So far this week we’ve looked at the giving of 2 widows in the Bible. Today I want to round this out with one last widow and her story found in 1 Kings 17:8-16.
This widow had a son and just enough food for one last meal. Her intention was to cook this one last time and then hold her son tight while they slowly died together of starvation. Like the other widows she was poor and in desperate need.
In the middle of her crisis the prophet Elijah turns up. He was a significant cause of her crisis because he was the one who had stopped the rain, causing the drought and famine that had brought her to this place of hunger.
Here he stood, in front of her. She probably knew of his boast to hold back rain. And here he was, standing then, asking her for everything she had left to eat, for him, first.
In Luke 4:24-26 Jesus tells us that there were many widows at that time that God could have told Elijah to go to, yet He chose this one. While we aren’t told why God chose her, my guess would be her faith.
Let’s see what we can learn from widow number 3.
- Elijah came to her. Unlike the widow we looked at yesterday, the Bible doesn’t tell us if or how this woman cried out to God for help. I can only imagine she did. There had to have been some reason why she stood out from the crowd of starving, suffering widows in Israel. It was probably her faith.
- God asked for her all. It wasn’t a tithe, it wasn’t even what she had in her hand. It was her all, her son’s all, their very last meal. A handful of flour would have only made one small cake yet she gave it to God. Maybe she gave in obedience and faith, maybe she figured she had nothing to lose, maybe she simply believed that Elijah’s promised miracle that her food would last until the rain came. Elijah could have been lying to her but she still gave.
- God promised a miracle up front. The widow who gave her mites had no reply from heaven of blessing, the widow with oil was only given instructions and no answer, in this story God promises a miracle up front, before the giving takes place. This is a different way that God works. Sometime He tells us in advance what He is planning to do. Other times He doesn’t. Either way we need to trust Him and not be afraid.
- The miracle was only the beginning. After this widow had fed Elijah, herself and her son and knew that the oil and flour really was going to last, she allowed Elijah to keep on sharing her meals. God had provided this limitless flour and oil source and the widow kept sharing it. The miracle was only the beginning of her sharing. When God gives us a miracle we should share it with others, it will help them and build their faith. Often God supplies our needs so we can in turn supply other’s needs. This is how the economy of His Kingdom works.
I’m not sure which of these 3 widows I admire best, but we can clearly learn from each of them in our we should live, give and have faith in God to provide for our needs.
Did you learn something from this Week of Widows? If so, please share it with us in the comments below.
Check out the other 2 widows in this series: