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Dan Stillings sang a special song before Pastor Bob Sorensen brought a message from 1 Kings 17:1-24 on “Elijah’s example for the 21st Century Christian.”
All who serve God will undergo testing and trials. Each trial prepares you for something down the road. That something may be financial difficulties or illness. Then an opportunity will come when you can help someone else through their testing and trials.
God was going to send a drought on Israel because of the gross sin of the nation. Ahab and Jezebel had led the nation further down the road of destruction by introducing Baal worship as the official state religion and by removing and slaying the prophets of the Lord. That drought and Jezebel’s determination to remove all the prophets of the Lord would impact Elijah, also. The Lord told Elijah to go hide at a certain brook where he would find water to drink and be fed by ravens. Elijah obeyed and his needs were supplied.
Then God sent another test. The water dried up. Elijah was sent into Zidon to a widow at Zarephath. Elijah had learned that God would provide. Now he could help someone else. He would teach a widow that God’s promises are sure and His provision is adequate for all needs. We can also be sure that God will provide our needs not necessarily all our wants.
The widow was down to her last bit of meat and oil. When Elijah asked her for water and a morsel of bread, she told him that she was out to gather a couple of sticks. She planned to fix a last meal for herself and her son and after that she and her son would probably die. Elijah told her to fix him a small cake first and bring it to him, then make for herself and her son. God had said that the barrel of meal and the cruse of oil would not fail until the drought broke. The widow did what he said; maybe thinking it would not make much difference anyway. But the barrel of meal and the cruse of oil did not fail all the days of the drought.
Things went well there until the boy died. Now the Bible says that all things work for good for those who trust in him, but what good could come from the death of this child. Elijah travailed in prayer. Three times Elijah stretched himself over the child and cried out to God. The third time the child revived.
What if Elijah had given up after a couple of efforts? Elijah persisted fervently until he saw the desired result. If we are fervent in our desire to see the salvation of our loved ones and neighbors, we must not give up after a couple of failed efforts.
When the widow saw her son alive, she made the statement, “Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.” What do our neighbors see in us? What do they hear from us? Does our “walk” agree with our “talk?” How do we react when we go through trials? How do we handle it? Have we learned to trust God in everything? Do we share our testimony of the Lord’s goodness? Elijah learned that lesson and was able to share it with the widow of Zarephath.