Topic: Breathe on Me
Scripture: 1 Kings 17: 8 – 24
As we were working through the book of Revelation this past Wednesday we touched on an event in chapter 11 where the two witnesses of God, slain for their prophecies, are resurrected when the “breath of life from God” enters them.
At the time we marveled at how great God is.
The thought that continued to remain with me the rest of the week was, “what can’t God bring back to life?”
From very early in scripture we see that God’s breath is powerful.
In fact, Genesis 2:7 reveals that God’s breathe is the reason that man became a living being.
Unlike all of the rest of creation, which was formed by God’s word, man, who was made in God’s likeness, needed God’s breath to be complete.
Today we ask God to breathe on us!
We need his breath to bring to effect to those things that circumstance and situations have rendered fruitless.
We need him to breathe life into the hope and expectations that events and disappointments have rendered lifeless.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there.
Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”
So he arose and went to Zarephath.
And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks.
And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug.
And now 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.”
And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said.
But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son.
For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.
’” And she went and did as Elijah said.
And she and he and her household ate for many days.
The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.
After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill.
And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him.
And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God?
You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!”
And he said to her, “Give me your son.”
And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed.
And he cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?”
Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child's life come into him again.”
And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah.
And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived.
And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother.
And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.”
And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.
This story of Elijah’s encounter with the widow of Zarapheth is amazing in its breadth.
Despite the fragmentary handling it often receives, it possesses the power to fill our hearts with confidence in God’s desire and ability to speak into the everyday needs of our life.
The widow’s life confesses that God indeed responds in times of trouble; even when that trouble is layered.
As we follow the prophet and encounter this widow we cant help but recognize the impact of God’s actions.
In this case it would be appropriate to say that the drought kills the crops of the just and the unjust alike.
The widow’s need was created by the circumstances of the day and was so great that she had given up on life for both herself and her son.
This tragically despondent attitude, brought on by a lack of resources, was not likely to have been unique to this widow.
Today we would likely call social services to have the child removed from the home if we heard anyone say something like this but for her this was the only way that she could assure that her son was not left to die a more miserable death without her.
It is into this severe sense of hopelessness that God’s servant speaks hope.
His request seems rather pretentious but he quickly changes her outlook on life when he assures her that God’s provision will not end until the circumstances surrounding her change.
I wonder what our lives would look like if we too heard God’s word of assurance.
He said that my grace is sufficient to keep you but many people are living as though the hope has long since being removed and there is no chance of surviving.
Oh that we would hear God’s word and let it be heard in us.
Such an extreme miracle should surely be followed by a time of great merriment and joy.
It would seem only fitting.
Yet the text reveals something to which we need to be rather alert.
After the great miracle of provision that voided the reasoning for suicide still came death.
It is amazing that the same man who spoke God’s word of provision into her house is now the target of her frustrations.
In an accusatory fashion she blames him for killing the very son she had planed to euthanize.
But God is merciful!
Taking the widow’s son, Elijah climbed up to his chambers and began to cry out to the Lord.
Even the prophet is despondent by the turn of events.
His words do not reveal a sense of confident awareness based on the way things had turned out.
What his words do reveal is a dependence on the almighty to breath life in the lifeless.
God in turn responds by putting the life or breath back into the young boy.
Oh that God would breathe on me.
For when he breathes he gives life to that which should be alive.
When he breathes he tears down that which is displeasing to him.
When he breathes he shuts up the clouds that would feed my self-righteousness.
When he breathes he brings the drought that drives me to him in dependence.
When he breathes he chases away the devourer that seeks to cause me to die in my trouble.
Oh that God would breathe on us.
Let his breath destroy the chains from our past failures.
Let his breath revive the joy and expectation of his people.
May his breath cause us to trust in his immense power to heal.