by Ivor Powell

This content is part of a series.

The Hungry Mother Who Could Not Forget (9 of 34)
Series: Bible Oases: Spiritual Refreshment From Unlikely Places
Ivor Powell
I Kings 17:17-18

This story begins with one of the most pathetic scenes described in the Old Testament. A lonely, despairing woman stood before her small son and sorrowfully made a tragic decision. The boy was hungry, but she had very little food to offer him. With great care she had handled the supplies that were left, and it is safe to assume the lad was given most of what had been available. Fearfully, she saw her resources dwindling, and finally the dreaded moment arrived. She only possessed "an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse" (1 Kings 17:12).

A small cake might be made and baked, but afterward she and her son would die. A terrible drought had ruined the economy of the city. Three years had elapsed since the heavens produced rain; animals had perished, and many people had left in search of better conditions. The woman had no helper; her husband had died, and she had been left with the responsibility of maintaining a home for her child. The position was extremely critical, the outlook bleak! Leaving the boy in the home, she went to collect sticks for a fire and saw a traveler entering the city. "Poor man; he also would be hungry, but if he came to Zarephath in search of food he had made a great mistake." Perhaps they passed the time of day, then she proceeded with her task.

The ancient writer said, "And when he [Elijah] came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and d ...

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