After this, the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. His illness got worse until he stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, “Man of God, why are you here? Have you come to call attention to my iniquity so that my son is put to death?”
But Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him from her arms, brought him up to the upstairs room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. Then he cried out to the Lord and said, “Lord my God, have you also brought tragedy on the widow I am staying with by killing her son?” Then he stretched himself out over the boy three times. He cried out to the Lord and said, “Lord my God, please let this boy’s life come into him again!”
So the Lord listened to Elijah, and the boy’s life came into him again, and he lived. Then Elijah took the boy, brought him down from the upstairs room into the house, and gave him to his mother. Elijah said, “Look, your son is alive.”
Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know you are a man of God and the Lord’s word from your mouth is true.”1 Kings 17:17-24
“Now I know you are a man of God and the Lord’s word from your mouth is true.” That was the whole point of Elijah’s move to living in the house of the widow of Zarephath. This woman apparently had some measure of faith and some understanding of the ways of Yahweh when she first met Elijah. She replied to his request for bread with an explanation of her circumstances that opened with the phrase, “As the LORD your God lives.” She had some understanding of Yahweh, the God of Israel. Still, God desired for her to know Him in His full glory.
This really shows God’s heart for all people. God’s heart was for to people of Sidon as much as it was for the people of Israel. Growing up, this woman had been taught to see the world through the lens of battles between Ba’al (the fertility god) and Mot (the god of death). In her world view, when Mot won, the victory was final. Now with her son lying dead in her house, she thought that Mot had won his final victory. She was sure that this was punishment for her own sins and that Elijah had become the messenger of death to her.
Elijah knew there could be another outcome and he interceeded on the woman and her son’s behalf. He pleaded with God for the life of this boy to be restored and God answered. Now the woman knew that Yahweh truly did live and He had ultimately brought Elijah to open her eyes to this truth. As Jesus would point out later, there were probably plenty of widows in Israel God could have sent Elijah to but He sent Elijah to a foreign woman with foreign gods in order to show Himself real to her.
- Are you willing to let God use you to make His reality known to other’s today?