Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 17

How the widow could provide food for Elijah

1 Kings 17:13

God had already spoken to this woman. He had told her to provide food to the prophet (holy man) whom he (God) would send to her (17:9).

However, it seemed impossible that she could ever carry out this special work for God. That year, the rains did not fall and the harvest failed. Nobody had food that they were willing to sell. If anyone was able to sell food, she could not afford it. Elijah the prophet came when only enough food remained for a single meal.

At last, the prophet had come – but it seemed too late. She seems to have realised very quickly that he was the prophet. He requested bread, as God’s command to her would have caused her to expect. In her reply, she referred to God as ‘the Lord your God’ – so she knew he was a holy man.

If Elijah had come sooner, she would have gladly provided for him. Even now perhaps, she would have given her last meal to him. However, she could do nothing more. Her reply seems so desperate. She truly wanted to obey God’s command, but she could not do it.

Elijah’s reply was kind and gentle. God was not asking her to do more than she was able to do. She did not need to prepare a great meal for him. God had told her to provide food for him, so she should obey that. However, even a small piece of bread was enough, and then food would remain for her and her son. They would eat this meal – and then God would provide for the future. So, there was no proper reason to be afraid (Matthew 6:25-34).

Next part: God provides for the widow and for Elijah (1 Kings 17:14-16)


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