It is interesting that we don’t really recognize any of the prophets, who lived during the divided kingdom of Israel, up until Elijah, who served as a prophet during the reigns of Zimri, Omri, and Ahab. About Omri, it was said that he “did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did more evil than all who were before him” I Kings 16:25). That sounds really bad, but Omri’s son, Ahab who succeeded him “did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” I Kings 16:33. So, perhaps we remember Elijah because he served as a great light during a terribly dark time.
Elijah began by prophesying a drought in the north and then obeying a command to go and hide himself near the brook Cherith. There he drank from the brook and was fed by ravens. God could have just kept him there, fed him, and protected him, but instead He sent him to meet a widow. This command might seem random, but it was calculated and meaningful. First of all, one of Elijah’s perpetual woes was that he felt alone in his desire to follow God. So, sending him to meet this good woman who obeyed the word of the Lord would have been a blessing to him. God employs people to complete His will. He places people in our paths and there is calculated purpose behind those connections.
But, why THIS widow? Jesus gives insight into the reason in Luke 4:25-26. He has been working in Nazareth where He states, “…no prophet is acceptable in His hometown.” Then he said, “But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah… and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.” Don’t let it be lost on you that God has always cared deeply about ALL people…not just the Jews. He cared about this widow and He cared about Elijah. So, Elijah was sent out of his homeland, to minister to someone who would accept him.
Perhaps God knew Elijah needed a victory at that moment in His life. He knows you too. And if you keep fighting to focus your eyes on Him, He will direct you to the support you need. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).-Darrell