1 Kings 17:17-24
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…
I. THE DISCIPLINE OF TRIAL.
1. It is no proof of God's anger. Sorrow darkens the homes of God's beloved. This was a home of faith and ministering love. Affliction is no more proof of wrath than is the farmer's ploughing of his field. To him, with his eye upon the future harvest, it is only the needful preparation of the soil. And the great Husbandman, with His eye upon the eternal glory, must open up a bed within the soul's depths for the seed of life.
2. God's blow may be very heavy. Her son, her only child, is taken. God's plough sinks deep that His work may be rightly done. The very greatness of our anguish is a measure by which we may gauge the greatness of the Lord's purpose and of the love which will not suffer us to miss the blessing.
II. THE FRUITS IT YIELDS.
1. It reveals our need. She may have been conscious daily of the goodness of God and yet been blind to the fact that she needed more than she had yet received. God now awakens her
(1) to the sense of her unworthiness: "What have I to do with thee?"
(2) to the remembrance of her transgressions: "Art thou come to call my sins to remembrance?" The darkness of trouble is the shadow of guilt. There is discipline because there is need of salvation. Sins may be pardoned, but God must open up a gulf between the soul and them. The time of trouble is meant to be a time of heart searching and of confession.
2. It stirs up to prayer. Elijah's heart was poured out in bold expostulation and earnest entreaty (vers. 20, 21). In the sharpness of our need our cry gains strength; we press, in our urgency, into the Divine presence. These times open up a way to God by which we find ready access ever after.
3. It leads to the vision of God's glory. "And the Lord heard," etc. (ver. 22). The prayer was followed by a revelation of God's power such as till then man had never seen: the dead was raised. "Ask and ye shall receive." The soul that asks will see God's salvation and be filled with the light of the Divine glory.
4. It deepens trust. "Now by this I know," etc. (ver. 24). When man's need meets God's help, the soul is bound to Him by the strongest ties. - U.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.