Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
There may be a little treasure of truth buried in the story of Elijah that illustrates the kindness and compassion of the Lord. The faithful but lonely prophet has been directed to seek shelter in the home of the widow of Zarepath (which belongs to Sidon). He appreciates her hospitality and her faith. But a terrible sickness suddenly takes the life of her young son (1 Kings 17:17, 18).
At first Elijah has brought sunshine and gladness into her widowed life. But now the bereaved mother imagines that the man of God has ministered this grief to her in that his holy presence in her home has brought all her sins into memory and judgment. She wails in her anguish, "Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?" (vs. 18).
Elijah takes it personally; he knows he is hated in Israel and Phoenicia, everybody everywhere blames him for the famine. Now it seems that God has humiliated him by bringing this bereavement on this widow. When he takes the dead son from her, he doesn't pray a quiet, unimpassioned prayer as he did later on Mount Carmel; he agonizes his distress. "He cried out to the Lord and said, 'O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?'" (vs. 20). A prayer from a broken heart!
In mercy, the Lord answered his prayer of distress and resurrected the child.
Do you suppose that the Lord granted this precious interlude blessing as a way to strengthen the faith of Elijah when he stood alone and friendless before the king, the priests of Baal, and the multitude, on Mount Carmel? He remembers: the Lord has honored his prayer by raising a dead child to life. Wouldn't that recent memory nerve his spirit and encourage him? That should be enough to fortify his faith: but yes, the fire will fall!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 23, 2005.
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