(1 Kings 17:8-9) “And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, (9) Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.”
Elijah is a well-known man of God, possibly the greatest prophet in Israel’s history. As an example of perseverance, we are told of Elijah’s prayer of faith, whereby rain was prevented for three and a half years (James 5:17-18). As we pick up the story in 1st Kings, Elijah has just made this prayer and has fled for his life according to God’s Command; he then dwelt by the Brook at Cherith, where he was fed by ravens; and finally, the brook dried up, as God commanded Elijah once again to Get Up and Go – this time Elijah was to go live with a Gentile widow woman.
Pointing to this passage of Scripture, Jesus Christ, in the Gospel of Luke, gives a very pointed teaching of Election and Grace (Luke 4:25-26). To the proud Jews who believed themselves to be God’s chosen people, Gentiles were considered to be less than dogs. In His teaching, Jesus showed that God passed by many supposedly ’worthy’ Israelites in order to have mercy on a Gentile. The lesson therein for us is to not shy away from ministering to the needs of others because we have subjected them to an erroneous standard of ‘worthiness.’
In our text, we note that God had commanded the widow woman to sustain the man of God, Elijah. But the widow’s own provisions were small (1 Kings 17:12). Nevertheless, she was obedient to the Word of the Lord, and was blessed thereby (1 Kings 17:15). We see that this Gentile woman’s act of obedience to God in the face of her own meager ability was rewarded in the abundant supply of her needs (1 Kings 17:16). Rather than turn Elijah away, the widow woman said ‘Yes’ to God; ‘I will do that which You have commanded me to do, trusting in You to provide.’ The result was the miraculous provision during drought and famine, as well as the later miracle of having her son raised from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24).
As we apply today’s lesson, we note that God calls His people to action. With no account for our own ability or provision, God tells each of us to ‘Get Up and Go’; trusting Him to perform His Word, and to meet our every need. The command to ‘Go,’ when met by the obedience of faith, carries with it the Promise of Provision and Power to perform the Plan of God.
Looking closer at our text verses reveals an even greater lesson: God sends His messengers with blessings upon those who receive them. But this works both ways. God has told Elijah that the widow would sustain him. However, Elijah had to bless the woman before she could bless him. In a similar fashion, the widow woman had to bless Elijah before she could receive her own blessings.
Our lesson then is in the command to ‘Get Up and Go.’ The Lord calls us to action – not based on supposed worth, ability, or provision, but on His Word. Our part is to obey, as we surrender and submit to His Command, trusting Him to give the increase. Then we will be blessed even as we seek to be a blessing to others.