Elijah proclaimed it, and God backed him up...there was no rain, or even dew, for 3 years.
He went, as instructed, to 'hide' by Kirith Brook, and there he drank from the brook and the Ravens came to feed him.
Hardly the successful beginning to his 'career' as God's prophet that we'd expect, but that's what happened (read more about it in a previous post).
...but, after some time (1 Kings 17:7), the brook dried up! After all...there was no rain in the land!
Now what would happen?
"Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.” (1 Kings 17:8-9)...again, hardly the headline-grabbing career that we associate with Elijah.
Yet, even in this act--traveling this great distance, obeying the Lord's call, God was preparing Elijah for the great ministry which he would have.
Here's what happened...
"10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
God had sent Elijah to a widow of little means...a destitute woman who was about ready to have her last meal with her little boy, then go off and die!
Yet, God would use her in Elijah's life...and He would use Elijah in her life...
"13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
Elijah was calling her to trust and have faith in "the God of Israel" (she wasn't even Israelite!)
NOTE: He said to her "FIRST make a little bread for me...".
He's not being selfish, he's trying to teach her to live by faith in the God of Israel!
15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah."
For the next couple of years, this would be the arrangement. This foreign woman would feed the prophet of the LORD first, then herself and her child...and God miraculously provided a never-ending supply of flour and oil!
Often, God calls US to live by faith...and faith cannot be exercised after the fact! Faith must come first...we give (or serve, or step out, or speak up--or whatever else the Lord is calling on us to do), and God comes through, increasing and encouraging our faith!
God was teaching both Elijah and the widow to depend on Him, and to live by faith! To step out and believe in the God of Israel, putting obedience to Him first, and depending on Him to come through...
The widow would learn it, her son would learn it, Elijah would learn it...May we all learn that lesson today also!