God’s Word of Mercy and Forgiveness
1 Kings 17:8-24: In today’s reading, we learn that Elijah journeyed to Zarephath, provided food for a widow and her son, and restored the widow’s son to life.
Elijah and the Widow in Zarephath
8Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Now go to the town of Zarephath, near Sidon, and stay there. I have commanded a widow who lives there to feed you.” 10So Elijah went to Zarephath, and as he came to the town gate, he saw a widow gathering firewood. “Please bring me a drink of water,” he said to her. 11And as she was going to get it, he called out, “And please bring me some bread, too.”
12She answered, “By the living Lord your God I swear that I don’t have any bread. All I have is a handful of flour in a bowl and a bit of olive oil in a jar. I came here to gather some firewood to take back home and prepare what little I have for my son and me. That will be our last meal, and then we will starve to death.”
13“Don’t worry,” Elijah said to her. “Go on and prepare your meal. But first make a small loaf from what you have and bring it to me, and then prepare the rest for you and your son. 14For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The bowl will not run out of flour or the jar run out of oil before the day that I, the Lord, send rain.’”
15The widow went and did as Elijah had told her, and all of them had enough food for many days. 16As the Lord had promised through Elijah, the bowl did not run out of flour nor did the jar run out of oil.
17Some time later the widow’s son got sick; he got worse and worse, and finally he died. 18She said to Elijah, “Man of God, why did you do this to me? Did you come here to remind God of my sins and so cause my son’s death?”
19“Give the boy to me,” Elijah said. He took the boy from her arms, carried him upstairs to the room where he was staying, and laid him on the bed. 20Then he prayed aloud, “O Lord my God, why have you done such a terrible thing to this widow? She has been kind enough to take care of me, and now you kill her son!” 21 Then Elijah stretched himself out on the boy three times and prayed, “O Lord my God, restore this child to life!” 22The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer; the child started breathing again and revived.
23Elijah took the boy back downstairs to his mother and said to her, “Look, your son is alive!”
24She answered, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the Lord really speaks through you!”
Today’s Key Verse: 1 Kings 17:24
She answered, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the LORD really speaks through you!”
Reread verses 8-16. What was the widow’s situation? Why did she trust Elijah’s words? What happened several days later (verses 17-24)? In what ways do you demonstrate your trust in God?
Lord God, I trust in your promises and in your steadfast love and mercy. Order my steps this day, and let me not be led astray by false teachings. Keep me close to you and grounded in your holy Word. Amen.
Psalm 32: A psalm of confession and forgiveness