“Then the woman said to Elijah, 'Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.'” 1 Kings 17:24
If you are not familiar with the story of Elijah and the widow, I want to give you a quick overview. For those of you who know the story well, bear with me and enjoy this abbreviated refresher: Elijah was the prophet who came to King Ahab and informed the king that because of his wicked deeds before the Lord, the rain over the land was to be cut off by the word of God given to him, and it would not return until the Lord commanded him to call it back. Then, for protection for Elijah from King Ahab, God sent Elijah off into the wilderness to be fed by a mountain stream and by the ravens, who brought him food morning and night. Time passed and the stream finally dried up. It is then God sent Elijah to a specific town to find a widow to care for his needs. But the problem with the widow is that she did not have even enough food to feed herself and her son. Elijah tells the woman that God will provide for her and her son and keep the meal (that is the grain she uses for making bread) jar and oil jar from being emptied until the rains return if she is obedient to his request. The woman obeyed his command and sure enough, the meal and oil continue to supply for their needs. But then this woman's son falls ill and soon dies, but Elijah is able to pray to the Lord in the end revive the boy from his slumber. To the miracle, “Then the woman said to Elijah, 'Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.'”
As I read this passage at the end of the story about the widow and Elijah, I found myself asking a question I had never thought about before when reading this story. “Could it have been even while God was supplying for her needs as well and the needs of her son and Elijah, through the meal and the oil that never ran out, that this widow was still unsure of the source of the power behind Elijah?” I think maybe she was unsure and she, being a woman of God, was asking God for a sign to help her to discern the intentions of Elijah.
You have to understand the current situation in that area to really get a good picture of everything this woman had to draw from in her reasoning. Consider first that she lived in a region which was anything but godly. The religion of the kingdom was Baal worship – the same worship that had infuriated the Lord and which had brought drought to the region. The queen had also been overseeing the killing off all of the prophets of God and it was assumed in the land that no real prophets of God were alive anymore. Finally, the prophets of Baal were plentiful in the land and used tricks to convince people of their validity. If this woman did not want to displease the Lord who she knew was the One true God, then she really did need a sign from Him that these false prophets could not conjurer up on their own – and that is where the death and resurrection of her son came into play and what finally convinced her that Elijah was the man who he said he was, a man of the One true God.
This story has a lot of implications for our own lives if were are to really reflect on them. Have you ever considered the false prophets of our day and the need to be discerning about who you listen to? Have you ever thought about the sources you go to for information and your constant need for God to show you the truth behind the facts you are taking in? Are you willing to let go of the most precious possession you have in order to see God's hand upon your life and your circumstances? Have you ever seen God's hand of provision in your life and failed to give God the credit and the glory? Or, have you given the glory of provisions given to you to the god of “luck” or “chance”?
God alone is the One who can reveal Himself to us. His proof gives us conviction beyond compare if our heart is ready to receive it. Following the One True God is just as simple as it was back in the days of Elijah, but just as the widow's experience shows us sometimes we must be willing to put everything we have on the line in order to see God in the midst of our circumstances and proceed in following Him without hesitation.