I Kings 17:17                        The Widow’s Son                           1/27/2013                 

Š      An Angry Woman (Prov 25:2, Rev 1:6, Matt 13:34, Mark 4:34, 1Kings 17:17-24)

 

 

 

 

#1.      The Miracle of the Resurrection from the Dead (Luke 16:27-31, Col 2:13, Eph 2:4-5)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.      The Death of the Son (1Kings 17:16-18, Rom 3:10, Gen 3:15, 1John 5:8, 1Sam 28:7, Nah 3:4, Isa 53:3-4,6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.      The Point of View from Eternity Past (Psalm 18:4-6, 16:9-11, 1Kings 17:20-21)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Proverbs of Solomon, Prov 25:2 (2X). Today we will start with the words of Prov 25:2. When we read a historical event in the Bible, like we are doing today, it would be wise to ask ourselves why God placed this story in the Bible. Remember, the Bible was written for the purpose of saving souls. The Bible was not written to amuse us with some historical incidents of what happened a long, long time ago, in a land far, far away, to a people whom we do not know, which means that it does not apply to us today. O No! The Bible was written and inspired by God to people all over the world, and it was written to people of all times and nations and tongues, for the purpose of converting souls. And thus it applies to us today. The fact that most people do not recognize this is not God’s fault. We have the responsibility to search out what God’s intent was in writing these stories with words which He chose, to suit His purposes. We read in Prov 25:2,

Prov 25:2, It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

God did conceal many things in the Bible for the purpose of hiding the truth from those whom He did not intend to save. “But the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” Who are those kings? Who do they represent? Well, we are those kings. We read in Rev 1:6, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” God says plainly in several places in the Bible that Christ has made us kings and priests and we should not ignore that fact. The New Testament states that we are a kingdom of prophets, priests and kings. And so, if we paraphrase we can say that Prov 25:2 proclaims, “It is the glory of God to conceal certain truths of the Gospel in the Bible, and it is the honor of God’s elect to search out these truths, so that God may be glorified through them.” And so, historical events in the Bible are never just historical events, but we should search them out until we have found the glorious Gospel message in these historical events through which God is glorified. God is hiding the Gospel in parables, and in types and figures. We should remember what the Lord said in Matt 13:34 “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them.” And again He said in Mark 4:34 “But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.”

And so, let us now apply this understanding to one of those historical events that we find in the Old Testament. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of First Kings, 1Kings 17:17 (2X). This is the story of the prophet Elijah. God was angry with the nation of Israel, and God commanded Elijah to bring King Ahab the message that God will withhold the rain in the land for some time. Then God commanded Elijah to hide himself by the brook Cherith. After a while the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. Then God commanded a widow woman in the country of Sidon to feed Elijah for some time. You remember, from two weeks ago, that Elijah was hiding in Zarephath, in a heathen country, in the house of a Canaanite woman, an unbeliever, and she had only one child, a son. And as long as there was this famine in the land, God miraculously multiplied the meal and the oil in the house, so that they had enough to eat. You would think that this woman now becomes a believer in Jehovah the God of Israel, because she sees this miracle of God supplying food every day. This woman talks with Elijah, the Prophet of Jehovah, every day. She hears the Gospel every day. You would think that this woman would become saved very quickly. But remember that the children of Israel in the wilderness saw the miracle of the mana, the bread from heaven every morning, and the miracle of quails every evening, six days a week, forty years long, and they still died in the wilderness in unbelief.

Now, would this woman, who was a worshipper of idols, who belonged to these Canaanites that were cursed by God, would she become a believer any quicker than the children of Israel? That was not very likely!  She does not really know Jehovah the God of Israel. For example, in verse 12, when she talks to Elijah, she speaks about, “Thy God Jehovah”. He is not really her God, but Elijah’s God. All she knows is that this God of Israel had commanded her to feed Elijah for an unlimited time. She obeyed that command, but that is the end of the matter for her. And her life in the city of Zarephath continued day after day in the same fashion as it had, since the first day that Elijah came to stay at her house. But now God interfered again in the life of this woman in a miraculous way.

I have a question for the young people. The title of this Sermon is: The Widow’s Son (2X). In this story the son of this woman gets very sick, so that he dies. Here is my question: What was this disease that caused him to die?  (This is not an easy question.) Listen to the story, and perhaps you can find out what this deadly disease was. We read in 1Kings 17:17-18,

Š      An Angry Woman (Prov 25:2, Rev 1:6, Matt 13:34, Mark 4:34, 1Kings 17:17-24)

1Kings 17:17 ¶ And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.

 In other words: The son of the woman was very sick, so that he died!

1Kings 17:18  And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God ? Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

Look at the reaction of this woman: She is an angry woman. She says: What have I to do with you Elijah? Why have you come into my life? She blames Elijah for the death of her son.   Now, this is not the response of a saint. She has totally forgotten how Jehovah God saved her life and the life of her son by sending Elijah to her, and by miraculously providing food for her household every day. All her gratitude is gone. She is an angry woman. Can God still have mercy on someone who so quickly forgets how gracious Jehovah, the God of Israel, has been to her?

Is God gracious? Is God able to forgive her this angry outburst to blame Elijah for the death of her son? We read now in 1Kings 17:19-24,

1Kings 17:19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.

1Kings 17:20  And he cried unto Jehovah, and said, O Jehovah my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?

1Kings 17:21  And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto Jehovah, and said, O Jehovah my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again.

1Kings 17:22 And Jehovah heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

1Kings 17:23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.

1Kings 17:24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of Jehovah in thy mouth is truth.

 What has happened to this woman? She has totally changed!

#1.            The Miracle of the Resurrection from the Dead (Luke 16:27-31, Col 2:13, Eph 2:4-5)

The whole attitude of this woman has changed. She is no longer angry with God, or with Elijah. Instead, she has become a believer of Jehovah, the God of Israel. Has this miracle, of raising her son from the dead, changed her heart? Now, that is very strange, because we read somewhere else in the Bible: “Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” We find that in one of the parables that Jesus told.

When the Lord Jesus told “The Parable of The Rich Man and the Beggar Lazarus”, the rich man ended up in hell, and from hell he saw Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, which means that Lazarus was in heaven. Then the rich man said in Luke 16:27-31 

Luke 16:27-31, Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father (Abraham), that thou wouldest send him (send Lazarus) to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And Abraham said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

 What is the principle that the Lord Jesus taught us here in this parable? “Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” In other words: Even if an unsaved person would see someone who has risen from the dead, such a miracle would not be sufficient to convert the unsaved person and turn him into a believer. But the story of 1Kings 17 seem to prove the opposite:

Did this woman believe because her son was raised from the dead? No! She believed because this resurrection was not an ordinary resurrection from the dead, but it represented the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.

1Kings 17:24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now (by) this I know that thou art a man of God, and (that) the word of Jehovah in thy mouth is truth. 

She now believes the Word of God! Her words indicate that she has become a believer. She became saved! She became Born Again! But would this contradict what the Lord Jesus said in Luke 16:31, “neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” How can this apparent contradiction be harmonized? Of course this is only an apparent contradiction! How can we harmonize these words?

The raising of this child from the dead must be different from that mentioned by the Lord Jesus in the parable of Luke 16. Throughout the Bible there were several people raised from the dead, but the raising of this child from the dead is different, because God is painting here a picture of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Look at it this way: The Gospel lays down a basic principle for everyone who has become saved: We have died with Christ, we were buried with Christ, and “we have been raised with Christ”. There are many verses to support this truth, but here is one, Col 2:13 

Col 2:13 ¶ And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

What God is saying here is this: When God has forgiven us all our sins, when God has saved us, He has made us alive together with Christ. God says the same thing for example in Eph 2:4-5

Eph 2:4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ, by grace ye are saved.    You see: We have been made alive totally by His Grace! 

In other words: The only resurrection from the dead that can be of any benefit to us is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. An unsaved person cannot be saved by witnessing the miracle of someone being raised from the dead. We saw that clearly in the parable in Luke 16. But if we have experienced the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, then it means we have been saved, and the sign of that salvation is that we have a new outlook on life; a new way of seeing the truth of the Gospel; a new outlook on recognizing truth! That is what the widow experienced in 1Kings 17. In verse 24 it clearly shows that she was a changed woman.

She had experienced the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. But what changed her? Was it the miracle of seeing the resurrection of her son that changed her? NO! It was the grace of Christ that changed her. And this grace was poured upon her because God before the foundation of the world already decided to save her. The death and the resurrection of her son represented the death and the resurrection of Christ.

 #2. The Death of the Son (1Kings 17:16-18, Rom 3:10, Gen 3:15, 1John 5:8, 1Sam 28:7, Nah 3:4, Isa 53:3-4,6)

Look again at her words in verse 18 and see how this woman was changed:

1Kings 17:18 And she said unto Elijah: What have I to do with thee, O thou man of Elohiym? Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

 She said this in her anger, but in actuality she is declaring two truths of the Gospel.

First: Her sin is remembered. Regardless what her sins were: Did God remember her sins? Does God remember our sins? Indeed He does!  Nobody gets away with anything. Our God is a righteous God, He is a just Judge. Therefore, as a righteous Judge, He must punish every sin. Before our salvation God remembers every sin we have committed. But after our salvation the blood of Christ covers every sin, and God does not any more remember our sins, because they have been paid.

What is sin?  Sin is a transgression of the Law of God.  This includes not only big Sins, but also small sins such as every idle word, and even smaller sins than that.  For example: When God says: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” and when God declares: “Be ye holy; for I am holy”, God declares that everything not done perfectly is sin. Right away you can see that we cannot get away from sin. Nothing that we do is perfect! That is why God says in Rom 3:10, “There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE!” Therefore, when this woman says, in her anger, that her sin is called to remembrance, she is absolutely right: God does not let any sin slip by unnoticed. Perhaps this son was a product of an act of fornication, and now she feels that God is punishing her for this sin.

Second:   Her son is slain for her sin, at least that is what she thinks. Who does this woman represent? Did you notice: She has no name! She represents all of US who have been saved and those who are going to be saved. She represents the body of believers, the eternal Church, those of the O.T. Church as well as of the N.T. Church who are truly saved. And now she says that her son is slain for her sin! Not only has she been convicted of her sin, but she also realizes that her sin deserves to be punished.  Who gave her this insight in the nature of sin and the penalty for sin? She did not get this wisdom out of her own sinful brain.

Š      It was God the Holy Spirit who gave her this deep dark view of her own soul.

Š      It was God who chose Elijah to be His Prophet, to bring the Gospel to her.

Š      It was God who determined Elijah to be there at this location at the right time.

Š      Where did God find this woman? In the cursed land of Zidon, where Jezebel came from!

Š      It was God who made her Son to die for her sins. No, not her son, but Christ as her Son.

Š      It was God who chose this woman to be saved by experiencing the resurrection of Christ.

By now you are probably thinking: Christ is not her Son. Christ is the Son of God! It is true that Christ is the Son of God, but Christ also had to be the Son of Man. Where did Christ come out of? Do you remember what God said to the Devil in the Garden of Eden?

Gen 3:15  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.

Who is the Seed of the Woman? It is Christ! Who is the Woman? Historically it is the Old Testament Congregation, but spiritually it is the entire body of believers, the eternal Church, those in the Old Testament Church as well as in the New Testament Church who are truly saved, in other words: They are the Elect! This widow of Zarephath was one of God’s Elect. She belonged to the body of believers out of whom Christ came. Her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, had to be put to death for her sins.

At this point in time, in 1Kings 17:18, she is still unsaved, she is still under the wrath of God, she is still in the clutches of sin and of Satan. And so are you if you are still unsaved! But Satan does not let go of anyone easily. Look at the struggle that goes on in this woman. Look at her condition in the previous verse 1Kings 17:17. And now we need to understand that God chose His words very carefully.

1Kings 17:17 ¶ And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.

The Hebrew text tells us much more of the condition of this woman and of the Gospel message in this verse. There are four important points that God tells us in this verse, that you should see:

# 1: after these things.     # 2: the mistress of the house.             #3: his sickness.     #4. was so sore.

Š      # 1: after these things could be better translated: “after these words”. What words?

1Kings 17:16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of Jehovah, which he spake by Elijah.

After these words that Elijah had spoken, and the miracle of the fulfillment of these words by Jehovah, God had to interfere “after these words”. Did we become saved after hearing the Word of God? NO! Just hearing the Gospel, even if it is accompanied by miracles, is not enough to convert our souls! It must be accompanied by the death of Christ and by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit!

For example we read in 1John 5:8

1John 5:8 there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Š      # 2: the mistress <1172> of the house should have been translated literally: “the Sorceress <1172>  of the house”

I know that this comes as a shocker to most of you. This Hebrew word <1172> that has been translated “mistress” in this verse is found only in three other places in the Bible. The first is found on the last evening in the life of the wicked king Saul:

1Sam 28:7 ¶ Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath <1172> a familiar spirit (lit: a sorceress, a necromancer), that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath <1172> a familiar spirit (lit: a sorceress, a necromancer) at Endor.

What is the word <1172>? It is a sorceress! One who performs witchcraft! What is a necromancer? It is a witch who specializes in calling up people from the dead! And Saul got what he wanted: he consulted the Witch of Endor. Another place where this word is found is in Nahum 3:4

Nah 3:4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress <1172> of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Here again, the word “mistress” <1172> is not a nice compliment; it means “sorceress”.

What was our condition before we were saved? We were dealing with all kinds of superstition, like “Knock on wood”, “Don’t walk under a ladder”, “Consult your horoscope”, “Cross your fingers while you are gambling”, “try drugs”, some of us even tried churches where they “speak in tongues”. All of that is “Sorcery”.  All of that is drawing us away from the only true God and leading us into the worship of idols. Yes “Sorceress” is the correct translation in 1Kings 17:17 

Š      #3: his sickness <2483> is a correct translation, but it has the meaning of: “an evil disease”.

This Hebrew word <2483> occurs 24 times in the Bible, and in everyone of these 24 times it has the meaning of “an evil disease, or a deadly disease”.  Here in 1Kings 17:17 the son of the woman is spiritually in the role of Christ, and He is laden with a “deadly disease” as a result of the sins of this woman. What do you think this “deadly disease” is?  It is Sin, Our Sin! Let me clarify this word <2483> in two other verses where this word is found:

Isa 53:3  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief <2483>: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isa 53:4 ¶ Surely he hath borne our griefs <2483>, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

In both these verses the word “grief” is the word <2483>, the same word as “his sickness” in 1Kings 17:17.  We know that Christ was not laden with our physical pains, but He was laden with our Sins.  This deadly disease of Sin, our Sins, is what brought Him to the Cross.

 This deadly disease of Sin is what killed the Son of the Woman.          The next thing we read is:

Š      #4. “was so sore”, which could have been better translated “was very strong”. 

The Hebrew word translated “sore” has very rarely been translated that way. Most of the time it has been translated “Strong, or mighty”.  Remember, this refers to our sins that were imputed on Christ.

Š      Once our Sins were imputed on the Lord Jesus Christ, they were a heavy burden to Him.

Š      They were very strong and mighty!  In fact they were:

Š      So strong that the Lord Jesus Christ could not go back to Heaven without paying off those Sins.

Š      Those sins were so very strong and mighty because the righteousness of God was at stake.

Š      Those sins were so strong and mighty that there was no breath left in Him: He died.

Just think of it: The Lord Jesus Christ did that voluntarily. He did not have to come to earth!

Did He do that for us because we were so nice? Not really! We were dead in our sins!

Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Who is meant by “us all”? That is all of us whose sins were laid so very strong on the Lord Jesus Christ that He had to pay off those sins with a suffering that was the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Those who are identified with “us all” have all their sins paid for in full. Nothing is holding God back to save the widow of Zarephath, even the death of His Son was not holding God back. Christ gave everything He had: He suffered in His body as well as in His soul. But did God leave Him in Hell? We should ask: Did God raise the son of the widow of Zarephath? Indeed He did. Was there a special “power of prayer” in the prayer of Elijah? Is our God sovereign, or did Elijah suddenly become the ruler of the world? And then we suddenly realize that the “power of prayer” and “God answers prayer” and “prayer chains” are Arminian concepts which we should abandon from our vocabulary. Only God is sovereign. The prompting of God the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray for certain things, and that is how God remains sovereign. Our God does not change His mind because we pray. That is Arminian.

 #3. The Point of View from Eternity Past (Psalm 18:4-6, 16:9-11, 1Kings 17:20-21)

What is so special about the prayer of Elijah? Let us look at it from the viewpoint of eternity past: For example, let us look at it when David prayed in Psalm 18:4-6,

Ps 18:4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

Ps 18:5 The sorrows of Hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented (confronted) me.

Ps 18:6 In my distress I called upon Jehovah, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

David had not experienced the sorrows of Hell. How then could He write this? The answer is that it was not David who wrote it, but God wrote this Psalm through the hand of David. God wrote it in such a way that it became a prayer of Christ in His atonement for our sins. God wrote this Psalm from the point of view as if the Atonement and its outcome had already been decided, and it was already decided from eternity past. Compare it to God saying that Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. That is also a proleptic vision. Similarly, we have a prayer of Christ recorded in Psalm 16:9-11.

Ps 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

Ps 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Ps 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

David’s soul was never in Hell. This was a proleptic vision. David spoke of the resurrection of Christ, and this again became a prayer of Christ. God wrote this from the point of view of eternity future, as if it had already taken place, but in reality it was decided before the foundation of the world.

Let us now consider the events when Elijah prayed: We read in 1Kings 17:20-21,

1Kings 17:20  And he cried (called) unto Jehovah, and said, O Jehovah my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?

1Kings 17:21  And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto Jehovah, and said, O Jehovah my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again.

We must see this prayer of Elijah also from the point of eternity past, as a prayer of Christ. God had already decided that He would bring this child back to life, and now He is making it come to pass.

Elijah is filling the role of Christ in His priestly office. Elijah prayed that this child may not remain dead, just like Christ prayed that God would not leave His soul in hell. God granted the prayer of Elijah, not because Elijah had such power of prayer, but because it was already determined in the counsel of God. And consider this: If Elijah is filling the role of the praying Christ before He died, then it is also understandable that eventually Elijah was bodily taken up into heaven.

The historical sequence was: God fulfilled Elijah’s prayer, the child was raised from the dead, and now the woman believed! But we should be careful not to draw our conclusions according to the historical sequence, for God is sovereign. Elijah’s prayer could not have changed the plans of God.

      God had much patience. It took a long time before this woman became saved.

It took the death of her son to get her to understand what God’s Son had to do for her. And let us apply this to us. How much does God have to take away from us before we will understand what God’s Son had to do for us. Pray that we will not be slow learners like this widow of Zarephath.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.