Today: [1 Kings Chapter Seventeen]: Make Me a Little Cake First! In this chapter Elijah is introduced into the biblical narrative. He declares a famine in the land because of the idolatry of Ahab and Jezebel. He tarries by the brook Cherith for a time and is then sent to a starving widow. This widow is literally preparing her last meal for herself and her son. Elijah interrupts her and tells her to make him a little cake first. Most people today would be so offend by this that they would kick Elijah out of their house and be dead in a week. The prophet Elijah was always asking for something. Certainly he was criticized as prophets today often are because religious mentalities never place value on what they do not understand. The widow however did what many would not have done and the result was not only a miracle of provision but even resurrection for her dead boy.
[1Ki 17:1-24 KJV] 1 And Elijah the Tishbite, [who was] of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, [As] the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. 2 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, 3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that [is] before Jordan. 4 And it shall be, [that] thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. 5 So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that [is] before Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
In this chapter we shift from the recitation of the line of kings in Israel to the emergence of the prophet Elijah. Elijah’s name means “My God is Yahweh” and is a direct challenge to the prevailing worship of Baal in Israel at that time. Most of Elijah’s dealings are in the Northern Tribes and the kings who worshipped a Bethel instead of going down to Jerusalem. Little is revealed about Elijah’s background other than he was a “Tishbite” which means stranger. Tishbite also refers to a city called Tishbe in Galilee so Elijah apparently arises from the same despised pedigree as Jesus Himself 900 years later.
Elijah confronts Ahab and declares there will be no rain or dew except according to his word. He is sent to Ahab to confront him and then God tells him to go to the brook Cherith near Jordan. The Lord tells him that he will drink from the brook and that ravens will be sent to feed him. Note that it says the ravens would feed him “there”. When you are in need of provision you should always ask yourself are you in the place called “there”? The ravens brought Elijah food morning and evening and he drank from the brook. It is interesting to note the presentation of Elijah to us in connection with how Elijah was supported and cared for. He was so unpopular in Ahab’s kingdom that it required supernatural resources just to feed and care for him. The brook Cherith means “separation”. Prophets are different from other ministries. Regardless of their character they are seldom received. Their calling to deliver “thus saith the Lord” is obnoxious to those who think they are in charge and free to decide from themselves what God is or is not saying in their lives. Nonetheless God saw to it that Elijah was cared for as the drought sets in because of the wickedness of Ahab and his wife Jezebel.
7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 8 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, 9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which [belongeth] to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
God supernaturally feeds Elijah but there comes a time when the brook dries up. Again Cherith means “separation”. One thing you can know about prophets is they need solitude like some people need water to drink. However you cannot stay in the place of solitude or separation. Some prophets don’t get this and they like the brook become dry and empty with nothing more to offer. As a prophet you have to recognize that no matter how isolated you may wish to be there is a time that God will send you to those in need. Why did God send Elijah to the widow of Zarephath? In order to be fed and cared for. The widow of Zarephath did not know it but God had commanded her to sustain Elijah. Here again is an ongoing discussion in the scriptures about supporting the prophets. In the New Testament (Matt. 10:41) Jesus tells the people that there is a “prophet’s reward” for them when they support the prophets. Of all the five ministries mentioned in Eph. 4:11,12 (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher) the prophet is the one ministry that Jesus Himself singles out and tells the people they will be blessed if they support them materially. Throughout the Old Testament it is mentioned time and again “not to come empty” before the prophets. In spite of this it is astounding the overwhelming rejection of this by Christianity at large. In Christian culture and even those who claim to accept the prophets there is often a negative attitude about giving to and supporting prophetic ministry. This was the same in Elijah’s day so much so that he starts out being supernaturally supported because the people were so dedicated to Baal worship that they weren’t willing to sustain Elijah.
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he 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. 11 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. 12 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 dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go [and] do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring [it] unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day [that] the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
Elijah presents himself to the widow who is preparing the last meal for herself and her son. Prophets are often accused of preying upon those least able to give but to whom was Elijah sent? The reason why prophets are sent to the desperate is because they are being singled out by God for a blessing. When you are desperate and crying out to God as this woman surely was how does God answer? By sending you a hungry prophet. How many people have struggled and not known how they were going to make it – crying out to God but then being offended at the prophet who was sent to them to say “make me a little cake first”? If the widow would have clicked “delete” on the e-mail Elijah sent out to her she would have perished and her son with her.
We occasionally get e-mail from offended people who excoriate us for asking people to “make us a little cake first…” They want us to minister to them and THEN they will consider giving a little something if they like what they here. The principle with the prophetic is MAKE ME A LITTLE CAKE FIRST. The thing to remember that it was a little cake yes but it represented ALL SHE HAD. If Elijah was worried about what people think he wouldn’t have had the audacity to ask this. Can you imagine what other prophets and her neighbors would have thought about this charlatan taking advantage of this woman and her starving son? If Elijah was worried about what people thought they would have ALL STARVED. When we hear these complaints about giving I always go back and look at the request they have sent us before they knew we were asking for “a little cake first”. In their requests we see these offended people are in bankruptcy, their marriages are a wreck, they are struggling with secret sins, they see no way out – yes they are in exactly the situation of the widow of Zarephath but they couldn’t get past the offense of making “a little cake first” for Elijah. The little widow’s life and the life of her son are hanging in the balance. If she can’t get past the offense of giving and giving FIRST to the prophet then she and her son will die.
15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat [many] days. 16 [And] the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.
Are you living in a famine situation? In the day that we live in the economies of the earth are being so stretched that our very currencies are on the verge of collapsing. God has a plan for you to “eat many days” and that your bank account like the barrel of meal will not waste and as the cruise of oil will fail not according to the word of the Lord. You know your bank account is failing when the checks are bouncing and there is not enough to do what needs to be done. What is the answer? If you believe the scriptures the answer is “make me a little cake first”. If that doesn’t apply today then perhaps we should convene a synod and pass a resolution that this passage of scripture should not have been included in the canon. The little widow received her miracle. She lived. Her son lived. Now instead of a despised pauper she is the only one in town whose ribs aren’t showing. However this is not the greatest miracle. This miracle of supply was only God leading up to coming through for her in her hour of greatest need.
17 And it came to pass after these things, [that] the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. 20 And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. 22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. 24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou [art] a man of God, [and] that the word of the LORD in thy mouth [is] truth.
God knew that this woman’s son was going to die. The situation may have caught her by surprise but it didn’t catch God by surprise. In sending Elijah to her God was preparing her for the greatest challenge of her life. God determined that it was necessary to get her into faith and trusting Him totally in order to prepare her for the death of her son and believing that He would intervene. In her grief the widow cries out to Elijah and notice what he said: “give me your son…” Can you imagine the fear and the offense? She was blaming the prophet for the death of her boy. How many times have you heard people blaming the prophets for something that didn’t go right in their lives? Now she see Elijah as the whole problem. Many people get involved with the prophetic and then when something doesn’t go right they blame the prophets! If she hadn’t been willing to give Elijah that precious and deceased body of her boy the only outcome would have been played out in the funeral home. Elijah started out asking for a little cake – now he was asking for her most precious son. Prophets are always asking you to give something. If you can’t get past that you won’t see your miracle. You have to get past the fact that God will always put the prophet in front of you who doesn’t know when to quit asking.
Finally the prophet Elijah takes the boy and begins to minister to him. What happens next? He lays upon the boy. Sounds wrong doesn’t it? There is something homoerotic in that picture of a grown man stretching himself on the body of a dead boy. What happens? Nothing! What would have been the outcome if after the first time Elijah did this the woman would have snatched up her dead son? She might have ran out of the room with her body snarling at Elijah that he was some kind of pervert – because when Elijah first ministered to the boy NOTHING HAPPENED. If you are a prophet you cannot be dissuaded if you don’t get results the first time, or the second time. If a prophet prophesies to you and it doesn’t happen what is your response? Go find another prophet? If the widow had done this, her boy would not have lived. She chose however to stand by – mute and waiting for a different outcome. Elijah stretches himself on the boy THREE TIMES and the miracle comes. Then all doubt is removed and she knows that he is God’s man. Jesus in the New Testament says “blessed are those who believe who have not seen…” Where is your faith? What is your desperation? Do you need a financial miracle? Do you need a relationship transformation or a healing in your body? Go find out what the prophet in your life is asking for and see what happens when you respond. Your miracle is available – be bold enough to obey.
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