The story of Elijah and the woman of Zarephath is a beautiful story with amazing truth for us to learn. We can find this story in 1 King chapter 17. The story goes that God was angry with Israel’s king Ahab because he had married Jezebel, a pagan woman from Sidon.
This marriage helps forge an alliance with Israel’s neighbor but involves him worshiping Canaanite gods, who is Ahab’s folly. Let us read on more about what happened next in 1 King 17.
1. The wages of sin are death and suffering
King Ahab’s disobedience and sin to God brought about famine and punishment to the country of Israel. Throughout the Bible, we can see that whenever a good king rules the nation, there will be prosperity, but when an evil king rules, there will be destruction and death.
The people of Israel were punished because of the sins committed by the king, and we know that God cannot condone sin because He is an upright and righteous God.
2. God will Never Forsake Those Who Love Him
There comes a time in Elijah’s life when Jezebel is planning to kill him because he was working according to the instructions of God and not the king. There was no food for him to eat and God supernaturally provided food through a raven for him. Ravens are considered unclean by the Jews and imagine an Israelite eating bread brought by a raven.
God used a woman who was without food to feed Elijah, she lives in a town called Zarephath which lies between Tyre and Sidon near Lebanon. The woman was about to use the last bit of food left in her house to cook for her and her son, but Elijah tells her to cook for him first.
3. Obedience brings abundance
When the woman obeys Elijah, her last bit of flour and a small jug of olive oil doesn’t dry up until the drought is over. Her story continues after the drought when her son becomes sick and almost dying, the widow complains to Elijah, and God hears Elijah’s prayer and heals him.
4. Israel resisted the prophets
Throughout the old testament, we can read of many stories where the Israelites disobeyed and resisted the prophets sent by God to them. In Luke 4:24-26, Jesus visited Tyre and Sidon and told them there, “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.
The disobedience of Ahab to Elijah’s words caused God to send him elsewhere. The people of Nazareth, when they heard Jesus say that tried to kill Jesus there because it sounded offensive to them.
5. Hope comes through the word of God
In this passage, God told Elijah to leave his hideaway in Jordan and go to Zarephath, saying, “Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you” (1 Kgs 17:9).
God commanded Elijah twice, and the woman once, and what seemed like a hopeless situation was turned around completely resulting in Elijah and the woman receiving their provision. God loves and cares for all of us, the unsaved and the saved, the Canaanites as well as the Israelites.