In prosperity preaching circles, one of the rockstars in the hall of fame is the widow of Zarephath. Nameless, faceless but she is an icon; often referred for her great service to the prophet. Her faith is always talked about as out of this world. Oh … she believed the prophet and rest was … you fill in the blanks.
The gospel has often times been manipulated to fit what we want to say or want others to believe.
The widow of Zarephath — gave unto Elijah. We popularly think that she “just” obeyed the word of God and then the multiplication came. It looks like she just obeyed, or she took a gamble on the man of God. It seems this was a one-time deed. She took a chance and voila … her miracle came. Today from the reading of the scripture, I think otherwise. Let me explain why.
The story about her starts in 1 Kings 17:1 when Elijah ran himself into trouble by being disgusted by what King Ahab had turned Israel into — a land where many gods were worshipped. Righteous indignation rose in Elijah and he declared the land “a-no-rain-zone”. God sensed “His man” had run into trouble for His sake and so He made a way of escape for Elijah. “Bros, enter bush o. Na bird go dey feed you o. Water go dey but na from stream. No worry I go dey there with you”. This was God’s instruction to Elijah. Thankfully he obeyed.
Elijah became a victim of his own prophecy. Verse 7 documents “sometime later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land”. For the fact that you speak for God does not mean, NEPA will not take light in your house. Then the brook dried up and God told Elijah to relocate to an unlikely place. Most times, relocation is often to an unlikely place. Why? because God is your sustenance and He has to show Himself mighty.
Verse 17 to 23 documents what happened. The encounter between Elijah and the widow, the miracle of supply and the food & oil that refused to finish. Let’s read more about that story until verse 24. After the miracle of multiplication, her son died, and she needed another miracle.
One miracle does not meet all your needs in life. You will always need God to show up for you — daily.
And so, she approached a man who she has seen perform a miracle before. She wondered why the paradox in occurrence. “You came to help me, but my most treasured possession and valuable friend/son is dead”. All happened while you were here. Elijah did not bother with the accusation but rather focused on the issue at hand — giving life to the dead boy
Elijah prayed for her son. Notice he took him away from her and took him to a secluded place. Even Jesus did this when healing some people. A secluded place allows you to focus, it eliminates noise and diverse opinion. It takes unbelief away and allows you to focus on the might of God.
Elijah’s prayers were answered, and the boy came back to life. When he returned the child back to the mother, she said something that revealed that she did not “believe in Elijah” just like that. Hear her:
1 Kings 17:24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth. -King James Version
1 Kings 17:24 The woman said to Elijah, “I see it all now — you are a holy man. When you speak, God speaks — a true word!” — Message Translation
1 Kings 17:24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God and that the Lord truly speaks through you” I see it all now — you are a holy man. When you speak, God speaks — a true word!” — New Living Translation
This verse shows one thing — she gave Elijah what she had because she was a giving giver. She did not necessarily give expecting a miracle. She gave because I am of the opinion, she was a generous person at heart. Hey! this man was hungry, and she felt she could be of help. Maybe he was a prophet, maybe he was a con man. There was no way to know but it was obvious the man was hungry. She gave to a hungry man, as was in her habit.
That is the beauty of God — He works through what we habitually do. Our miracles and deliverance are in what we do always. God expects us to grow in kindness, goodness of heart and godliness.
Jesus admonished us to continue in His word. Not a one-time act. When you continue, it will be hard for you to say things like “oh, it is because I gave that is why I got the job”. Those are kindergarten testimonies. Because, when you cast your bread upon many waters, according to Ecclesiastes 11:1, you will not be able to say which one came back. A Christian is known by what s/he continually does. #Selah Serena Williams does not hit the ball once and become a 23-time Grand Slam Tennis Champion. I am sure you get my drift.
The widow of Zarephath was a giving giver. She continued in giving.