Zaraphath – I Kings 17 (October 19th)
After Brook Cherith God sent Elijah to Zaraphath for further refining.
It was a hundred-mile hike to get there, through rugged terrain, and Elijah was on the ten least popular men list in the region. Not a fun trip.
Zaraphath means “refining” -likely named after the smelting furnaces there- so even the name of the city has significance.
While Cherith was Elijah’s trial the death of the widow’s son in Zeraphath was her trial.
To prep for Sunday ahead of time, read 1 Kings 17.8 – 24.
Who to you relate best to in this story, Elijah or his hostess?
Sunday morning we’ll endeavor to see these events through their eyes and apply what we discover to trials we currently face.
Someone has well-said that there’s only one way to get from 10K to 14K to 18K to 24K — turn up the heat.
So, how’s it going? Are you being refined? God knows what he’s doing.
Remember too, that temptations are intended to break us down with ruin the desired result, while trials are intended to make us stronger, purer, more valuable. The trouble is, we can’t tell the difference at the moment.
If we have time we’ll explore that concept Sunday morning too.
It’s often in our darkest, alone-est hours that we discover the intense nearness of Christ.
Read: 17.8-9 “Go to Zaraphath.”
- Zidon (Sidon) – foreign country.
- Baal worshipers (weather god, lots of sexual perversion in their rituals)
- Jezebel’s from here!
- 100-mile trek – and he started out thirsty. There were no signs “Wall Drug – Free Water, Free Ice” along the way.
It’s important to remember that this drought is Elijah’s fault! He’s the one who prayed it wouldn’t rain.
Q: Why’d he pray that way?
A: Deut. 11:8-17
Anyone who recognized Elijah pretty much knew. “You’re to blame for the conditions we’re in.”
He was NOT the most popular man in the country.
“I’ve commanded a widow there to take care of you.”
If Elijah knew Deuteronomy well enough to know what it said about obedience and rain, he knew it well enough to know how risky this was. Don’t take advantage of the widow.
Remember the harvest rules for Israel?
How many times through the field? (Once – what remains is for the widows & homeless)
How do you treat the corners and the ends? (Leave them – same reason)
Read: 1 Kings 17.9-16
Elijah obeyed. Plain and simple
Elijah – How’s this striking you?
Widow – How’s this feeling? What’s going on inside right now?
And then – here in this season of “refining”, the widow’s son died:
“We don’t need another crisis, Elijah!”
Hope crushed and shattered is a double blow.
It is excruciatingly painful.
Confidence drains. Fortitude fails.
Read vv 17-18 … how you (either Elijah or the widow) feel now!
“Give me your son.” – Acceptance.
Private entreaty before God – not a public miracle.
This may be consistent with Elijah’s approach; it’s possible he prayed for no rain (Jas. 5.17) and it had been six months already before he told Ahab. Perhaps he’s going to talk to God first about the need before anyone needed to know.
The rest of ch. 17 – Renewal – Revival
Compare Hebrews 10.12-22, especially 19-22
Elijah’s short prayers indicated he was in right relationship with God — there wasn’t a lot of catching up to do
The son is returned to life.
Confidence returns to the widow…
and it’s back to waiting for Elijah.
I brought you here, I’ll take care of you. Here. Trust me.
“So what would you like for breakfast in the morning?”
“The same as yesterday will be fine.”