What’s in Your House?
“But in truth I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was closed up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was not sent [by the Lord] to a single one of them, but only to Zarephath in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and not one of them was cleansed [by being healed] except Naaman the Syrian.” Luke 4:25-27
A widow, a woman whose husband has died. Women in the days of Elijah were considered weaker vessels; second class citizens. The death of her husband meant the woman’s head had died – the quality of the body depends on the head thus she had no protection, no glory, and was found in a place of vulnerability and disadvantage.
Widows are suggestive of individuals in the body of Christ who are desirous of something, have a need or request; persons amid difficulty. There were many widows in Israel, in the scripture, we discover that Elijah is used as an agent specifically to one widow. God needs and uses human agency to accomplish His work on the Earth. Though we may not physically see God, He uses man as a conduit to bring to pass the very things we seek.
Elijah was sent to Zarephath in the land of Sidon; a specific location. The name Zarephath refers to a refinery; a workshop for the refining and smelting of metals. Sidon refers to a fishery. God does not regard your birthplace or background in deciding to bless you. If given the opportunity, many would choose to be born in a place of glory and prestige. God was intentional in deciding your place of birth. The first decision God made concerning any person was the womb from which he or she would be born. For this purpose, scripture instructs us“to honor your father and mother, so your days will be long.” Exodus 20:12.
1 Kings 17:7-16 – the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. After supplying Elijah with water from a brook and food by ravens (1 Kings 17:2) God instructs Elijah to visit a widow; a woman who by perception should have nothing. Elijah observes the widow at the town gate pickings sticks; gates are symbolic of a place where destinies are discovered and traded, where decisions are made, a spiritual market place (Ruth 4 – Boaz sat in the gates of the city to liberate Ruth) Elijah then requests a jar of water. Water signifies spirit, a sign of life. By this request Elijah inquires whether the widow has any hope, does life remain in what appears to be a bleak situation. (Job 14:7) Elijah observes the woman’s compliance, then requests bread –symbolic of the Word of God. Elijah recognizes that she may have the spirit but now wants to see if she has a Word foundation.
The widow retorts “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug, I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” (1Kings 17:12) The import of this scripture is we often have flour (potential) that has not been processed to become bread (a Word). The widow is void of hope and intends to eat her seed (flour and oil) and die. Do not mistake your seed for feed and die. The seed must die to cause a harvest. What do you possess in your house? What gifts do you possess? Don’t kill your seed.
In verse 13 - Elijah instructs the woman “But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.” For the widow’s seed to become feed, she first had to give it to God (Elijah). What you need to turn your life around is in your house, it’s in your possession; give it to God. Verse 14 – “For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land” The widow’s obedience and compliance ensured an endless cycle of supply throughout the seasons.
Elijah means the Lord is God, thus Elijah reflects God the Father. Elisha refers to God the Son – Jesus Christ. Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, meaning the valley of vision; one who cannot see past the valleys, should have been his successor. Unless you can stand upon the mountains of your life, i.e.—the problems you encounter, the valleys of your life will bury your vision. Gehazi, should have been victorious and acquired Elisha’s grace, but as 2 Kings 5 illustrates, Gehazi succumbed to the love of wealth and materialism. Avoid the Gehazi spirit, rather than seeking to be aligned with material gain, seek the purpose of God.
Just as Elijah ministered to the desperate need of a widow at the point of death in Zarephath, in 2 Kings 4:1-7, Elisha helps the “wife of a man from the company of the prophets” who was struggling to pay off her husband's debts. With no husband to provide for her, she was in danger of debt and slavery, as permitted in Exodus 21:7. The single oil jar that symbolized the widow's poverty miraculously became the instrument of her deliverance. God always responds to prayer, but He uses something already deposited on the inside of you to bring the best out of you.
The woman from the company of prophets had a small jar of olive oil. “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” What kind of vessel do you have? Develop capacity; capacity defines the limits of your growth and expansion. Elisha instructed her to “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.” Ask your neighbors; you don’t know it all. Don’t be afraid to borrow vessels- wisdom and knowledge are not a monopoly. Expand capacity by interacting with others-Proverbs 27:17 (KJV) Iron sharpens iron; so, a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. There is power in asking. Be bold to ask for things that you need. Asking is a form of prayer (Matt. 7:7)
The scripture continues, “Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” Fullness suggests maximized capacity- as you’re filled share, or you’ll be saturated, maxed out and shunted to one side. “She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring.” Sons bring jars; mentors (mothers) do the pouring. “When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.” No jar, no oil; the oil stops when there are no available vessels. So far as there are vessels, the anointing flows. “She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” Go back to the source of your miracle for direction, consistently; stay connected to mentors.
There’s always something you carry that you are not aware of or value. Present a seed, you must have something to sow for a harvest. The widow thought she had her last meal, but a simple act of obedience gave a widow from Phoenicia a miracle that shocked her to the core. What do you have in your house? Selah.