In a previous post, I looked at the life of Elijah the prophet and how God began to reveal Himself to him. I was fascinated at the elaborate training God put him through for a time in his life where great faith would be needed. God’s faith building program starts with baby steps. It did for Elijah. It began with God giving Elijah boldness to go before the ungoldly King Ahab. After giving the prophecy, God instructed Elijah to go the brook Cherith where God had provided ravens to feed him there. Elijah stayed there obediently, but the brook eventually dried up due to a drought in the land.
We see that Elijah did not panic and go looking for water somewhere else, or decide that his hiding time must be over, or just give in to thirst and despair and decide that God must have forgotten him. No, he made the choice to wait and listen for God. As always, God was faithful.
And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 1 Kings 17:8-9
Again we see the word there in the specific instructions from God, not just once this time, but twice. God lets Elijah know that He has provision for him, but again, it is in a specific place, this time complicated by the fact that it involves another person. (Yikes! It’s so much easier to believe God when His plan doesn’t depend on me and somebody else being obedient.)
Now, Elijah has another choice at this moment. He can look at things “logically” and conclude that he must be mistaken in what he is hearing from God or perhaps that God’s plan is unreasonable or doesn’t pertain to him because there is no way that a widow woman will be able to sustain him OR he can trust the God that just came through for him and remain on the path God has for him, complete with provision. Elijah, remembering the faithfulness of God, chooses to believe and to act on God’s command.
So he arose and went to Zarephath. 1 Kings 17:10a
When Elijah got there, there she was, just as God had said.
And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 1Kings 17:10b
Wow! Another faith builder in the life of Elijah…It happened just as God said it would. Basing his faith on the word of God, and remembering God’s previous provision, Elijah found the boldness to ask for more than just water, but for sustenance that had been promised to him.
And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 1 Kings 17:11
The widow woman, not knowing that she has just been enrolled in God’s faith building program, protests because her circumstances are impossible and hopeless. Who wouldn’t?
And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 1 Kings 17:12
But God has bigger plans for this woman and her son. He wants to so increase their faith in Him that His resurrection power can be demonstrated.
It brings to mind a picture of a parent first teaching a child to walk. Do you remember holding a tiny little hand, looking into an uncertain little face, and saying something like, “Come on! I’ve got you. You can do it.” The child may then look at your face, then look at her feet, then look at your hand, making sure your hand is firmly clasped in her tight little fingers. She then has a choice to make … Do I believe this person who has fed me, held me, and sustained me? Do I take a step? Or do I sit down and cry?
With the widow woman, God extends His hand to her through His word (as He did with Elijah), asking her to take a baby step.
And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. 1 Kings 17:13-14
The widow has everything she needs to step out in faith. Is she willing to do it?
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
How about you? Can you share a time that God held your hand, gave you His word, and asked you to take that first step toward Him? I’d love to hear about that first step & how far He’s led you since then…