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 17:9
Have you ever been at the place in life where you have had to “scrape the bottom of the barrel?” Have you ever been completely depleted in energy, emotion, patience, savings, or ability, and you don’t see how you are going to make it? It is during these moments that our faith in God and ability to trust in Him is defined. It is during these situations that we learn to experience God’s sustaining grace to carry us. Let us see, this morning, the power of sustaining grace.
We see the scarcity.
“So he arose and went to Zarephath. 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.” Elijah was experiencing the effects of a famine in the land. God summoned him to dwell at Zarephath of Zidon. This was the territory where Jezebel lived. Zarephath means “a smelting furnace.” In addition, God told him that a widow woman would take care of him. None of this made sense from a worldly way of thinking. He was being stretched spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Before sustaining grace is sent, we must come to a place of scarcity and near-depletion.
We see the scoffing.
“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.” When Elijah asked her for a little water, this woman saw that as something she could do. When he asked for a morsel of bread, she balked at this request and let loose a scornful reaction. The world’s reaction to us when we are in a difficult situation is that you won’t make it. It looks at a seemingly bleak situation, and says that you are down to the bottom of the barrel and you are going to die. It discounts God’s ability to do something great, and, instead, blames God for the problem. If we are not careful, we can let the scoffing words of the world make us believe that God failed us.
We see the solution.
“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.” Elijah had been bolstered at Cherith. His last memory of where he came from was a brook that had dried up, but also how God took very good care of him. “Make me a little cake first, and afterwards make for thyself and thy son.” Put God first and trust in Him. Stop letting the circumstance define you, and, instead, let God control the circumstance. Don’t stop living, but put your situation in God’s hands. Elijah had complete confidence in God taking care of him through this widow. Sustaining grace is God showing His love for us in difficult situations. It is faith that sees the invisible. It is strength that gives us hope in our soul. It is confidence that we can make it.
We see the satisfaction.
“And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.” God sustained Elijah, the widow woman, and her son the entire time (two years) that he stayed at her home. He sustained them with just a handful of meal and cruse of oil. That meal and oil wonderfully pictures sustaining grace at work in our lives when things become desperate, and when we feel like all hope is gone.
Maybe, today, you are in need of sustaining grace. Let go of your fear, give Him control of what little you have, go on with life, and have faith in His power to work in you.
Have a grace-filled God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Judges 1-2