The other story that I would like to share with you happens many years later when God has set kings instead of Judges over his people. It is in the time of Elijah, the great prophet of God. Elijah has cursed the land with three years without rain. During this time the Lord looks after him by the Brook Cherith but it eventually dries up. So, the Lord speaks to Elijah and says “Go to Zarephath which belongs to Sidon and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” God has asked Elijah to leave his own country. So, he did so. When he enters the gate of the city there was a widow gathering sticks.
On one of our trips to Mexico, we were taken to a lovely countryside spot. As I like to do, I picked up a stick to carry as I walked. Once we were finished our walk, I tossed the stick aside. One of the older ladies shook her head at me and went and picked up the stick that I so casually threw away. In these countries, sticks are part of their survival, for cooking and warmth.
Elijah calls out to the widow and asks for a drink. “Please, bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” As she goes to get it, he calls out again and says, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
Remember that there has been no rain and therefore no crops. There is a famine. These people are at the end of their own resource. This is her response, “As the Lord, your God lives, (she recognizes Elijah as a servant of God but not her God.) I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”
God had told Elijah that he had already commanded the widow, so he persists. ” Do not fear,” (Elijah recognizes her fear and speaks to it then gives a directive) “go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.” (Presumptuous, wouldn’t you think\? Place yourself in her situation, asking her to put himself ahead of herself and her family? What right had he? It wasn’t about his right. He had heard God’s voice. It was about his being obedient to the voice of God. He was trusting that God was working and was doing something in that situation.) ” For thus says the Lord God of Israel; the bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.”