Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Fri, 04/12/2009 – 14:11
Bible Book: 1 Kings / 1 Konings
Chapter: 17
Verse: 8 – 24

According to verses 8 and 9 the LORD instructs Elijah to go to Zarephath to be taken care of by a widow. Although verse 9 says “Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you”, she does not have any food left to feed him with. It seems as if she has not received any previous warning about this man who would come to live with her in this time of drought. In this manner the story begins of how a widow of Sidon takes care of Elijah, the man who will later take on the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-46).

In the end it is God who takes care of the widow, her son and Elijah. The LORD the God of Israel continues to give flour in the jar and oil in the jug of the widow (verse 14). When the widow’s son becomes ill and his breath leaves him (verse 17) it is again the LORD, Elijah’s God, who revives the son so that Elijah can give him back to his mother.

This story of miracles (before this Elijah had been fed by ravens) is fascinating. It can easily lead to debates on miracles, but then also take us on a sidetrack.

What fascinates me in this story is how two aspects that often seem to be far apart and unrelated seem to co-exist in these events. I am referring to – on the one hand – what is happening here in the large arena of the politics of Israel. Elijah and Ahab, the king of Israel, are locked in a power struggle. This eventually leads to the battle between Elijah and the Baal prophets on Mount Carmel. It is a scene that reminds of the encounter between Moses and the magicians of Egypt, culminating in the exodus of Israel from Egypt. It almost seems as if this powers struggle ignores the fate of ordinary citizens. Surely many of them were also suffering because of the drought?

What happens here, on the other hand, is the story of three individuals in the small arena of a widow’s humble house. A woman, a child and a man from Tishbe in Gilead survive the drought because God takes care of them. Ordinary citizens are indeed part of God’s plans. In the end the battle on Mount Carmel is about their freedom to worship the God of Israel.

Our God is the one who holds times and nations in his hand. And He holds the widow and her son and the lonely prophet in his hand.

To think about (or discuss): How can what happens in the chambers of people of power be important for the struggle against HIV and AIDS? How can what happens between us in our homes and our encounters with individuals be important for the struggle against HIV and AIDS?

Author: du Toit N (Ds)
Language: English