The Honor God Puts On The Lowly


We see here not only the divine preservation of Elijah but a special act of grace towards the woman of Zarephath. Without this act recorded the world would have never heard of her.


14. The Honor God Puts On The Lowly
15. When Death Comes To The Door
16. An Example Of The Power Of Faith
17. An Example Of Intercessory Prayer


It was a great honor (which was denied to the widows of Israel—(Luke 4:25-26) to have been singled out from the crowd for such a divine visitation. She was used by God as an important link in the chain of public events, and to have her name handed down to future ages as “The woman of Sarepta,” whose glory it was to “entertain a prophet in the name of a prophet and receive a prophet’s reward” (Matthew 10:41)>

For two years and a half, she entertained the man that, “Stands before Jehovah.” At whose word the clouds are sealed or the windows of heaven are opened! (1 Kings 17:1; 18:41-46).

The man whose prayer was to bring fire down from heaven upon the sacrifice of Carmel to the confusion of idolatry! (1 Kings 18:38). And who was to bring the same element down upon the soldiers of Ahaziah! (2 Kings 1:10-12).

And who was destined to ride alive into the heavens in a chariot of fire! And who was destined, many centuries later, to appear in glory with the Messiah on the Mount of Transfiguration!

And who is still looked for by Jews to appear on earth before the great Day of Judgment to gather back the children of Israel from the far corners of the earth! (Malachi 4:5-6; Revelation 11:3-4).

How Could This Poor Widow Hope For Such Distinction?

A poor widow, so poor that she had no servant and no fuel to build a fire in her house. A widow with her son, both at the point of death! A stranger, and a stranger of Zidon too—the land of Baal—and the land of Jezebel.

Note: God’s ways are not our ways. He brings unlikely things to pass.

How little do we know what may be the thoughts of his heart concerning us?

To be permitted to do anything for God is an unspeakable honor. Anoint his feet—feed him—visit him. Let us ever be in that attitude of whole-hearted consecration to God which will make us eligible for any service he may be pleased to promote us to.

Those who shrink from church work because of fancied incompetence fall into error.

Moses felt incompetent (Exodus 3:10-12).

Gideon felt inadequate (Judges 6:14-16).

It is enough that God has “commanded.”

His commands are promises.

The more difficult (humanly considered) the undertaking, the more glorious will the excellency of the power of God appear.

Attempt great things for God.

Expect great things from God.

Remember God sometimes places us in certain positions, jobs, or situations, which we feel like that we do not have the resources, the time, the energy, or the ability, to perform what is asked of us. When this happens remember that God’s promises are sufficient for the task.

The many days (2 ½ years?) in the home of the widow had been a happy, quiet, resting time for Elijah. Perhaps the only quiet happy season in all his life.


1 Kings 17:17. “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?”

The phrase in verse fifteen which is translated “many days,” is understood by some Hebraists to denote a year. So the phrase in verse seventeen, “And it came to pass after these things,” implies that the widow’s son died after Elijah had been in her house one year.

Her son falls sick and dies. How heartbroken she must have been. He was the last living thing that she had in this world.

Many people become bitter and angry towards God, the church, or the preacher when things like this happen. She might have had hard thoughts of God, or unworthy thoughts of the prophet. It is a wonder she held fast her integrity. But she only thought harshly of herself.

It must be, she reasoned, a judgment for her sin. The man of God had read her life and had brought her sin to the remembrance of his Master. (ver. 18) She had recognized the presence of God with Elijah and witnessed his miraculous power demonstrated in the provisions of the meal and oil.

She poured out her bereavement to Elijah in this manner.

1 Kings 17:18. “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?”

She saw the hand of God in the death of her son; she attributed it to Elijah being in her home.

Prophets were sent, usually, to reprove, and pronounce judgments. The coming of Samuel to Bethlehem inspired the elders and the people with fear and trembling (1 Samuel 16:4).

This bereavement, therefore, might suggest to the widow her sin in general, or some particular sin, though not clearly defined to her as yet. She supposed that God might have overlooked her sin, had it not been that he was present with His prophet in her home; and she associated discipline with retribution.

It is significant that the thought of her own sin should be her first thought. The calamity brought this to her remembrance because it seemed to her a sign of God’s remembrance of it. It is a true instinct which leads us to think of our sins in times of adversity.

Whenever affliction comes to us it should produce tenderness of conscience and call forth the prayer, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me” (Job 10:2), in order that if there be a secret sin in ourselves that demands this severe discipline we may have the grace to fight against it and cast it out.

Death especially should remind us of God, before whose tribunal it conducts us. So it especially should remind us of sin, for it is its wages appointed by God.


Here is a touching scene—a poor widow pressing to her bosom the corpse of her only child, and while in the agony of her bereaved soul, addressing Elijah.

1 Kings 17:18. “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.”

He had confidence in God before he prayed.

This is evident from the manner in which he asked the widow for the corpse. He did not tell her what he intended to do. But, on the other hand, neither did he express any hesitation as to the comfort she might expect.

A man of Elijah’s strong nature would have strong affections, and we can imagine how intensely he had come to love this child. This incident shows a side to his character which is often overlooked, one that was tenderly sympathetic and very humane.

On hearing of his death, he could only say to the distraught mother, “Give me thy son,” and then carried him up to his own room, and cried to God in an agony of prayer.


1 Kings 17:20. “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.”

In this incident, we have one of the greatest examples of intercessory prayer in the bible. It was offered in solitude; not even the mother was there. Such intense crisis in life must be met alone.

“Jacob was left alone” in the greatest crisis of his life at Jab-bok (Genesis 32:24), “And there wrestled a man (an angel? or, the Lord himself?) with him until the breaking of the day.”

What a tremendous act of faith for Elijah to ask for life to be restored to the dead child. Elijah was asking for something which had never been tried before, life from the dead.

Elijah’s prayer was intensely earnest. (James 5:17)

Elijah could not be denied. This was not a speech, but a cry.

Three times he prostrated himself upon the child, each time asking that life be restored to him. He looked for the awakening and flung himself on the dead child in an agony of earnestness as if he would infuse his own warmth and life.

The act was reenacted by Paul when a young man fell out of the third loft and was taken up dead (Acts 20:10).

The touch was similar to that of Peter when he took the cripple man by the hand and raised him up (Acts 3:7).

The human touch was not the cause of blessing, but the medium of blessing. The divine power works through the human agency. Jesus explained this to his disciples. (Mark 16:17-18)

1 Kings 17:22. “And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.”

The prayer was followed by a revelation of God’s power such as, till then, a man had never seen: the dead were raised. Jesus said, “ask, and ye shall receive,” (John 16:24)

Elijah could not give life, but he could ask God for it. The soul that asks will see God’s salvation.

1 Kings 17:23. “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 the truth.”

In the widow’s exclamation, we see the joy of a soul that for the first time is made fully conscious of the presence and power of God.

Elijah had been in her home for several months and she had been partakers of the divine power of God in the miraculous provisions of meal and oil. She had also observed Elijah in his daily devotion and prayers, and no doubt had felt the presence of God during his stay in her home.

But at the sight of Elijah bringing her son down from the upper chamber and placing him in her arms and feeling the warmth of his body and hearing the sound of his voice, which before had been silent, at that instant she entered a new dimension of faith.

“Now by this, I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is the truth.”

There is a tone of deep satisfaction in these words. It is the satisfaction that springs from the discovery of divine truth and the vivid sense of God. There is no satisfaction of which the soul of man is capable that can be compared with this.

All forms of divine manifestations—prophetic visitations, miracles, revelations, blessings, &c.—are designed to bring a person to this point—“I know.”

We reach the highest joy possible to us upon this earth when we can say with the Apostle John,

1 John 5:20. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

It was just like many others, who have been associated with the Church, enjoying the atmosphere of praise and worship, but never experiencing the full blessings of really knowing the Lord, until one day something happens and causes a special revelation to come to them.

To Abraham, it happened at Mam-re (Genesis 15:6),

To Jacob at Jab-bok (Genesis 32:24),

To Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:2),

To Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6),

And the list could go on and on to include everyone who has had this life-changing experience.

Very ancient tradition says that this boy became Elijah’s servant (1 Kings 18:43), and was, later, the prophet Jonah.

We hope you enjoyed this part of the study of Elijah. We will continue the Study of Elijah in Study #3.

Click on this link to go to Elijah #3,


By, James L. Thornton


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