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Bitter Sorrow

“Bitter sorrow”

“What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God?” —1 Kings 17:18

Read 1 Kings 17:17-24

During the famine that overcame Israel, there were three happy people living in Zarephath. The Lord cared for them, so they did not need to fear the famine. Often, a corpse would be carried out of the village as a result of the famine, but in the house in which Elijah lived, all was well. We sing the following words from Psalm 125:

All who with heart confiding depend on God alone, Like Zion’s Mount abiding shall ne’er be overthrown. Like Zion’s City bounded by guarding mountains broad, His people are surrounded forever by their God. (Psalter 355:1)

And so the widow looked after the prophet of God. She would be rewarded for her acts of service, would she not? But God’s ways are different; the son of the widow died. We cannot come to grips with such matters intellectually. We need to be shown that God’s ways are the best for us, also in sad ways such as the widow experienced. Why is this? So that God’s Kingdom might come into our lives. Do you not want to have anything to do with God’s Kingdom? Then what will you do when troubles and sorrows enter your life?

The woman in our text uses words of sharp rebuke. In light of the difficulties she experienced, her words are understandable, even as they are unreasonable and unjust. Yet she addressed Elijah using the term “thou man of God.” She knew who Elijah was, and in her association with this man of God she begins to see herself as a sinner.

What conclusion can we make based on the widow’s reaction in verse 18?


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