“So shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it will
not return to Me empty (void), but will accomplish what I
desire, and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”   Isaiah 55:11

           There are so many promises in God’s word that we need to experience.  Many of us will say that we have prayed God’s promises and have not yet seen the results.  Many times we pray God’s promises with our purposes in mind.  God states:  My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord” Isaiah 55:8.

           When God’s Word is returned to Him, it will not be empty. It will accomplish what God desires and achieve His purpose.  Our thoughts are not on the level of God’s thoughts, or our ways like His.  This helps us to comprehend why there is disparity between God’s promises and our answers.

           Spiritual maturity enables us to return God’s Word to Him in prayer knowing our dependence on the Holy Spirit.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26-27).  While praying we tend to look at the end results we desire in our timetable. God is a multi-purpose, multi-level God operating outside of the limitations of our understanding.  What is exciting if the fact that God has devised prayer as a means for us to co-labor with Him.  This excites me.

           Today, we will look at two of God’s stewards that will help us grasp the concept of understanding how God’s Word can be used to accomplish God’s purpose.  This truth is recorded in 1 Kings chapter 17 and reveals the keys to obtaining God’s promises.

           Two unusual people God put together for his purpose. Both individuals needing each other to accomplish God’s will in a time when the nation of Israel has turned away from God.  Elijah the prophet and a widow, whose name is not given.  Observing these two servants: we can pick up some important keys to obtaining God’s promise:

 1. 1.  A relationship with God that allows you to hear him.

2.   2.  Understanding of how to properly use the Word of God.

3.   3.  Obedient to the Word of God.

4.   4.  Faith in God and/in his prophet.


          The Prophet Elijah was a man who understood how to use God’s word. 

          He wanted the nation to return to the true God.  He was aware of a promise in God’s Word.  In Deuteronomy chapter 28, it states that if the Israelites did not obey the Lord that the heavens over their heads shall be bronze and the earth would become like Iron.  In other words, there would be no rain.  Elijah desired for his people to worship the true and living God.  His commitment was costly. 

            In praying that there would be no rain, Elijah knew it was a prayer God could answer.  In King Solomon’s prayer, he prayed that when the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because the people had sinned against  God, that God would hear their prayers when they confess His name and turn from their sins (2 Chronicles 6:26).

            God not only responded to Elijah’s prayer but directed Elijah to go hid by the Brook Cherith.  There God commanded the ravens to feed him.  Later when the brook dried up, God directed Elijah to go to Zarephath which belonged to Sidon, the territory of Jezebel.

1.    1.  A relationship with God that allows you to hear him.

     When Elijah stood on Mount Carmel, he stated:  “let it be known this day that you are the God of Israel and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.”  I Kings 18:36b

 2. 2.  Understanding of how to properly use the Word of God.

Elijah had the promise in God’s word that he would hold back rain for the disobedience of Israel.  He also had the promise that is the people he would hear from heaven.

On Mount Camel after the people saw the fire fall from heaven they fell on their faces; and said “The Lord, He is God!  The Lord, He is God.

 When the people turning back to God, Elijah was able to pray for rain.  He went back up to Mount Carmel, bowed down on lthe ground, and put his face between his knees, and sent his servant to look toward the sea.  Seven time his servant did this until he saw a cloud. He sent Ahab away telling him to go before the rain stopped him.  1 Kings 18:42-45.

  • Alerted everyone that it was God’s Word.
  • Gave God the glory for what had happen.
  • Prayed for rain based on the Word.

 3.   3.  Obedient to the Word of God.

After telling King Ahab that it would not rain but according to his word.  He obeyed God and hid.  Stay by the brook and watched it dry up.  Did not move until God told him to go.  1 Kings 17:5 states:  “He went and did according to the word of the Lord.  At the word of the Lord he went to Zarephath to the widow.

 4. 4.  Faith in God

There is no doubt in my mind that Elijah faith grew as he obeyed the Word of the Lord.


            Let’s take a look at the widow, who has a son. Because of the famine, she only has a handful of flour and a little bit of oil.   She than receives a command from the Lord to provide for a prophet.  Try to put yourself in her place. You have enough food for one last meal and you receive a command from the Lord to feed a prophet.  Sounds like a joke.  What would you think?  What has trusting in the Lord got you so far?  You are down to the last meal, facing starvation and death.

           The widow goes off to gather a few stick to prepare the last meal for her and son.  Then it happened.  The moment of decision!  Out of nowhere this prophet shows up.  Elijah asks for a little water in a cup.  In a drought, this is asking much.  Before she could get the water, he calls out after her for some bread.  Would obedience to God’s command take her where her faith could not carry her? 1 Kings 17:12


            The prophet Elijah was facing starvation, because he desired his nation to return to the living God and true worship.  This poor widow woman and her son were facing starvation and death.  Elijah leaves the dried up Brook Cherith and enters Zarephath in accordance to God’s Word.

            There Elijah sees this poor widow woman gathering sticks and asks her for a cup of water.  As she goes to get the water, he calls out after her to provide him with a morsel of bread.  The widow states her situation:  “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and son, that we may eat it, and die” (I Kings 17:12).

            Elijah the prophet said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterwards make some for yourself and son.  For thus says the Lord God of Israel:  The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.” 1 Kings 17:13-14.


1.    A relationship with God that allows you to hear him.

The widow woman had a relationship with the Lord and her him command her to take care of the prophet.


2.   Understanding of how to properly use the Word of God.

The widow woman believed the word of the prophet and experienced a daily miracle.

3.   Obedient to the Word of God.

God told the widow woman to feed the prophet and she did just that.

4.   Faith in God and/in his prophet.



As the Prophet Elijah and widow are experiencing the miracle of daily provision from God, the unexpected happens.  The widow’s son became sick unto death.  

            The poor Widow woman made the choice to be obedient to God and to exercise faith in what the Prophet of God said. The results: they made it through the three and half years of famine alive. 

            Scripture states:  “Or who has first given to Him (God) and it shall not be repaid to him.” Romans 11:25 (NKJV).  God always honors His stewards:


  • The Prophet Elijah:  A man of faith and obedience
  • A man with a relationship with God
  • Rewarded—he is received up in heaven without death
  • 2 King 2:11

            The Widow also received a blessing.  Her son became sick and died.  It was the Prophet Elijah who prayed to God for his life to be restored and God answered. 1 Kings 17:19-22.  “The Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.  It is our knowledge of God that allows our faith to grow and empowers our obedience where faith would fail. 


  • 1 KINGS 17:22-23

            Let take a moment to think about some of the things we know the Word requires of us.  What will we do?  We are capability of making changes that will count for eternity while we are blessed. When you and I pray, let us give God the freedom to work in our lives and circumstances.  God will do it anyway, but if we are aware that as we prayer for our nation, our community, our church, and our friends, God will require something of us.  Commitment to the things of God can be costly to us.  Even in the circumstances of life, when we do not have any idea how our situation is connected with our prayer, faith and obedience is the key to God working out His desires and purposes.

            Our responses will impact our present situation and future destiny.