Those disciples of John the Baptist were adjustable, and because of that they came to know the Lord Jesus. You will remember those disciples of John who followed Jesus, and said, "Master, where dwellest Thou?" He said, "Come and see." Now had they been fixed and settled, saying, "We are John's disciples and we must stand by him; we must stay with John, and move with him; let Jesus have His own disciples, but we stand by John," they would have lost a great deal. But they were open and adjustable, and moved beyond John.
Those other disciples many years afterward, to whom he said, "Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?" were adjustable. When they heard what Paul said, they were baptized into the Name of the Lord Jesus. They were ready to go on from John to Christ, and so they came into the greater fullness (Acts 19).
Unless we are adjustable we shall miss a great deal. Elijah was adjustable, and so God could lead him on. The Lord allowed the brook to dry up because He had something more for His servant to learn, and something more to do through him, and so He said, "Arise, get thee to Zarephath ... I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee." He went to Zarephath, and was made a blessing by his Obedience.
Experience of Resurrection
Then he was brought by his new movement of obedience and faith into a new exercise, a new perplexity, a new trial; for the woman's son died. The woman was a widow with one son. The death of the son meant for her the loss of everything. It happened while Elijah was thee, being looked after by this woman, and he was there in obedience to the Lord. He had done this in obedience to the Lord, and now in the line of obedience to, and of faith in the Lord, the Lord allowed this catastrophe to come into the very home to which he had been sent. It clearly raised a big question in Elijah's heart. "God sent me here, I know that! God raised me up and commissioned me, and in the course of the fulfilling of my commission He brought me into this situation! There is no doubt about the Lord having led this way, and now here I am, having done what the Lord told me, having taken the course that He indicated, and everything has come into death and confusion; there is a terrible contradiction here!" All sorts of questions can arise when you get in a position like that, and you can begin to go back on your guidance, begin to raise questions as to whether, after all, you were led, or whether you made a mistake in your guidance. Do that, and you only get more and more into the mire. What is all this about? God has a revelation for Elijah beyond anything that he had yet received. He was going to bring him into something more than he had yet known. He was going to show His servant that He is the God of resurrection; and that has to be wrought, in a deep way, into the very being of His servant, through trial, through perplexity, through bewilderment. Thus the Lord allows the widow's son to die, and the house to be filled with consternation, and all concerned to ask big questions.
The prophet goes up to his chamber and brings the thing before the Lord, and lays hold of God, and so relates himself to this situation that he and the situation are one, and the boy's resurrection is the prophet's resurrection. There is identification of the prophet with the situation in death, and then in resurrection. The mighty meaning of the power of His resurrection, with new experience of that for the servant of God, was an essential lesson, if this authority was to be maintained, and this ministry to work out to its ultimate meaning in the overthrow of the powers of death, which were working destruction. The servant of God must go through it all in his own heart.
This discipline of Zarephath was relative to the whole ministry of the prophet. Zarephath means testing and refining, and it was indeed a refining fire. But Elijah came out, and everybody else concerned came out, into a new place in resurrection.
The Lord write these thing in our hearts, and show us how they still remain as spiritual values connected with the reaching of God's end, the fulfilling of His purpose.