Then the word of the Lord came to him (Elijah): Go at once to Zarephath… I have directed a widow there to supply you with food. – Kings 17:8-9
Elijah went to Zarephath on the Word of the Lord. A widow was gathering sticks when he came to the town gate. He asked her for a cup of water. When she was going to get it, he called after her and said: ‘And bring me, please, a piece of bread.’
‘As surely as the Lord your God lives’ she replied, ‘I don’t have any bread — only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it — and die’ (1 Kings 17:12).
The widow hesitated to do what Elijah asked, because she herself had little. Her supply was exhausted. Why do you think God sent His servant to her to say: ‘Share with me what you have for the good cause’?
Elijah arrived there with a word from God, and if she obeys it, she would receive a miracle and her life would be changed.
The key to blessings
The widow had given up all hope and already made plans for her funeral. But suddenly God’s servant appeared on her way and asked her something which shocked her. However, Elijah said to her: ‘Don’t be afraid… But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son’ (verse 13).
Here we find the key to all blessings; it is in the small word ‘first.’ What Elijah said seemed cruel, but he knew the widow had to take the first step. The faith in her heart grew and she decided to obey God.
This woman saw a whole new world: a world of God’s unlimited provisions. His wonderful, creative power entered her flour jar and touched the oil in the jug. God’s principle for man to receive is always to give first.