Bible Stories for the Young

A Widow

Values Elijah More Than Food


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A Widow : Values Elijah More Than Food

It hadn’t rained in over 2 years. The people of Israel began to starve, and Elijah’s brook in the ravine had dried up.

But did God stop taking care of Elijah? No, of course not. That just meant it was time for Elijah to move on. (That happens sometimes when you’re following God. He lets one place “dry up” so that you will move on to another place.)

God said to Elijah, “Move on to a town called Zarephath and stay there. I’ve told a widow there to give you food.”

So, of course, Elijah obeyed right away and went to Zarephath.

When Elijah got to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks so she could make a fire. Elijah asked the widow, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink? Also, would you please bring me a piece of bread?”

The widow answered Elijah, “I don’t have any bread — only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I’m gathering a few sticks to take home so I can make a little fire for cooking a tiny meal for myself and my son. This will be our last meal and we are so thin and hungry that we’ll die very soon.”

(Was this the widow God told to feed Elijah? She didn’t even have enough food to feed herself and her son! And God said He’d already told the woman to feed Elijah. Do you think she could have been struggling with the idea of sharing her last bit of food? So she wanted to make sure Elijah “understood” her “situation”?)

Elijah kindly answered her, “Don’t be afraid. Do as you planned. But first, make a tinier loaf of bread for me from what you have, and bring it to me first. Then, make some bread for yourself and your son.”

Now Elijah wasn’t being selfish when he asked for her to feed him first. He just knew that this was God’s way. He knew that the widow needed to learn to trust and to give to God first.

All the flour the woman had could fit in her hand. That wasn’t very much at all! She knew she and her son would die very soon without more food. But Elijah was asking her to share this very, very last small bit. Because he knew that she had a little lesson to learn from the birds… that God’s GOT THIS!

Did you know?

Have you ever been asked to share but felt like you might not have enough if you gave some away? Did you know that God loves it — and I mean loves it! — when we trust Him and love other people so much that we give away even what we think we need?

Elijah continued, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘Your jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will never be empty until the day I make it rain again.’”

The woman decided to trust. She took care of the needs of God’s man, Elijah, first.

Because she showed she believed God and valued Elijah more than her own food, God did exactly what He promised.

Every time the woman went to make bread, she’d open the jar and — Puff! — there was flour in the jar. Every day, more and more and more flour, no matter how many times she dumped it out! Puff! Puff! Puff!

And when she went to add oil to the flour — Glug! — there was always oil in the jug. Glug! Every day, more and more and more oil, no matter how much she used. Glug! Glug! Glug!

Yes, it was a miracle! A miracle every single day! God provided just enough, enough, enough. Enough food for Elijah, enough food for the woman, enough food for her son.

When we take care of God’s things first, then God will take care of us in His own special ways. Do you think that the flour and oil would have kept being more and more and more if she would have just made the meal for herself and son first, instead of feeding Elijah first? No, I don’t think so, either. God wants us to TRUST! So often His Way is that when you care about others more than yourself by putting them first, your “food” and “oil” just never run out (even if every day feels like it’s the last Puff from the jar and Glug from the jug).

Sometime after this, the woman’s son got very sick and died. But Elijah stretched out over the boy and asked God to bring the boy back to life, and He did! The woman then knew just how special Elijah was. Do you think she liked sharing her food and having him around then? I do too.