Thursday, March 17, 2016

Poem - Zarephath

Rev. O. Kris Widmer:  All Rights Reserved
Idea:  30 April 2013 on Retreat at Zarephath Ministries         Printed: 14 March 2016
Based on 1 Kings 16:29 -17:24
Written in Appreciation For Zarephath Ministries:
A special time, place and space… “where the oil and flour never run out...”

Prologue: No Rain!

Once upon a time, back in the Bible days.
A man who is a Tishbite perceived prophetic rays.
So...He goes and tells King Ahab “Sire, Baal is a prop.
To prove it, God will close the sky. There will not be a drop

Of moist precipitation; no fog, no mist, no sleet.
Until he shall return, no puddles in the street.
The LORD of All Creation will prevent all dew, all drizzle.
To prove to all of Israel this Baal thing is a fizzle.”

His sermon, short, now ended.  He heads toward the door.
Though it had rained that morning, there wouldn't be no more.
That night at Ahab's briefing...the weather girl said "Wow!
Our Doppler thingy's working.  But I just can't say how

Our forecast has so quickly changed...from rain to an off-shore flow.
If you ask me will it rain this week, I would have to just say "No."
And the forecast is now calling for just hot winds, mixed with dust.
I'm starting to think this Baal thing just might be a bust."

But Ahab clenches teeth and fists, and summons Jezebel
To make her prophets sacrifice; her servants check the well.
So...entrails are consulted and a cistern sounding taken.
"It's down 10 feet, Your Majesty." The water dude was shaken!

In the three full days that follow, their well dried quickly up.
In the morn, they drew a nightfall, just a cup.
Yes, this stubborn King and Queen blame that leathery prophet guy.
When that night, they are thirsty; 'cause their royal dry.

Act I, Scene I - The Brook Kerith

Until the King would pray to God and find true faith again.
The prophet is off praying that G*D would hold the rain.
He finds a place of refuge, up in the mountains high.
Where, the streams there gurgle longer; and ravens ply the sky.

Those big, black birds bring doughnuts, turnovers and scones;
Filet mignon and lamb chops and chicken; without bones!
And one night with his supper - He'll ne'er forget that day.
One raven even brings a scoop of mango fruit sorbet!

He looks up to the heaven's and thanks G*D for His grace.
Elijah takes his shoes off.   He is in a holy place.
"God of my forefathers.  I pray for a great revival.
Our leader worships Baal and Asherah as Your rival.

Let him learn his idols do not bring the fields to fruit.
Let him learn his horn is really nothing he should toot.
God save the king and queen. Help them be devout.
And use whatever thing You will. Bless them with (cough) this drought!" - Amen.

We do not know how long he stays there or exactly where he hid.
We do not know exactly what this prophet daily did.
But we know he prays for Ahab and for the nation to be pained.
We know that Yahweh answered, for it never, ever rained.[1]

And, he too is affected.  His hidden creek quit too.
The ravens bring him crusty crusts...then nothing more to chew.
There is nothing more to eat and nothing for a bath.
There was only one place now to go...and that was Zarephath.

Acts I – Scene II - The Town Zarephath

Elijah pulls his belt a notch.   At least he is still alive!
The drought is causing famine....his cinching's  have numbered five.
He packs his crusts and canteen, and trudges up the draw.
He listens for a moment...but he doesn’t hear one "Caw!"

And then comes an impression...the kind the Spirit makes.
"Go there. Find a widow. Eat the bread she bakes.
The famine will continue until Ahab does the math.
So, go and be a blessing to the town of Zarephath."

He marches the lonely miles, beyond Israeli borders.
God's man on a Godly mission, following heaven's orders.
He asks his fellow travelers for directions on his quest.
"Keep on going North...don't veer off East or West."

Act I, Scene III - The Widow’s House

He finally finds the region, at the end of a plodding session.
And once again his spirit is gripped by a strong impression.
"Go left...go right...go farther." He’s now almost out of town.
That's when he sees...a a tatterd, all-black gown.

She faces him, bent over.  Her hands are full of twigs.
Her yard? Completely empty: No sheep, no goats, no pigs.
Those creatures have been eaten; as mutton, steaks or bacon.
And now it seems there was nothing left for any meal makin'.

And what is this? Some movement, at the entry of her home.
A little guy, half-naked.  – Why, he’s barely skin and bone!
A thought booms in his psyche - "This place is the one.
Ask her for a meal first...then tell her to feed her son.

He thought "Oh God, you’re kidding me?! Ask her...for a bite to eat?
Can't you see they're starving!? A meal would be quite the feat!
IF they had a morsel...they've hardly the strength to chew it!"
The impression throbbed the louder "I've spoken, Prophet. Do it!"

Acts II, Scene I – A Prophet’s Request and the Widow’s Faith

"Hello!?  May I have a moment?  No, I'm not selling brushes.
Nor am I selling time shares, candy bars or slushes.
I'm not collecting funding for to help a prostitute,
And I know this will sound crazy, since I see you’re destitute.

But…could I have some water?  I suffer from great thirst.”[2]
See, Yahweh already told him that her well was also cursed.
Just that very morning, she had found her cistern dry.
She had just one jar of water left – then she and her son would die.

That morning, she had knelt to Baal. “Please, come to my aid!”
I’m down to the last of my flour and I’ve nothing to barter or trade.”
But, it was YAHWEH that would give her answer.  For He’d listening too.
And that’s why Elijah is here right now.  Behold! What the REAL GOD can do!

She turns to go fetch his water.  But the prophet speaks yet more.
He sees her son clutch his belly, as he still stands in the door.
“And, would you make a loaf for me.  I haven’t eaten, Ma’am.
You needn’t worry ‘bout butter; jellies or any jam.

Just a small one would be fine.  I know this request is wild.
But then go fix one for yourself and your hungry child.
She turns and drops her gathered wood.  Her blood begins to boil.
“As sure as your God lives, I say - I’ve just a little oil.

And, I’ve just a little flour.  Our rations run out today!
We plan to eat and die, good Sir. So get!  Be on your way!
These sticks (she motions to the ground) will be my final fire.
So you won’t mind, Dear Drifte, if I’m a meal denier!

But the prophet looks her in the eye. “God says that you should feed me.
His promise, Ma’am, is you’ll not starve.  I’m here because you need me.
After I have eaten, then you can make bread for yourself.
For the God I serve will put more oil and flour on your shelf!”

And this will happen every meal that we shall eat together.
This will happen every day, until there’s rainy weather.
And the well!  Ah, yes - your well – will today provide our water.
For Our Lord God considers you to be His much beloved daughter.”

A miracle occurred just then. (Not the gluten in her container.)
An act of total faith and trust.   It now seems a no-brainer.
She walks away and stirs a dough, just as the prophet said.
And serves him her precious water, with a biscuit blob of bread.

She looks within her canister to see if it is true.
She gasps! There is more flour.  There is more oil too!
She makes a loaf for her little lad.  She laughs, as he chews it down.
Hers is the only household that holds calories in the town!

So lastly, she makes herself one too – in the shape of a tea-time scone!
She relished it in silent praise to the True God on His throne!
And for days and days to come, it happened every meal!
It was only bread and water – not leg-of-lamb or veal.

Watch! Her little boy gets plumper, and that makes a Mama happy.
And her flesh, too, fills out again.  Her arms had gotten flappy.
The jar of meal and the jar of oil NEVER is seen to be void.
Now, though she is a widow – she now is self-employed!

Act II, Scene II – The Depths of Death

Time went by, like it always does.  One day, her son takes ill.
She does what she can to help him, as every mother will.
But a physician cannot be summoned to come to his bedside.
On account of the drought and famine, all the Docs in town have died.

Finally, the boy stops breathing. His skin turns an ashen grey.
His Mom speaks to Elijah.  Yes, she now will have a say!
“I’m glad you came here months ago, so we’d have food to eat.
Having bread and water has really been some feat!

But now…Oh, now!  My son is dead.!   I can hardly take it in.
Did you come to remind me of my former life of sin![3]
Yes…I’m a widow woman.  His father was worked to death.
And now our little boy lies cold, without a pulse or breath.

See, we had to get married.  For we had fornicated.
It became quite obvious, when I’d been impregnated.
We had the choice of marriage or spend some time in prison.
And it seemed like forever when Papa did his quizzin’.

My papa got his throwing spear, and forced us down the aisle.
He held it on his shoulder.  And he didn’t ever smile.
We said “I do” and that was that. Soon it was all forgotten.
And that’s the woeful tale how this child was begotten.

So tell me, Mr. Prophet, did your God kill my son?
Is this His heavenly judgment on our prenuptial fun?
If it is; then won’t you leave us!  I’ve now a little grave to dig.
I know your God makes flour. But I don’t think He’s this big!

Elijah stands there weeping in the face of her raw grief.
He knows it wasn’t Yahweh.  It was “The Serpent Thief.”
He asks her “Is there any more?” She shakes her head, “I’m done.”
That’s when he softly says to her “Give me, please, your son.”

Act II, Scene III - The Resurrection

He takes him from her arms, and he climbs the flight of stairs
That take him to an upper room with a cot and a couple chairs.
He lays the lifeless body on his bed in the traditional way.
Then, he stretches his body on the corpse.  It’s the strangest way to pray!

Three times he calls out to the Lord. “Oh, Lord, just tell me why!
Why have you blessed her pantry, but allowed her son to die?
Oh Lord! Our Lord! Let life return!  Let him take another breath!”
That’s coming bold to the throne of grace, in the very face of death!

Then - wonder of all wonders! The child takes an inhale!
His skin gets pigmentation, which had just been a ghastly pale!
His eyes? They open brightly.  The room has a holy calm.
Then, in his childish lisping; he says, “I want my Mom.”

Elijah picks him up and carries him from the room,
Down to where his mother is weeping in her gloom.
She’s curled up – tight and fetal; in the center of her rug.
Until she feels two little arms, giving her a hug.

Elijah huggs her too.  “Behold! Your son’s alive!
Evil tried to take him down, but look!  He did survive!
The God I serve is mighty.  He can do the BIGGEST thing.”
She wipes her tears and smiles…and then she starts to sing.

“He can do, He can do, He can do anything
Nobody like my Lord and Master.
He can do, He can do, He can do anything.
Nobody like my Lord.”[4]


And now for the rest of her story.  The prophet left. It rained.
The oil and the flour event never got fully explained.
She and her son kept eating that, until her garden grew.
And it produced a whopper crop. Finally, she made some stew!

Is there a place where oil and flour NEVER will run out?
Yes.  This tale is true, my friend.  Of that, there is no doubt!
And if you don’t believe it, I know a little path.
It starts from right wherever you are…and ends in Zarephath.

[1] James 5:13-18
[2] 1 Kings 17:10
[3] 1 Kings 17:18
[4] A known praise song in 2016.

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