And Elijah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son” (1 Kings 17:13).
Background: Israel is in a drought and famine condition. There had been no rain & no food during these years when Elijah (a type of Christ) appears on the scene and demands food and drink from a poor widow (a type of the Church – you & me).
In the midst of this drought & famine condition, Elijah comes to this village of Zarephath as the Lord commanded him and there encounters a widow at the city gates who was gathering sticks as fuel to cook the last meal for herself and son. He calls out to her and asks her for water to drink and food to eat – the very things that were in short supply due to the prevailing drought and famine condition. She exclaims in despair, I have no food to eat except a handful of meal (flour) and a cruse (small jar) of oil. I am gathering these sticks to go in and cook a meal of it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die. This was going to be their last meal. Elijah fully knowing the situation made a startling request. “He said to her, fear not! Go ahead and prepare your meal, but bring me a little cake from it first and then you and your son may eat the rest. For thus says the Lord God of Israel, the jar of meal shall not be spent and the cruse of oil shall not fail until the day the Lord sends rain upon the earth” (v. 13, 14).
Elijah knew she was a poor woman and this was her last meal. He knew she was acting on her self-preservative instincts till the end. Yet he began to draw the woman away from her self-centered desires to look after herself and family and to put her faith in God instead. He was challenging her to trust God’s promise, but this required that she deny herself of her own requirements first, a hard thing under the circumstances. Elijah challenges her to put him (Elijah) first and then to look after her own needs. And to help her faith, he added, that if she did so, the Lord had promised that she would not run out of flour and oil again. But the key was she would have to give Elijah first priority in these despairing conditions. Her faith was being challenged. But she obeyed and we are told that the meal and oil was miraculously multiplied and that she and her household ate for many days.
When we were found by Christ in that first encounter, we were in the same position of this destitute widow. We were also in a spiritual drought and famine condition devoid of the fullness of the Spirit and without the Word of God in our lives. The same demand is made to us. “Make me a little cake thereof first”. The Lord is saying that no matter what your conditions is, whether it be spiritual famine or drought, if you will put me first in your life, I will take care of the rest of your needs. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” (Mt 6:33-34a). It almost appears that God is cruel and unfair to make such a demand. If we only perceived the awesome truth of this lesson! God is not unfair or cruel, but actually wishes to bless us; but the blessing cannot be given unless we exercise faith (trust) in His Word of Promise. And this faith cannot be properly exercised unless we first put ourselves out of the way – in short deny ourselves. As long as self is foremost it will continually be a hindrance to faith. Therefore Jesus said: “If any man come after me, let him deny himself and pick up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23).
Application: Beloved, God is not cruel, nor is He sadistic. Instead, He wants to bless you! But every blessing comes after the test (like the story above) and never in reverse. Many a time God is just one of the people in our lives. We usually have other “firsts” that take priority in our lives and though God may be part of our lives, he is secondary and revolves around those other things. Meaning, He is just one of those elements in our lives. But when we put God first in our lives, then He takes the center-stage and all other things in our lives begin to revolve around Him. When we put God first all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives….(Ezra Taft Benson). Give Him the first & best time of the day (early morning) in worship and make His Word your first morsel of food for the day and you will see His abundant blessing and provision in your life. Your well will never run dry and the readiness of His Word on your lips you will not lack. He promises again: “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-38). Has your well gone dry spiritually? Are you hungry and thirsty for more of a satisfying life. Has life dealt you a rotten deal so far? Do you often secretly wish – If only I could get a second chance to start life all over again? It is possible to get this second chance! Only God who created us, can give it to us, and it is only possible in Christ, for only when a man is in Christ he becomes a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)! That is how you receive your second chance, by becoming a new-creation and starting again with Christ at the helm. By faith now, turn from your self-centered ways and start to put Him first in your life. Re-read the story above and understand the principle clearly. God must have first place in our lives. Then we become a living stream, a fruitful bough that yields fruit in its season (Psalm 1:1-3). Life becomes meaningful, and we discover the reason why we were created. Amen!