The Living God Provides

1 Kings 17:8-16

It can be easy to forget the human impact of some of the Bible stories that we read. It was the sins of Ahab that brought famine and drought on the land, but Ahab was not the only one affected by it.

In these verses our perspective moves from God’s dealing with a king to God’s dealing with an impoverished widow. The drought had hit her hard, but God had seen her and acted to provide for her during this difficult season.

God spoke to Elijah, instructing him to go to Zarephath, where he would find the widow who God had instructed to feed him. Though she did not have much, she was invited to give even the little that she had. This was an opportunity for her to step out in faith and give beyond what she naturally had capacity to give.

As Elijah asked the widow a second time for bread, he finally brought the promise from God that her jar of flour and oil would not run out for the whole time that rain was withheld from the land. God supernaturally provided for this woman and her household despite their lack of resources to feed themselves.

This story is one that Jesus himself referred to in Luke 4:26 as he responded to the cynical reaction he received at the synagogue in Capernaum. His point is that Elijah was sent to a widow in Sidon rather than an Israelite woman because this is where faith was to be found. God is looking for those who will respond to him with faith, and this is not something that is limited to a particular geographical area or ethnic group.

Some Key Points:

  • The widow was invited to give and meet the need of another even when she didn’t have much.
  • The key issue was her faith. Did she trust in God’s promise through Elijah for her provision?
  • God is capable of abundantly providing for our needs, and he often does so in unexpected and sometimes supernatural ways.

Potential Applications:

  • Sacrificial Generosity – Giving out of lack is commended throughout the Bible, and here is one example of that. Even if we only have little, how can we use it for God’s kingdom purposes.
  • Trust In God the Provider – In many ways this is a simple story of somebody trusting God’s promise to provide during a time of hardship. We have a similar promise (Matt 6:32-33) and can trust our heavenly father to provide for our needs.
  • Pray for Provision – As part of the service you may wish to offer prayer for those who have a particular provision need at the moment.