(NIV1984) 1 Kings 17:10b-12 – “When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, ‘Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?’ As she was going to get it, he called, ‘And bring me, please, a piece of bread.’
“‘As surely as the LORD your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it — and die.'”
I like how God provided the widow for Elijah as soon as he got to Zarephath. He didn’t have to go looking for her among the townspeople – She was already there. I wonder if there’s any significance to her being at the town gate?
It’s also interesting how God brought Elijah to her and (SPOILER!) saved the widow and her son at their greatest (current) point of desperation, when the widow had all but given up. It reminds me of when Hagar and Ishmael were kicked out & couldn’t find water & just when Hagar drew away, unable to watch her son die, God sent an angel to bring them to/show them a well. God provides in our moments of desperation.
Also – the widow didn’t seem to mind getting Elijah a drink, even though they were in the middle of a drought. Although it just occurs to me, perhaps she was going to have that last meal and Elijah simply mistook it for her getting him a drink? Anyway, it was only when he asked for bread that she replied. And take her reply in context of – “I have commanded” from yesterday’s reading. The widow knows God wants her to provide for this man, that there is a man coming that He wishes her to take care of, so she’s probably been scrapping and saving and waiting and now it feels as though he came too late. There’s not enough. Don’t torture us this way. Please let us die in peace.
And this is probably the first human interaction Elijah has had since he went into hiding. Keep his next words (tomorrow’s reading) in context of that.
Isn’t it just so amazing how God always provides? And yet, really, why is it so shocking if we believe that He can do anything? Why is it so surprising when He does provide? If we – if I – truly trusted Him, why would be so surprised?