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« Fire on the Earth | Main | The Triumph of Pentecost »

The Prophet Comes to Zarephath 

1 Kings 17:8 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,  9  Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 

Elijah was probably the most feared and bold prophet of the New Testament. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ, but Elijah was the forerunner of John. Elijah called fire down from heaven, he embarrassed 450 prophets of Baal, he slew them all, and commanded the rain to fall from heaven. But before these events, God sent Elijah to Zarephath

The reason Elijah went to Zarephath was the drought in the land. The reason there was a drought in the land was the command of Elijah. The reason God sent a drought to Israel was the sin of Ahab. “He did more the provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel that were gone before him.” (1 Kings 16:33)

· Sometimes it seems that the reason you are in a difficult situation is because you were following God and God led you there.

· God may never lead you into temptation, but he may lead you into the valley of the shadow of death.

· Some people say “God, Lead Me!” Then they proceed to tell God where to lead them and where not to lead them. The whole purpose of leadership is to take you where you wouldn’t go yourself, to face an enemy that you don’t want to face, and to gain a victory that you never would have won otherwise.

· With the same breath you ask God to take over your life, you also tell your flesh to submit to God. There is no leadership without followership!

· James said, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

10  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. 

Ever wonder why God so often picks on “widow women” to do his bidding? Why not some burley, robust man? Why not a wealthy landowner or prince? (Woman with the issue of blood; the widow who cast two mites into the temple offering; the Syrophoenician woman who wanted her daughter healed.) Because the widow woman lives with no cushion in her life. She has learned to utterly depend on God. She has no other recourse.

The first thing Elijah asked for was for her to fetch him a little water in a vessel.

Water the prophet

The prophet cannot live without water. This reference to the prophet is not to exalt the man, Elijah, but to magnify the office that he filled. In a larger sense, it was to keep the Word of God alive in your life. It is a confession of our weakness and his strength, of our utter dependence on God.

2 Corinthians 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

Sometimes we think that God demands too much from us. Do you know how much water the earth demands for its plant life each day? Answer: 914 km3 per day or 914 trillion liters (914,000,000,000,000 L) or 241,450,000,000,000 gallons (US). That’s 500 billion cubic kilometers every year.

That’s why we need to praise him lavishly, abundantly, exceedingly. Keep the spigot turned on full blast. Water the prophet.

Psalm 150:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. 2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. 6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD

Feed the Prophet

11  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.  12  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.  13  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.

The widow woman was going to do the bidding of the prophet. She hadn’t yet gotten it done when he called out for something more. “Bring me some bread too.”

This struck her as asking a little too much. “I’m okay with getting you some water. But now you are going too far. If I feed you, I am going to die myself and my son along with me. In fact, you are stealing my last meal from me. How could this be the will of God?”

She was more in need of a handout herself than to entertain others.

The flesh will never be able to understand how God works. If you expect your flesh to understand spiritual things, you are taking a long walk off a short pier. It will never happen.

The Apostle Paul told the Galatians: Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

To the Romans he wrote: Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

After you have watered the prophet, you need to understand that you’ve only started to serve him. Now you have to feed him.

Around the world bread is a staple in almost every single diet. Throughout history bread has been recognized as an important part of society’s survival. There have been wars started over the land on which the grains grow that are used to make the breads of a country or region.

· Water represents life; bread represents strength.

· Water represents your love, affection, praise, adoration and worship to God.

· Bread represents giving him your time, your tithes, your offerings, your energy, your relationships, your goals, your dreams, your purposes.

· Water represents how you are feeling towards God; bread represents what you are willing to do for God.

Judas was willing to give Jesus his love and affection; he was not willing to give him is dreams and purposes.

Many people are willing to flirt with Jesus. When it comes to a marriage commitment, they back out of it.

Notice that the woman did not have any bread, but she did have the ingredients to make it. She had the sticks, the flour and the oil. When God asks you for something, you cannot use the excuse that you don’t have it to give. You have all the necessary components to meet his request.

Elijah said, “Bake my cake first!” Do not ask God to wait his turn. He always goes to the front of the line.

Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Jesus is the first and the last. If he can’t be first in your life, he won’t be the last. I want Jesus to have the last word in my life. But if he is going to have the last word, he’s got to have the first word!

Finally, the miracle shows up!

 14  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  d  rain upon the earth.  15  And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16  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. 

When you water and feed the prophet, you begin to see the miraculous power of God come to life!

It cannot be any other way. The barrel of meal and the cruse of oil could not be replenished until they were challenged. The blessing of God eludes the takers and the tightwads. It is always on the givers.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

The Final Stage of Giving

This final segment of the story reveals the hardest part of the woman’s dealings with the prophet.

17  And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.  18  And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?  19  And he said unto her, Give me thy son.

She was asked to give water. She gave water.

She was asked to give bread. She gave bread at a great sacrifice.

Now she was asked to give her son.

I will never forget the time I left home and went to Bible College. I was excited, confident, determined. I put all of my earthly belongings into the 1962 Pontiac Tempest convertible, backed out of the driveway into Monroe St., waved bye and took off. I left my parents standing there by the house. I never understood how they must have felt until I waved goodbye to my son as he left for Bible College. My mother said that my Dad moped around for a week and would hardly look at my room, let alone go in it. Twenty-eight years later, I felt his pain.

My mother and father also said goodbye to a daughter and son-in-law, along with three grandkids as they left for the country of Uruguay, S. A. in 1976.

God takes us through the water experience and the bread experience so he can lead us to the son experience.

At some point in your life, whether sooner or later, God is going to lead you to the point where you will have to make the toughest decision of your life.

You are going to have to give up the thing that means the most to you. This is not water or bread for God. This is your life for God.

This is the point where anyone who desires the depths of God’s power must go. The great Apostle Paul had to go to this point.

Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

God’s Remarkable Gift

When you allow God to take you to the depths, he will then take you to the heights.

19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.  20  And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?  21  And he stretched  f  himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.  22  And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.  23  And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.  24  And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth. 

The woman did not first express gratitude for the resurrection of her son as you might expect. She first realized that she was in the presence of the man of God. She understood that truth was more important than anything else in her life.

The peace of God comes at the end of the conflict between you and your flesh. When you battle the will of the flesh to the very end, when you refuse to give up the struggle because it is too painful, when something within you will not let you stop, then you will be overwhelmed by the peace that passeth all understanding. Eternal purposes are settled in the crucible of time.

Bro. Kinzie is one of the greatest illustrations of the sacrifice of a dream for the cause of Christ. (Pensacola FL incident.) He gave up his farm. God gave him a world-wide ministry and a loving congregation that he was part of until the day he died.

Zarepheth is Toledo; Sylvania; Perrysburg; Walbridge; Bedford; Fulton County; The prophet is coming to your house. Expect him. Do his bidding. There you will find the miracle that will give ultimate meaning to your life.


d sendeth: Heb. giveth

f stretched: Heb. measured

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