1 Kings 17:10-12
So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
As we have covered, Elijah’s brook had dried up. The Lord had been taking care of him for possibly as long as a year, and likely as the drought had progressed he had watched his brook slowly dry up.
We covered some how this instruction must have been puzzling to the Prophet. First, he was being sent to be provided for by a widow woman. In the economy of the times, this would have been the most unfortunate of people in the best of times, much less during a nationwide drought. The location where Elijah was being sent is also of note. Zarepath was a Phonecian city about 100 miles from where Elijah had been camped out. This was not an Israelite city, but a Gentile one. It was not actually not that far from Sidon, which was Jezebel’s home town! So, Elijah’s brook was dry, he is being sent to be provided for by the poorest of the poor, and he is being sent into likely a Godless, gentile area. That’s pretty interesting.
Why did God allow the brook to dry up? Why didn’t God just keep the water flowing, and the raven coming? He is God, or course, so He could do these things. Well, as with anything, God has a point and a plan. God was still honing Elijah to be the man He needed him to be, and lessons still needed to be taught. As one writer I read noted, we can become so focused on the fountain that we forget the source. Perhaps this change was to reinforce in Elijah’s mind just who was protecting him and where his sustenance was coming from.
Perhaps in our own lives, as we step out willingly to obey God even when things look too rough, we will encounter situations like this. Perhaps when it seems the rug has been snatched from under us, it is just God making us keep the focus on Him rather than what He gives us.
Final note. He has a calling and a mission for each and every one of us. If we obey and execute, He will take care of us. We may not understand the whys of His method, but if we are performing His work according to His plan, we will be taken care of.