Oil supply

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November 16, 2002

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 1 John 3:22. 

Ravens fed Elijah until God was ready for plan B

The stream of drinking water for the hiding prophet stopped when God had another place for him to visit. The ravens stopped feeding him because God wanted to bless a family in need.

What a blessing came to a woman in Zarephath, that day God's prophet came to visit. She had helped many people during the time of the famine. 

Elijah had been hidden by God at the Brook Cherith and fed by ravens. God had to hide him because the king of His people was not obeying the commandments. King Ahab had killed many of God's priests because he was so angry at God. He was out looking for Elijah with the plan to kill him.  The reason God kept the rain from falling was as a punishment on His disobedient children. The king blamed Elijah for all the trouble. He believed if Elijah was dead, the famine would stop. During this time of punishment, God blessed those who were faithful to Him.

God had a plan to help this lady in Zarephath by sending His prophet Elijah. Yet God waited till she had so little left that she expected to die of hunger after they ate the end of the supplies that day.


The brook Cherith was controlled by God. To move His dear prophet urgently, God made him thirsty by drying up the stream. Next, he made him hungry by not sending ravens.  Then told him where to go for supplies. God had his eyes on a little mother who had shared with others till she and her little boy had only one meal left. You see, God timed this event. He made prophet Elijah hungry and thirsty and he made the little mother and boy hungry and thirsty. Then he put them together. Before God gave her an endless supply, He had one last test for the little mother to pass. Could she feed another hungry person? She was promised food from God if she could obey.
In this poverty-stricken home the famine pressed sore; and the pitifully meager fare seemed about to fail. The coming of Elijah on the very day when the widow feared that she must give up the struggle to sustain life, tested to the utmost her faith in the power of the living God to provide for her necessities. But even in her dire extremity, she bore witness to her faith by a compliance with the request of the stranger who was asking her to share her last morsel with him. {CS 173.2}
In response to Elijah's request for food and drink, the widow said, "As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die." Elijah said to her: "Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth." {CS 173.3}
No greater test of faith than this could have been required. The widow had hitherto treated all strangers with kindness and liberality. Now, regardless of the suffering that might result to herself and child, and trusting in the God of Israel to supply her every need, she met this supreme test of hospitality by doing "according to the saying of Elijah." {CS 173.4}
Wonderful was the hospitality shown to God's prophet by this Phoenician woman, and wonderfully were her faith and generosity rewarded. "She, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by Elijah.". . . {CS 174.1}

When the oil ran out in my home

It was ten days till the monthly pay check. Food supplies were dwindling but  the three hungry teenagers had no decrease in appetite. Daily I prayed for wisdom and management of the pantry food supplies. First the oil ran out, then other things and still there were several days to go. I knelt on my kitchen floor and reminded God that He promised if I gave to Him He would make sure I had all my needs provided. (Phil 4:19)  The Bible promises assured me He would never forget the many mission trips I had done for Him. He said He treasured every act of love I did for His sake. He promised that He saw every tear that escaped from my eyes as I tried to do my best for Him even when times were hard. 

Then I reminded Him of HIS WORDS in Malachi 3: 9-11 that if we returned a 10th of our increase that He would make sure there was more than we had room for. There is quite a lot of room in the cupboards.  I used the few drops of oil I had and baked some whole wheat bread. I could see no more oil in the clear plastic container.

The next day I again reminded Jesus of His promises to me. The empty jug was sitting in it's place. I saw there was one drop in there. I used it but it seemed there was a little more than I saw at first. Some oil came out of the empty jug. It was just enough.
Again the third day I desperately needed a little oil to make some flat bread. I did not ask for enough to bake a whole loaf of yeast bread. I could make do if I could just put together a little flour, salt, and water. I could make flat bread. I reminded Jesus of my need for a little oil. I reached for the empty jug of oil again. There was a little drop. Was God trying to teach me something. Was this just like the story in the Bible where Elijah told the widow of Zeraphath  to first make something for him to eat with her little bit of oil. We had given to others when we knew we could soon be out of supplies.

Well, again I used what I had. Some oil came out of the empty jug. I stared at the empty jug and quietly set it down. 

It seemed Jesus was encouraging me to use what I had.  On the fourth day of needing cooking oil, I used the little drop that was in the jug till it was empty again.  

When I dressed after my bath, I put on a bright red outfit I had not worn in a long time. Perhaps it had been 6 months since I had worn it last.  It had been washed and hung up to dry. I straightened out the wrinkles and put my hands in the pockets to get them smoothed. Inside the pocket was six dollars. A thrill went through my heart. I must have forgotten that money and even laundered it while it was in that pocket. I could now go into town and get some oil it was still 6 days till the check. A trip in would use up gasoline in the car. I had to be sure I had enough for that too. We still had several days to go.

As I scanned the empty bottle to make this graphic, I noticed that little drop was still in the bottom of the jug. 

Can God manufacture olive oil? He did it for the mother who fed her son and the prophet Elijah. Was God teaching me something?
Olive oil was used in the sanctuary tent of the Old Testament. God poured oil and honey and water out of the rock for the people to use as they camped in the wilderness. Olive oil was used in anointing for healing of the sick. Olive oil was used as a symbol of God the Holy Spirit.  Oil used in anointing shows that without God the Holy  Spirit, nothing can be done. We cannot do any healing on our own. The only mission work that is successful is because of the work of God the Holy Spirit.
Jesus wants us to ask for this kind of oil, the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit is special. God the Holy Spirit is a comforter. He whispers to us when we are in danger of doing wrong. He helps us choose words that will bring encouragement rather than to hurt others. Every day God hopes we will ask for so much that He could baptize us with the Holy Spirit.