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  The Widow At Zerephath  

Prophet Elijah was sent with an unpopular message to a hostile audience - King Ahab and Jezebel. They wanted him dead from their very first encounter. To establish his God-given authority, Elijah explained that there would neither be dew nor rain for next few years except at Elijah's word.

1 Kings 17:7-24
7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.
8 Then the word of the LORD came to him:
9 "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food."
10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?"
11 As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."
12 "As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread--only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it--and die."
13 Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.
14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.'"
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
16 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.
17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.
18 She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?"
19 "Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed.
20 Then he cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?"
21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!"
22 The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived.
23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, "Look, your son is alive!"
24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."

Being a widow itself must have been challenging. However, facing lack of water, dry famine, and parched land must have felt like a hopeless situation especially with a son to support.

1 Kings 17:7-9
- God has a mysterious yet humorous way of meeting our needs.
- He tells Elijah that he has chosen a widow to supply his needs.
- God chooses anyone to accomplish his work.
- Do you believe that God has chosen you to accomplish his will?
- Do you believe that God can use an insignificant, ordinary nobody to be of great help to you, in your time of need?

1 Kings 17:10-14
- The widow had no hope.
- Her plan was to cook the last meal and then wait for death.
- Elijah was sent by God to be her provider.
- The person who asked her to share her last meal became the saviour for her and her son.
- The person who was to be a burden to her became her burden bearer.
- She and her son survived because she decided to obey.
- She was blessed because she obeyed even when it was difficult for her to obey.
- Do we obey God's word, even when it is difficult?
- Are we willing to be generous with what little we have, so that God can continue to meet our needs?

1 Kings 17:15-16
- When the widow decided to trust God and obey the prophet with whatever little she had, God blessed her and her family with daily needs.
- God is our provider. He provides for us. Sometimes he provides for us in mysterious ways, through mysterious people in unusual circumstances.

1 Kings 17:17-24
- We all love our children. We do not want anything bad to happen to our children.
- We do everything to make sure that our children gets the best: best clothes, best education etc.
- The widow's son survived the famine only to die mysteriously later on due to illness.
- What a tragedy! What heartbreak!
- When tragedy strikes us, what is our response?
- Do we blame God? Do we blame people around us? Or do we respond like this widow?
- This widow looked at her life, her sin, and her action.
- God gave her back her son reminding us all that what we have is given by God and he has every right to take it back, whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
- We can only have the response of Job, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the lord be praised." ( Job 1:21)

Write down what you feel is very difficult for you to obey right now and pray that God will give you the strength to obey even when it is difficult.