1 Kings 17:8-16 NKJV
“Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, ‘Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.’ And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, ‘Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” So she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.’ And Elijah said to her, ‘Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which Hw spoke by Elijah.”
When the church comes together as a corporate body and ministers unto the Lord, there will always be fresh bread in the house. Like the widow, we sometimes have our own plans and agendas.
1 King 17:12 NKJV
“….and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
Ministering to God is not a suggestion or a request- it is a commandment!
1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV
“Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”
1 Kings 17:9 NKJV
“See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”
Corporately and individually we are to minister to God first, then He will take care of our immediate needs and our future needs.
I. Minister to God first:
Elijah wanted to be taken care of first- he wanted his meal before the widow had hers. He told her, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I might drink…Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” He wanted his needs ministered to first.
When we minister to the Lord first there will be no lack of the Word of God or the presence of the Holy Spirit. God will sustain us until the appointed time that He chooses to pour out the rain of His Holy Spirit.
1 Kings 17:16 NKJV
“The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.”
People will agree upon the importance of giving the first of their money, but many of the same people do not realize the importance of ministering to the Lord first. They do not know what true worship is. Obedience in our worship unto God does bring blessings.
1 Kings 17:10 NKJV
“….Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.”
1 Kings 17:11 NKJV
“…Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
Elijah asked the woman to feed him first, even though he could clearly see her need. Today, God can clearly see the needs of the church and the people that gather each week at church. Could it be that needs go unmet because of our disobedience- we will not minister to God first. God is a jealous god, and He desires (and commands) our worship.
Exodus 34:14 NKJV
“(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God)”
Psalm 66:4 NKJV
“All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.”
The woman and her son would probably have died if she had not been obedient to Elijah’s request (command.)
Psalm 95:6-11 NKJV
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.
For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’
So I swore in My wrath,
They shall not enter My rest.”
II. God will meet your immediate needs:
In order for the widow to minister to Elijah she had to put aside her plans and her needs, and lay down the sticks in her hand. The widow had to lay aside her knowledge. She knew that there had not been any rain on the land, and that her and her son were starving to death. They needed food. She could clearly see that death was near for both of them. She was a desperate woman.
1 Kings 17:13 NKJV
“And Elijah said to her, ‘Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.”
III. God will meet your future needs:
Because the widow fed Elijah first, her household was fed also. They too, had plenty of bread. When we minister to God first not only us but our church family will be fed also. Through obedience our needs and the needs of others will be met.
1 Kings 17:15 NKJV
“So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.”
Could it be….
…that Elijah represents God (or the presence of God)?
…that the gate represents worship?
…that the widow represents the believer (the church)?
…that the bread represents Jesus, the Bread of Life?
…that the oil represents Holy Spirit (or the work of the Holy Spirit)?
…that rain represents the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?
Have we left God, the one we love, standing at the gate saying, “Please worship me. Please love Me, Please minister unto Me”?
Like the widow, we too must put aside our plans and our needs. We must lay down everything and minister to God first. We must lay aside our knowledge and what we see with our natural eyes. We may know that there has not been any rain of the Holy Spirit and that things are dry. We may feel like we are starving to death. We too may need food. Through our eyes it may even look like death is near.
Are you desperate like the widow? Do you long for the rain of the Holy Spirit upon your life and church? Do you long for fresh bread? If so, do what she did. Lay aside everything and minister unto the Lord!
Psalm 5:7 NKJV
“But as for me, I will come into Your house in
the multitude of Your mercy; In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.”
When we gather together it is first for God’s benefit, to worship Him, second for our benefit, that we may receive fresh bread, and third for the benefit of others, that their needs may be met also. Elijah was ministered to first, second the widow and her son, and third her household.
There are times that we, like the widow, are filled with self-pity. We know the routine of church so well. We know the schedule and what to do, and at what time to do it. We know that man has allotted only a few minutes for what the church calls “worship.” Comparisons between churches, classes, teachers and even pastors begin to run through our minds. Because of all of this, we sometimes find ourselves whining inside about the situation instead of truly worshiping God in spirit and in truth. Our hearts are far from God. We are no different than the person who makes out and enforces the prearranged schedules. Needless to say, the presence of God does not fill the place. We have not prepared a place for Him nor have we provided for His needs.
When we forget everything we see with our eyes and hear with our ears, when we forget that we know the routine/schedule and purpose in our heart to minister to the Lord, He will see that we do not go hungry.
Psalm 37:25 NKJV
“I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.”
God’s children never go hungry, nor do they have to beg. When we minister unto the Lord first there will always be fresh bread in the house. You can always spot desperate and obedient people in a “dry and thirsty” land. They are the ones that never run out of flour (fresh bread) or oil (the work of the Holy Spirit) in their lives.
1 Kings 17:14-16 NKJV
“For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.”