Follow Instructions

Key Verse: “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.”
—I Kings 17:16

Selected Scripture:
I Kings 17:1-5, 3-16

ELIJAH THE PROPHET from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, as surely as the Lord God of Israel lives, there shall not be any dew or rain for several years until I say so! Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. And it shall be that you shall drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.” (vss. 3,4, New American Standard) Exercising a great test of his faith, Elijah did as the Lord had told him and camped beside the brook. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. But after awhile the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.

The Lord tested Elijah’s faith once again when he commanded that he “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” (vss. 8,9, New International Version) Strong in the faith of God’s word, he went to Zarephath, and came to the town gate where a widow was 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.’ Elijah said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’”—vss. 8-14, NIV

Because Elijah obediently followed God’s command and the widow faithfully followed Elijah’s instructions they were both kept alive during the famine. As the Lord had promised through Elijah, the bowl did not run out of flour nor did the jar run out of oil. We, too, can rest assured God’s word will not return to him void but will accomplish that which he pleases and prosper in that whereto he sends it. (Isa. 55:11) Solomon, the wise man, also gave us a powerful lesson in faith when he said, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”—Prov. 11:24,25, NIV

Elijah represents the church in the flesh and the widow those who assist. God’s people are assured that neither the bread of Truth (pictured by the flour) nor the Holy Spirit (pictured by the oil) will be lacking. As Elijah and the widow were both miraculously sustained during the drought, so also the Elijah class was sustained during the Dark Ages.

Jesus mentions this incident in Luke 4:24-26 forecasting that not enough faithful Israelites would compose the body of Christ, so that God would go to the Gentiles for this purpose.—Acts. 15:14

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