She was at the end of her rope, desperate for a miracle. With only a handful of food left, this widow was planning to make one final meal for herself and her son – and then she was planning to die.
Right when all hope seemed lost, God sent this distraught woman a prophet. Perhaps that sounds like a positive development, but I’m not sure the woman thought so at the time. Just like the widow, this prophet of the Lord had no food or money with him when he arrived. What good could he possibly do?
However, this prophet (Elijah the Tishbite) had seen God’s miraculous provision in his own life for the past three years. He had followed the Lord’s unusual instruction to camp out at the Brook Cherith, where he could drink the water and be fed by ravens that brought him food.
While Elijah and the widow in the town of Zarephath both seemed to have nothing when they first met, there was one important difference: Elijah knew how to hear God’s instructions and receive His supernatural favor.
Although she had no way of knowing it, the widow was about to enter into God’s miraculous favor as well. Yet the key to her breakthrough required a faith-filled response to Elijah’s audacious request:
Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand (1 Kings 17:11).
If I were this widow, I would have been outraged. “The nerve of this guy!” I would have said to myself. “Here I am with only enough food for my last meal, and he wants me to feed him FIRST!”
But as impudent as Elijah’s demand must have seemed, it was a beautiful foreshadowing of Jesus’ later promise: If we truly put God’s Kingdom FIRST, He will provide us with every material thing we’ll ever need (Mathew 6:33).
The Widow’s Reply
At this point in the story, there’s some fascinating interaction between the widow and the prophet as she tries to explain to him why his request was unreasonable:
I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die (v. 12).
While this woman had a plan for her future, it was a plan to give up and DIE. Surely Elijah would back down when he realized how dire her situation was.
But instead of backing down, Elijah told her that her plan was a good one! “Do not fear,” he encouraged her, “go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it FIRST” (v. 13).
Do you see how strange this must have sounded? She had told him her plan to eat her last meal and then die. Rather than giving her any assurance that her breakthrough was coming, Elijah replied that she should do as she said!
How ironic that right when she was preparing to give up and die, God sent her a prophet to prepare her for her breakthrough.
I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I wanted to give up on my miracle. The circumstances were overwhelming, and I was making plans that didn’t account for the Lord’s supernatural intervention. But as this woman was about to discover, everything changes when we put God first and listen for His instructions.
Only A ‘Handful’
This widow had almost nothing left…only a “handful” of flour and a little bit of oil. But you see, this “HANDFUL” turned out to be the key to her miracle!
As long as the woman held on to her meager supply of food, that’s all she had. Yet when she obeyed Elijah’s instructions and released what was in her hand, God intervened in her circumstances and released the supernatural abundance that was in HIS hand!
Although the instructions God gave this poor widow must have seemed totally unreasonable, His purpose was not her demise but her BLESSING! Elijah assured her that if she would obey, “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth” (v. 14).
When she chose to obey the prophet of the Lord, the result was MIRACULOUS provision:
She and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah (vs. 15-16).
What an amazing miracle! In a time of drought and famine, this desperate woman went from having “not enough” to having “more than enough.” From the brink of starvation and death, she experienced a new lease on life and overflowing abundance – all because she chose to obey the Lord’s word to trust Him with her “handful.”
What’s In Your Hand?
Too often, people look for their breakthrough in all the wrong places. They dream of winning millions via a lottery ticket or a lucky bet at the racetrack. However, the key to your breakthrough is not a matter of luck or happenstance. As we see in the story of the widow in Zarephath, the key is right there in your hand!
However, in order for your breakthrough of supernatural favor to come, a step of faith is usually required:
What you have in your hand must be transferred into God’s hand!
This isn’t some novel theory, but an established principle found throughout the pages of Scripture. Whenever His people had their backs against a wall, God provided a word of instruction to release an outbreak of His favor.
How much food would it take you to feed more than 5,000 hungry people? Without the Lord’s supernatural blessing, you would need several huge truckloads!
However, when just five loaves of bread and two fish were transferred into Jesus’ hands and blessed by Him, the result was an abundant overflow – 12 baskets of leftovers (Matthew 14:14-21). Without Jesus’ blessing on these loaves and fish, it’s likely that only five or ten people could have eaten a full meal. But everything changed when Jesus provided the needed INCREASE!
Friend, I believe your miracle from God is at hand – in fact, it’s literally in your hand! Whatever breakthrough you need from Him – whether in your finances, marriage, job, health, or children – the key is surrendering all of your resources into the hands of your Almighty Covenant Partner.
Remember: No matter what may be happening in the world’s economy, there’s never any lack in God’s economy. He says of His people, “In the days of famine they will have abundance” (Psalm 37:19 NASB).
I’m praying for you today, that you will learn the secret to unlocking God’s favor and “prosper in all that you do” (Deuteronomy 29:9).
God bless you,
David Cerullo is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Inspiration Ministries, located in Indian Land, South Carolina – a ministry dedicated to impacting people for Christ worldwide through media. The son of international evangelist Morris Cerullo, David took a less traditional approach to ministry, graduating from Oral Roberts University with a degree in business administration and management. He has authored over 20 books, and operates a global media ministry that powerfully impacts the world for Christ. More from David on Inspiration.org.