The Widow of Zarephath—Obedience’s Miracle by Shanna Gregor

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The Widow of Zarephath-Obedience's Miracle
Series: Women Who Rocked in Bible Times-Stories of Those Who Shaped Their Culture and Still Inspire You Today
Shanna D. Gregor

So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he 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.o

1 Kings 17:15-16 NKJV

The woman, only referred to as the ''widow of Zarephath,'' demonstrates a powerful faith through her obedience in 1 Kings. The city serves as part of her identification. We can assume she is the only widow in her city. Zarephath rest inside the region of Sidon, the native country of Queen Jezebel, the woman who married the wicked King Ahab and required her god, Baal to be worshipped instead of God Almighty.[1] We might easily assume this widow is not of Hebrew lineage, but she clearly believed in the Hebrew's God and trusted Him.

God chose to take the life of the prophet Elijah and intertwine it with the life of the one widow. Elijah served as God's spokesperson, the man who stood in front of King Ahab and prophesied ''…the next years are going to see a total drought-not a drop of dew or rain unless I say otherwise.''[2] Jezebel, King Ahab's wife, tried to kill all of God's prophets. At one point, Elijah thought he was the last living prophet.[3]

Those who worshipped Baal believed he was the god who brought rains and bountiful harvest-so the words Elijah spoke for God were profanity against Jezebel's god. After declaring no more rain, Elijah hid himself in the Kerith Ravine, east of Jordan where the Lord sustained him with water from a brook and food ravens brought to him.[4] When the brook dried up, God sent Elijah to Zarephath with instruction to look to a widow to sustain him.

God's purposes are so much higher and wider than what we imagine. God tells us to go here or there-to do this or that-and it's easy to think it's about us. We often see it as God positioning us for blessing. While that is often a part of his plan, our eyes usually rest on ourselves, when in fact it has less to do with us and more to do with what he wants to do through our relationships with the people to whom he connects us for a bigger purpose. Our lives our intertwined for mutual provision and blessing.

The Widow of Zarephath's story begins while she is at the gate gathering a few sticks so she can go home and prepare the last little bit of food for herself and her son. In her mind, the end is near. Her plan-without God's miraculous intervention, which she must have hoped for-she and her son will starve to death.

This woman had nothing for her own family to eat, much less a prophet. Through her obedience, God sustained both of them. Elijah sees the woman that God has told her to meet and asks her for a cup of water. I can just see her acknowledge him and turn to go ...


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