The Widow of Sarepta
Charles H. Spurgeon
1 Kings 17:8-9
And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
The prophets taught us much by their doings as by their sayings: they were as truly prophesying to the people by the miracles which they wrought, as by the messages which they delivered. There was oftentimes a symbolic meaning in their actions; in fact, they were constantly teaching the people by outward symbols, which, alas! those people were usually of too dull understanding to interpret, but which, nevertheless, were a sign unto them. In the case of Elijah, a prophet of laconic speech, who said but little, but said that with a voice of thunder, I do not doubt that the narratives connected with his life, are meant to be to us a kind of acted prophesying, full of richest meaning. Let us see what we can gather, this morning, from the inexhaustible barrel and unfailing cruse of the widow of Sarepta. I know not how it is that I feel bound in spirit to preach upon this incident this morning; but this widow seems to have followed me for the last two or three days, with all the importunity of the widow in the parable, who would take no denial; and I trust that there may be some here for whom I bear, under sacred constraint, a message from the Lord. Grant it so, blessed Spirit, and we will praise your name! I. Our first observation will be, this morning, that the case of this woman of Sarepta is an instance of
We are not now inventing anything of our own. We have the warrant of the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession for this assertion, for when he went to Nazareth and opened the book and preached, did he not himself say, "Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow"? Election passed over all the poor widows of Israel who might have been expected, as belonging to God's covenant people, to be first provided for in the day of need, and it lighted in sovereignty upon a heathen, a woman living in a country which had been accursed of God, and given over aforetime to the sword of the seed of Jacob. Election, I say, passed over all the likeliest ones, and pitched upon her who seemed to be beyond the verge of hope, ordaining in mercy that she, entertaining the prophet, should be saved thereby.
Surely, beloved, we have here an instance of the sovereignty of electing love. If grace must go to Sidon for its object, why must it select a widow? She seemed to be the least likely person to answer the design of the decree, namely, the sustenance of the prophet. Were there not princes in Sidon with secret stores of food? Were there not merchants who had passed over the salt sea and ...
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