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21 Days of Prayer and Fasting | DAY 18


DAY 18

So she did as Elijah said, and … there was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.” 1 Kings 17:15

PRESS PAUSE: Before you do anything else, take a moment to reflect on and celebrate all the Lord did in you, for you, and spoke to you yesterday.  

READ: 1 Kings 17

There are numerous stories and examples of God’s provision woven throughout the entire Bible, but today I want to look at one in particular:  The story of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath. As we journey through this passage together, we will uncover timeless principles that reveal God's unwavering commitment to meet His children's needs and His capacity to transform scarcity into abundance.

Elijah was the first in a long line of prophets that God sent to Israel and Judah. Israel, the northern kingdom, had no kings that were faithful to God. In fact, they were all wicked and were actually leading God’s chosen people to worship other gods. In 1 Kings chapter 17 we see Elijah go to King Ahab, who was married to the infamous pagan Jezebel, and give him a message from the Lord that there will be no more rain or dew during the next few years until God himself gives the word. After this, God sends Elijah to go east to Kerith Brook to hide. In verse 4 He tells him, “Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” 

Elijah did just as the Lord told him. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening and he drank from the brook. But after a while the brook dried up because of the lack of rainfall. This is where the widow comes in.  Verse 8 says, “Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.” 

So Elijah went and as he came up to the village gates he saw a widow there gathering up sticks. He called out to her and asked her to bring him some water and bread. She replied to him in verse 12, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”  

Here is his response…”Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!” And here’s the BEST part in verse 15, “So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.”

There is so much provision here on both sides. It shows God’s continued provision for Elijah and now 

provision for this widow and her son. Let’s take a look at some things we can learn from this passage.

1. God often provides for us in unexpected ways

In ways that go beyond our narrow expectations. This widow was not a Jewish woman. She wasn’t a follower of God. She was a foreigner from Jezebel’s (King Ahab’s wife) home territory. The fact that God sent Elijah there is kind of ironic.  Also ironic is the fact that ravens were considered unclean birds, yet God used them too. No matter how difficult our trials are that we are facing, if we look for God’s provision, we WILL find it and sometimes in some strange places!

This reminds me of my own personal story of God’s provision. When I became pregnant with our first daughter, Presleah, I felt the Lord asking me to become a stay-at-home mom. Now, this was very unexpected as I had always been adamant that I wanted to work. I was so headstrong in fact that when my now husband and I became engaged, we had our first big argument because he grew up with a mom who stayed at home and he wanted that for his kids. I very quickly, and strongly, let him know that would not be the case with me, haha! Don’t you love it when God changes your plans? 

Anyway, after the Lord’s leading and my somewhat reluctant obedience, I took the leap and embraced my new role as stay at home mom.  However, for me to do so didn’t just mean giving up my workplace independence, it also meant cutting our income in half and we were struggling to adjust to living on such a small budget. One of the things that was the most burdensome on us was the monthly payment for my husband's truck, which we got when we had a surplus of income. We were able to make the payments but it was definitely uncomfortable. 

One day as my husband, Tim, was traveling back from a speaking engagement a few cities away in the rain, he hydroplaned and hit the side wall, spun around, went over three lanes of traffic, hit the other side wall and finally stopped facing oncoming traffic. Thankfully, he was unharmed!  But my car, which he was driving to save gas mileage, was completely totaled. This was the car we didn’t have a payment on. Like really, God? Why couldn’t he have been driving the vehicle we had a big payment on? 

Long story short, a few weeks later we received the check from the insurance company for my car. It was almost to the exact penny what we needed to be able to pay off the truck with that big, uncomfortable payment! Wouldn’t it be just like God to take a super frustrating and scary situation and turn it into a blessing? We paid off the truck and got an incredible deal on an economy car that would save so much money on gas with all his traveling. That car actually ended up paying for itself with the mileage payment he got from each trip. This is the kind of unexpected provision that God so graciously gives to His kids. He didn’t cause the accident but He most definitely used it!

2. A simple act of faith can produce a miracle.

When the widow went to make bread for Elijah, she genuinely thought she was using the last of her flour and oil, preparing her last meal, and she did it anyway! She trusted Elijah, and what God was speaking through him, and gave all she had in order to feed him.  This account exemplifies clearly that faith is the step between promise and fulfillment.  Every miracle, large or small, begins with obedience. We may not see the solution until we take that first step of faith. Or maybe it’s the tenth step of faith, but it will require us to move. 

This is something Tim and I flesh out daily, or rather monthly, with our monthly tithing. We have given 10% of everything we make back to God since before we were even married. And God has ALWAYS blessed the other 90% and provided. We have never gone without basic needs or necessities, even when we barely made anything. 

One time, near the beginning of our marriage, our HVAC system went out in the dead of summer. It was going to need to be completely replaced and it would cost a whopping $7000! There was absolutely no way we would be able to afford that. However, as we prayed, wrestling with our fears and anxieties, God sent three of the church’s board members to our house with window units.  You guys, this was before we had ever even told anyone about your need!  They just showed up and installed them! That is the faithful God we serve. When we walk in obedience to God, we also get to walk in the abundance of His blessings. 

Matthew 6:25-26 put it like this, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”

God stretched the resources of flour and oil for the widow, her son and Elijah in a season of scarcity and drought. He provided these provisions until it started to rain again and the crops were about to grow. Until the scarcity was GONE. And God can do that for us too. 

When we are in a season of scarcity and drought - whether financially, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually -  He can and will provide. 

Have you ever experienced God's provision in unexpected ways or places in your life? Reflect on a specific instance and write how it impacted your faith. 

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