1 Kings 17* Elijah fed by ravens. (1-7) Elijah sent to Zarephath. (8-16)Elijah raises the widow's son to life. (17-24)1-7 God wonderfully suits men to the work he designs them for.The times were fit for an Elijah; an Elijah was fit for them.The Spirit of the Lord knows how to fit men for the occasions.Elijah let Ahab know that God was displeased with the idolaters,and would chastise them by the want of rain, which it was not inthe power of the gods they served to bestow. Elijah wascommanded to hide himself. If Providence calls us to solitudeand retirement, it becomes us to go: when we cannot be useful,we must be patient; and when we cannot work for God, we must sitstill quietly for him. The ravens were appointed to bring himmeat, and did so. Let those who have but from hand to mouth,learn to live upon Providence, and trust it for the bread of theday, in the day. God could have sent angels to minister to him;but he chose to show that he can serve his own purposes by themeanest creatures, as effectually as by the mightiest. Elijahseems to have continued thus above a year. The natural supply ofwater, which came by common providence, failed; but themiraculous supply of food, made sure to him by promise, failednot. If the heavens fail, the earth fails of course; such areall our creature-comforts: we lose them when we most need them,like brooks in summer. But there is a river which makes glad thecity of God, that never runs dry, a well of water that springsup to eternal life. Lord, give us that living water! 8-16 Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, and some,it is likely, would have bidden him welcome to their houses; yethe is sent to honour and bless with his presence a city ofSidon, a Gentile city, and so becomes the first prophet of theGentiles. Jezebel was Elijah's greatest enemy; yet, to show herhow powerless was her malice, God will find a hiding-place forhim even in her own country. The person appointed to entertainElijah is not one of the rich or great men of Sidon; but a poorwidow woman, in want, and desolate, is made both able andwilling to sustain him. It is God's way, and it is his glory, tomake use of, and put honour upon, the weak and foolish things ofthe world. O woman, great was thy faith; one has not found thelike, no not in Israel. She took the prophet's word, that sheshould not lose by it. Those who can venture upon the promise ofGod, will make no difficulty to expose and empty themselves inhis service, by giving him his part first. Surely the increaseof this widow's faith, so as to enable her thus readily to denyherself, and to depend upon the Divine promise, was as great amiracle in the kingdom of grace, as the increase of her meal andoil in the kingdom of providence. Happy are all who can thus,against hope, believe and obey in hope. One poor meal's meatthis poor widow gave the prophet; in recompence of it, she andher son did eat above two years, in a time of famine. To havefood from God's special favour, and in such good company asElijah, made it more than doubly sweet. It is promised to thosewho trust in God, that they shall not be ashamed in evil time;in days of famine they shall be satisfied. 17-24 Neither faith nor obedience shut out afflictions anddeath. The child being dead, the mother spake to the prophet,rather to give vent to her sorrow, than in hope of relief. WhenGod removes our comforts from us, he remembers our sins againstus, perhaps the sins of our youth, though long since past. WhenGod remembers our sins against us, he designs to teach us toremember them against ourselves, and to repent of them. Elijah'sprayer was doubtless directed by the Holy Spirit. The childrevived. See the power of prayer, and the power of Him who hearsprayer.
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