11(1Kings 17,08-16) The Widow of Zarephath
§ Called for a drought upon Ahab and Israel because of their rebellion and their worship of Baal.
§ The drought would last 3 years, bringing both famine and disaster.
§ As soon as Elijah called for the drought, God sent him to the Brook Cherith.
§ There he would be sustained. (1 Kings 17:6)
§ When the brook dried up (1:17), God sent Elijah to see the widow who lived in Zarephath.
A. God sent Elijah to Zarephath of Phoenician Sidon, the very home of Jezebel.
§ Elijah might have understandably feared these people, but he was following where God led him.
§ Do not be afraid of what people can do when God is leading you to minister to those in need.
B. This also means that God met the needs of a non-Hebrew.
§ God was about to test her and draw her to dependence upon Himself, and she was not even of the promised seed of Abraham.
§ Where was the seed of Abraham? Busy disobeying God by worshiping the false idol of Baal.
C. This means we cannot keep God in our box of selective assistance.
§ We cannot say God only helps those who are already good Baptists.
§ 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; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.”
§ This was a severe test upon this widow, who had already determined to bake one last meal.
I. CARING FOR HIS OWN
A. The question of the hour: was she going to obey? (17:9)
§ “I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”
§ It’s not a matter of understanding; it’s a matter of trusting obedience.
§ We don’t always see what the Lord is doing; trust fills the gap when we don’t understand.
§ We pray for things to change, for God to solve our problem; but are we willing to do as God says?
§ Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
B. Write down a couple of verses:
§ Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
§ Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.
§ Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
C. God never commands us to do something that He won’t help us to do.
§ Realize you cannot out give God.
§ Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
§ The saying "You can never out give God" may be doubted by overanxious or tightfisted people.
§ But Paul’s letter to the Philippian believers fully supports this saying.
§ Having received their generous gifts to meet his needs in prison, he assured them that because of their generosity God wouldn’t allow them to suffer undue need.
§ Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
II. LIMITED RESOURCES (vs.12)
A. Increasing our resources
§ God can take the smallest resource we have and turn it into enough to satisfy our needs.
§ How many times in the Bible has God illustrated that truth for us?
§ In Matthew 15 Jesus took 7 loaves and a few fish and it satisfied 4000 men + women and children.
§ In Mark 6 Jesus took 5 loaves and 2 fish and it satisfied 5000 men.
§ God will take of us.
§ If you’re having a hard time with how God is going to work things out, just remember His Word:
§ Ephesians 3:20 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,
B. A TIME OF TESTING (vs.13)
§ Again, keep in mind, this woman had only enough food for one last meal.
§ Along comes Elijah and asks for everything she has.
§ It seems on the surface a rather selfish request; "Give me your last meal."
§ But don't miss the last part of (vs. 13b), "...and after make for thee and thy son."
§ If the widow told Elijah there was only enough for her son and herself, how was she going to feed Elijah and then take care of herself and her son?
C. What happens when we refuse to be obedient and we flunk God's test?
§ Maybe I'm talking to someone who feels financially strapped you don't know what to do.
§ Could it be that you have not been faithful in the area of giving to God?
§ God has given several examples of what happens when His people do not give.
§ Let's look at just one, Haggai 1:3-11.
III. GOD BLESSED THE FAITH OF THE WIDOW
A. She took God at His Word (1:14-15)
§ If you and I want the blessings of God, if we want His promises fulfilled in our lives, we must take Him at His Word.
§ “There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.” – Clare Boothe Luce
B. She had more than she had in the beginning (1:16)
§ When God gives back, He always gives back more than what we give to Him:
§ 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
§ Robert Bodenmayer wrote, "There are 3 kinds of giving: grudge giving, duty giving, and thanks giving.
· Grudge giving says, "I hate to".
· Duty giving, "I ought to".
· Thanks giving, "I want to."
§ Nothing much is conveyed in grudge giving, since the gift without the giver is bare.
§ Something more happens in duty giving, but there is no song in it.
§ Thanks giving is an open gate into God's rewards."
Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.