This was during the time when Elijah had prayed it would not rain and it didn’t for three years. The ravens had fed Elijah supernaturally twice a day while he stayed by the brook in the Kerith Ravine. When the brook dried up the Lord told him to go to Zarephath of Sidon where He had commanded a widow to supply Elijah with food. When Elijah got to the city gates the woman was gathering sticks for a fire. He asked her for some water and then told her to bake him some bread.
If the Lord had told us that He had commanded a widow to supply us with food, we would probably have made the assumption that she was rich from her husband’s estate. The thought that she was so desperate and so near to the end of her supplies would not have entered our mind. But when Elijah asked her for the bread, her reply was: “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.” That would have shocked me but it didn’t faze Elijah at all. He simply told her to not be afraid. He was operating on faith based on his relationship with the Lord. The Lord told him what to do and he obeyed. He knew the Lord’s provision and His voice. His experience and his relationship prompted him to trust God and obey Him in the most unlikely of circumstances.
The widow also had a choice: either to obey in faith or ignore the request and die. She had been commanded by the Lord to feed Elijah but she could have reasoned within herself that there was simply no way this could happen. Her common sense could have won her over to living by sight not by faith. When he asked her, she told him what she thought was going to happen. But his words encouraged her faith and verified what she had heard from the Lord. She chose to act by faith in obedience to the word of the Lord. Because of her obedience to the word that came to her through her relationship with the Lord she fed Elijah, her son and herself from the same amount of flour and oil that she had that day. It did not run out until the drought was over.
His faith encouraged her faith to obey the voice of the Lord. The Lord honored that word by providing them with their daily bread as Jesus commanded us to pray in Matthew 6. Our circumstances are not to dictate our actions. We are to respond by faith to the word of the Lord.
(excerpt from Faith: The Currency of Heaven - available through this website/Amazon)
(image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)