Historical Context: The King of Israel has begun promoting the worship of Baal, the Canaanite god of rain. Elijah, God’s chosen prophet, has declared a drought in order to prove the futility of worshipping this false god. The year in which this story takes place is approximately 874 B.C.
Authorship: The Book of the Kings was written mostly by Jeremiah the prophet during Israel’s exile in Babylon. It was later edited and completed by subsequent prophets and Levitical (Israel’s) priests.
Read 1 Kings 17:7-16
“Elijah” – Hebrew for “The Lord is my God”
The town of Zarephath in Sidon – Sidon, a foreign country, was the source of Baal worship in Israel (according to 1 Kings 16:31)
Miracle – An act of God that causes something to happen in the physical/natural world that would not otherwise have happened
Small Group Questions:
1. Why does the widow call the Lord, “your God” when speaking to Elijah?
2. Describe the widow’s feelings in verse 12. Try to imagine yourself in her place.
3. How does Elijah respond to her feelings in verses 13 and 14? How does he challenge her? What does this say about God and our relationship with Him?
4. What would have happened to the widow and her son if she had not had the faith to obey God?
5. Where did the widow’s faith come from? Did she just decide to start believing in God or is there some other explanation?
6. What are some of the ramifications that would or would not have happened if Elijah had not obeyed God’s command to leave the brook in the Kerith Ravine and go to Zarephath?
7. Elijah’s mission thus far has been to prove that Baal is not a god and that God is. How does his going to Zarephath in Sidon further his mission? Remember that Sidon was the source of Baal worship.
8. Name the three miracles that are mentioned in this passage and explain why they are significant.
9. What is the significance of mentioning the name of the town and where it was located (Zarephath of Sidon)?
1.I can ______________________to ______________________________ when I
_____________fully ______________ Him.
2. God _______________________________________________. All I have to do is
Answers to Questions:
1. The people of Sidon worshipped Baal, not God. The widow does not believe in God, but understands that Elijah does.
2. She’s afraid. She has no hope. Her and her son are about to die because of the drought and she can’t do anything about it.
3. First he comforts her by telling her not to be afraid. He then challenges her to have faith in God. God cares about how we feel and knows that the only thing that will calm our fears is trusting Him.
4. If the widow had not had faith and obeyed God, she and her son probably would have died, just as she thought was going to happen. As it is, however, God did not let her down. Her faith in Him was not for nothing.
5. Verse 9 says that God commanded her to feed Elijah. Her faith came from God. We believe that after Adam’s Fall, man’s nature was so corrupted that we cannot even have faith in God unless He gives us that faith in the first place. Man’s sinful nature prevents us from having faith in God. Faith is a gift from God. When Elijah met the widow, she had no intention of feeding Elijah. She thought she was going to die, but God had already promised Elijah that she would.
6. If Elijah had not obeyed God, he would not have been provided for by the widow. He would have died. The widow and her son would never come into contact with Elijah. They would have died. The widow and her son would never have put their faith in God. They would have died still believing in Baal.
7. God sends Elijah into “enemy territory” and continues to work miracles there, proving that God is God everywhere, not just in Israel. He is sovereign.
8. Miracle one: The word of the Lord came to Elijah. In this passage God speaks to Elijah directly and He speaks to us indirectly through His Word. God speaking to man is a miracle.
Miracle two: God provided food for Elijah, the widow, and the widow’s son. God can provide for His people in “impossible” ways.
Miracle three: The fact that God gave the widow faith is a miracle. It is an act of God in that only God can turn a person’s heart to Him. We cannot have faith by our own will.
9. The Bible is usually very specific in terms of geographic locations and times in order to more fully prove its historical veracity.
1. I can trust God to provide for me when I faithfully obey Him.
2. God speaks to man everyday. All I have to do is listen.
1.Why did Elijah have to leave the brook in the Kerith Ravine? It began to dry up from the drought.
2. To what town and region did Elijah go? Zarephath in Sidon
3. Whom did Elijah meet in Zarephath? A widow
4. Why was the widow and her son about to die? They had no food because of the drought.
5. What saved the widow and her son? God provided food because of their faith.