By Michael Julian
Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church, Kenton
Do you remember the incident in the lives of the disciples when they could not heal a man’s son possessed with a spirit? Jesus, coming back from the mountain of transfiguration, walked into the confusion. Jesus proceeds to drive out the deaf and dumb spirit. The disciples privately question Jesus about their inability to drive out the spirit, in which He responds, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer (Mark 9:29b, NASB).”
It seems odd that the disciples who had been given authority over the unclean spirits struggled to do so in this instance. Jesus would teach them a valuable lesson that day. And in our passage, God brings Elijah and the widow’s faith into the crucible of devastating loss. The only recourse available to them will be prayer.
1 Kings 17:17-18
It is every parent’s worst nightmare. The death of a child at any age is a devastating blow. So far, Elijah has been taught to serve the Lord with courage and trust. That courage and trust will be called upon as Elijah faces his greatest challenge to this point.
For some unknown reason, the widow’s son stops breathing. When we first met the widow, she and her son were resigned to the reality of death due to impending starvation. But God. He supernaturally provided for Elijah, the widow, and her son. All seemed quite rosy, until this day arrived.
Notice how she seems to revert back to her old way of thinking. Remember, she is not an Israelite. She questions Elijah, as if his presence has made known some sin that God is now calling out in harsh, unbearable judgment. How quickly we forget the goodness of God! She is being driven by her way of relating to the pagan gods rather than understanding the ways of Yahweh. She has much to learn, and so do we.
1 Kings 17:19-21
Where do you think Elijah developed the courage to go before God and ask for the impossible? Up to this point in the Scripture, nothing like this has happened. Now it does say in Hebrews 11, referring to Abraham and Isaac, that Abraham considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead. Here, Elijah pleads for God to bring the boy’s life back to him! His faith had been proved, and now it was being refined further.
Look at the action Elijah takes. He takes to fervent prayer. This is how we are to serve God. He believes that God makes the impossible possible. What or whom are you praying for right now?
1 Kings 17:22-24
This first verse is mind-blowing. God listened to Elijah. The boy’s life returned to him. The power to perform this miracle rests solely with God. Therefore, all the glory belongs to God. By Elijah serving through prayer, this widow drew deeper in understanding and trusting the living God, and further away from trusting pagan deities or superstitions.
Remember the word crucible earlier. It can mean “a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new (Google search, “crucible,” Definitions from Oxford Languages).” Serve God through prayer to see the creation of something new. B&R