A LITTLE CAKE FIRST 

I Kings 17:8-16 "And the word of the LORD came to him, saying, Arise, go  Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there: See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed, a widow was there gathering sticks.  And he called to her, and said, Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink. And as she was going to get it, he called to her, and said, Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand. So she said, As the LORD your God lives, I do not 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 it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Do not fear; go and do as you  have said: but make me a small cake first from it, and bring it to me, and afterward make some for yourself and  your son. 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 upon the earth. And so she went away and did according to the word of Elijah: and she, and he, and her household, ate for many days. And the bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Elijah."

Before the great famine that came to Israel, Ahab and Jezebel sat as king and queen. Elijah was unknown and unrecorded. After this famine, Elijah would be remembered as the greatest preaching prophet of all history. Though man(kind) tends to record events that are great in the realm of manís senses, Godís history majors on great decisions made in the hearts of men and women.

THE FAMINE

This Was A Chastisement For The Sins of Godís People.
     I cannot speak with authority as to why famines and other disasters come upon unsaved people, but God has declared that famines are one of the form He uses for chastening HIS people. (Deuteronomy 28:23-24, II Chronicles 7:13-14). In this particular case it was idolatry engineered by Jezebel. (I Kings 16:30-33). Godís response to Israelís sin was for Elijah to appear suddenly before King Ahab and proclaim, "As the Lord God of Israel lives before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."

The Righteous Remnant AND THE WICKED Passed Through The Famine
     They did not have little tracts of ground selectively rained on so they could set in abundance while the wicked suffered from hunger and thirst. In fact, they had the added burden of being under threat of death from Jezebel.

God Did Protect and Provide for His People.
     Seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal at the beginning of the famine were still there at the end. One hundred prophets of God were hidden in two different caves and fed with food right off Ahab and Jezebelís table.
      ( Undoubtedly, Obadiah volunteered to carry out the garbage.) Elijah was cared for at the brook Cherith and later by a widow of Sidon. There was not just one miracle. There were seven thousand, one hundred and one miracles twice a day for three and one half years. In Psalm 37:23-25, David observed that God takes care of His own.

THE UNLIKELY BENEFACTOR - THE WIDOW
     Elijahís stream dried up and God sent him to a gentile widow of Zarephath, a most unlikely choice by human standards.

She Was A Gentile and a Phoenician
     Surely there were godly Israelite women who would have been honored to take care of Godís prophet. (It was for alluding to this woman and Naaman that the people of Nazareth tried to throw Jesus down off a precipice to His death).
     She was also a citizen of the very country from which Jezebel had come. She probably didnít have the "True Religion".

She Was A Widow And In Abject Poverty
     Usually only men were allowed to make an honorable living. There was one sparse meal between her and death by starvation. Surely God would not expect a woman of such a meager means to help Godís servant, yet she was the one God chose.

THE WIDOWíS FAITH

She Acknowledged That Elijahís God Was The Living God (verse 12) and She Was Receptive To Godís Voice
    
God had told Elijah "Öbehold, I have commanded a widow woman there to provide for youÖ" We are not told how God commanded her, but the scriptures reveal that God speaks through godly parents; through preaching and teaching; through literature; through providence; through dissatisfaction with the world.

She Believed The Word of The Lord, Obeyed Him and Continued Faithful
     She put faith in Godís Word above human reasoning. There was never two hands full of mean, Öjust one. Her faith to make the man of God a little cake first was tested every meal. The ultimate purpose of God in sparing her was not just so that she and her son might live, but that she might take care of the man God chose to bring revival to His people.

She Had To Make The Little Cake For The Man of God Before She Got The Miraculous Multiplication. Matthew 6:33; Luke 6:38.

PRINCIPLES OF THE INEXHAUSTIBLE BARREL 

God Has Chosen That The Support Of His Work Comes From Those Who Profess Faith In Him.
     The support of Godís work from our resources, no matter how meager, sanctifies our labor. It makes holy work out of the assembly line, the business office, the sales counter or the tractor seat. It links our cottage with the heavenly mansion and our city with the heavenly Jerusalem and the present world with the New Heavens and the New Earth.

God Conquers Our Fallen Carnal Nature
     Our greed and covetousness He transform and changes our get nature to a give nature so that we are more like Him.

God Gives Everyone the Privilege of Supporting His Work
     This widow and the woman who gave two mites proves that God receives special delight from the giving of the poor. God has His rich , like Joseph of Arimathaea, but He never provides so many rich folks that the support of the poor is not needed.

What God Receives From Us He Returns Many Fold
     How many times this widowís gift was multiplied of the 3 Ĺ years. God intends for His continual supply to include the continual support of His work.

God Has Special, Miraculous Blessings for Faithful Stewards.
      This widow had her son raised from the dead. God doesnít perform miracles for everyone. This woman is a type of those for whom He does.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted