy was revived. It was in that moment that the widows faith blossomed; she knew that what Elijah had been saying was true; that he was speaking words for the God of heaven. I’m guessing that she truly felt loved by God personally. He gave her the gift of her sons life…again.
There seemed to be a progression in Elijah’s life; a time of testing (Brooke Cherith), a time of provision (Zarephath)and then a time of powerful proclamation (Mount Carmel). He seemed to be obedient in each of these phases of life, but I’m sure he learned important things about God in each season, just like we do. It’s a good thing we are not in control of the “wheel of life”. It would be boring–maybe easier on us, but surley not a life that requires faith and dependence on God. The story of Elijah continues on to the victories at Mount Carmel, but my mind is still in Zarephath; the place that means “smelting place”. It was a place where metal-work was done. I can see the metal being heated and molded into something useful. I feel like I’m in Zarephath. God is showing me that he sustains the meal and oil of life. I’m called to obedience and trust. The fireworks at Carmel is beautiful and amazing, but I can also imagine amazement in the eyes of Elijah, the widow and her son as they tipped the vessel each day and food was again supplied. They witnessed a miracle every single day; every single meal.! Let’s take time to bask in the miracle of the daily blessings and provisions that God so faithfully gives. Let’s enjoy the close fellowship and love God gives us in our Zarephath.