In the last episode, we left the prophet Elijah deep in what can only be called Gentile country. If you remember, God had sent him to the Phoenician village of Zarephath which was located less than 10 miles from what the people of Israel believed to be Satan's headquarters on earth, the city of Tyre. In fact, on several occasions Satan is called, "the King of Tyre." This is especially true in the book of Ezekiel.
The prophets of God believed that the people who lived in this area actually worshiped Satan. However, they believed had disguised himself as the god BA’AL, the God of the storm. He was depicted as a powerful bull, usually made of gold, but beneath the powerful image, and the extensive gold, was Satan. The great prophets of Israel stood behind all false religion; all I worship.
As we saw last week, when God had appeared to Elijah at the Wadi Hareet and told Elijah that he was to take up residence in the village of Zarephath, the prophet must've said, "Oh no!" Without question, this is one of the last places on this planet that the prophet of God wanted to go. It was not only because this village was located in Gentile country, and it was not only because Satan was worshiped there, disguised as BA’AL, it was because he lied to knew the meaning of the name of this place. The word ZAREPHATH in Hebrew means this: "the place of the refiner’s fire," or "the place of purification."
The man of God could certainly read between the lines. He could see that God was sending him to this place to eliminate all his inner impurities, and that can be a painful process. And that is why the prophet probably shuddered at the thought of living in this village. But he went to Zaraphath, anyhow!
Once he had settled himself into his new environment, he was surprised; things were not nearly as bad as he had imagined. Think about this! God had provided him with a place to stay in the house of a local widow and her son, and they are God was miraculously feeding him. Everyday his hostess would they cornbread from meal that she had taken from the bottom of her flour barrel and with the last few drops of cooking oil from her jar. But the next day the same amount of meal and oil would miraculously appear again. So, while other people were starving to death, these three people, the prophet, the widow, and her son had enough to sustain themselves. And the good news is this: the provision continued for many months.
But, trouble was on the horizon. Satan would not allow the activities of God to go unchallenged as we shall see in Pastor Harris’s message in this episode.
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