Blessed For Faithfulness
After an earlier announcement of judgment (chapter 16), Elijah had to hide himself, by the command of God, until the period of punishment came to an end, not so much that he might be safe from the wrath and pursuit of Ahab and Jezebel, as to be in a “place of preparation” for God’s next assignment for him. Even as it was with the disciples of Jesus who instructed them to come to a place and leisure following extensive ministry in order to make ready for more (see Mark 6:30-32).
“Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there, (verse 9) — This might be a trial of the prophet’s faith, to be sent to dwell in a place belonging to the Zidonians, among whom Jezebel had an interest, being the daughter of their king, (1 Kings 16:31), the place is so called, to distinguish it from another Zarephath, (Obadiah 1:20).
Robert Hawker in his commentary admonishes readers of his exposition to pay close attention to those many interesting things in the account as history. “I beg of him (the reader) to look at one feature of it in a spiritual sense, and then say, whether it is not in this point of view beautifully enhanced” wrote Hawker. And so we read, “Make me a little cake first (said the prophet) and after, for thyself and son.”
And so it was that our Lord Jesus said somewhat of the same to His people in the exercise of their faith and dependence upon him? Our stock is low, and all supplies are seemingly over. Nevertheless, faith, real, lively, active faith, like this widow, hears Jesus command, Let me be first supplied, and hastens to do it. For when brought down to the lowest state, and the soul casts herself, and all she hath upon Jesus; acting faith upon the naked promises of God in Christ: this is precious, precious faith. And every poor believer that is enabled to do this will find, like the widow’s cruse, that seeking first Jesus and his righteousness, all other things necessary will be added. (John 21:2-4; Matthew 6:32-34)
“Go and do as thou hast said:” — Namely, she was to mix her meal and her oil, and make a cake thereof, and bake it:
“But make thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son:” many Bible scholars agree that the prophet’s instructions were not said from a selfish spirit of the prophet, but to try the faith of the woman. His strict orders were so given because the prophet was not only hungry and thirsty through his journey, and so required to be served first, but it was for the sake of his sustenance, that the Lord would command a blessing on the meal and oil; wherefore, if she dressed it for herself and her son first, there would have been none left for the divine blessing to descend upon.
Dr. Wayne M. Williams, a Christian life coach and certified professional marriage and family counselor, is executive director of World Harvest Ministries. He presently resides in Athens with his wife, Lita. For additional study notes, see the Facebook page “International Sunday School Lessons.”