Hey there today I’m going to write you out of the subject “A strategic God” – it will be a expository writing so bear with me and we will get through this writing. The text that has my attention is written in 2 Kings 4:1-7
2 Kings 4:1-7 (NKJV)
Elisha and the Widow’s Oil
A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.”
Now we may not have a name or a proper introduction of this woman the Bible is writing about, but it gives enough information to know the condition of this woman. When looking closely to verse 1 you can see so much more then two sentences.
- When she found herself in a predicament that exceeded what is her own ability could solve, she sought the local prophet.
- She was married. (Being married in biblical times was a source not only of security but also of dignity.)
- She had been fruitful – the Bible says that she had two sons.
- Something happened, her husband died and now she is a widow. She is left behind with two sons and in the need to provide for her household. (husband was the one whom was the source of providence, putting food on the table.)
- Assuming that when the husband was alive everything went smooth, now that he has past away she has no source of income… the bills are starting to pile up. She is now debt and the situation is critical cause the debt collector (creditor) is coming to take away her two sons. (in the biblical times when one can’t accredit for their debt, it was accustomed that the sons would be taken away to work off the debt as slaves.)
- Summary: A widower, left with two sons, in debt without any way to pay it off before they take away her sons is now seeking help from the local prophet named Elisha.
You may have lost your spouse or not, you may be a single parent, or you are just a couple with sons and daughters but with no way to provide for them…maybe you don’t even have kids but you can relate to one of the emotions she’s experiencing… This first verse gives the character of the woman she was wise in seeking help of the prophet. She needed a word from God. (Rhema, a word that is specifically for her and applicable to her situation.) She recognised that she couldn’t do it by herself, she new that the plans of man would be common so she sought help from the highest source that she knew off.
Have you ever felt afflicted and under the threat of loosing someone you love just because you cannot support them and this left you defenceless. I can remember after given birth to my first daughter (7) what would happen if I couldn’t provide for her. When it was just my the two of us everything was fine, but than we became three and the money we had at the time was not sufficient anymore we were getting behind on the bills, we were both still in school at the time. First of all we were living in a apartment/studio that was not suitable to have children let alone live with three people in it. So I was panicking how in the world we can move without money and actually with no clue where to go. So I started having these thoughts what if they put us out of the apartment and we had to live under a bridge and because of this they would take away my daughter as a result of not being able to provide her with a stable home, water, food and clothes.. These where my thoughts spoken out loud, conversations I could have with my husband and he would reply that there is a system that protects us and you know all that stuff, but the real feeling would not go away..
Well we managed by Gods grace and we moved to a bigger house and not long after we had a second daughter (5), my mother moved to the Netherlands and she was living with us. We would split the bills and the cost than she moved out and left us with a house we couldn’t afford anymore.. we needed to move again but how.. I started praying I was crying to God and weeping before in the middle of the night. My husband would wake up and ask me what are you doing and I would reply praying, pouring my heart out before God. I was laying face down in my own sob, talking to God.. Just when I thought it will not happen and we were not going to make it if God would not intervene immediately, I would be right at the spot where I was one year back with all those thoughts. The only thing would be know that the threat would be much bigger loosing both of my daughters, lost in foster care and so one.. I can’t imagine that so I was glad when God provided us with a home we could afford. Just when I thought the worst is behind me, my mother past away. So I was trying to make up for the past still trying to finish school, with two children and at the same time working to make enough money so we could live providing a stable home for our children. So you see I found myself in the same spot where this woman is finding herself. Emotionally wrecked and in fear of loosing my children.
Going on in verse 2 So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
Now you see Elisha asked her what he could do, but also at the same time what she has to offer/sacrifice. When you see nothing, God sees something. Now the main rule of multiplication is found in Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” God rewards those in need who gives generously. Those who give with a freedom without limits. Example is found in Mark 12:41-44, a poor widower who gives her last two mites.
Beside all that is already mentioned that is made known of this woman it seems she is also suffering from hunger. The only thing she has left is a jar of oil. She has nothing to go with it to make her sons and self a piece of bread. As you see every area of her life is falling apart. She is suffering emotionally, economically and physically and on top of that she was suffering spiritually.
In verse 1 she says “they feared the Lord” there is no suffering that weighs more than to fear the Lord and when you need Him the most it seems that He is no where to be found. You have offered, obeyed, served, worshipped the Lord you have served the people of God but now there you are alone with no money to pay your bills. You are left behind and feeling alone. You are hurt and worst it seems you can’t find God. Remember God does His best works in silent. Some of His best works are made in the shadows.
3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbours—empty vessels; do not gather just a few.
Now wait a minute! I asked for a solution and You’re making me to go borrow vessels from every neighbour – all their empty vessels – and a whole bunch of them. Humanly speaking and with human thoughts.. No, no, no God this Is not what I signed up for! What is this God, what’s this Elisha you must got that word wrong I need a Rhema word, I need a fix and you’re telling me that I need to care for the needs of my neighbours to? In need to go to their houses and see what for need they lack in. Well you see people bring us common solution but not God. First God wanted to show her that she’s not the only one in need. Secondly God wanted to see if she would compromise and go for the strategic plan He has for her. Elisha is the messenger. He is the prophet, the one who speaks in the name of God. Humility and obedience is all that God needs and than when you compromise to pursue His plan He’ll reward you for it. All that you did is being seen.
Often we ask God for help and while we ask we are having a concept of how it should look like. In the process of guessing we miss out on God’s miracle. Multiplication is a miracle that we neglect to recognise. It could be that the miracle God has for you is brought to you in another package. It may be in the form of an idea, an opportunity, or an invitation or an association that is previously completely unknown and unidentified. Keep vigilant and in expectancy of the different ways in which God can decide to send you your miracle in due time. never expect a conventional solution to your problem when asking God for a solution. This is not all see verse 4…
4 And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.”
Well as you see collecting empty vessels was the first step. Now a much bigger sacrifice is being demanded from her. She now has the pour that one jar left she has in all the empty vessels she gathered. We would see 1 Jar but now she has more than one jar filled with oil. With this worldly mentality you would only think I don’t even have enough for me and my house and know I need to pour my jar into the vessels of all the neighbours. Say what God. There is no logic in this. It seems that I went from bad to worse. Having Faith not always makes sense but it always produces miracles.
5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out.
This is her miracle happening, her obedience, her sacrifice, her nothing becoming something. God had a plan with the nothing she had. She saw nothing but this is what God saw in verse 6-7….
6 Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased.
One jar of oil filled many other vessels – multiplication is happening cause she had more oil but there where no vessels left to fill. (this is like turning water into wine kinda miracle, this is the overflow happening, more than enough happening) Finally Elisha says in verse 7…
7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”
God saw business, God saw income on a long term, God provided her with enough to pay off the debt collectors and live in peace.
As with this woman God did it for me. I was focussing on all that I don’t have the degree, I lost my mother how can I go one, the money and all the other excuses I could find and God is saying the only thing I needed was what was left. The plans, ideas, the gifts and talents I gave you.. (unto thee: my husband and I). He is making it happen. Sometimes God will permit that we’ll find ourself in a situation that only He can solve, so that we could realise He is the only one that could fix it. Every talent you have could be a source of income only when you invest in it. Invest is serving the need of others when you need it the most. It’s providing something that builds up others, helping them. It’s is spending time in tryin’ to make it work.
4 principals this passage teaches:
- God’s way is the best way for the problems we encounter in our daily life. – The widow sought God first and found the will to obey God’s words.
- God gives a answer to your emptiness. – When she had nothing else left to offer that is when God answered her. – The only thing she had was a jar of oil. (this woman was humble James 4;6, she recognised her need and had the courage to seek help. Often we are to arrogant to ask for help when we need it (John 15:5/Galatians 6:3).
- Give to other what you need God to give unto you. – principal of Luke 6:38 after all it is better to give than to receive.
- God doesn’t need much to do much more. That one jar of oil she had was enough for God to make a miracle out off it.
Just follow God’s lead… Go start planning that business… Use these talents God gave you… let’s grow and build for the edification of His Kingdom..
God always has a plan as we know in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” so Be still my soul, and wait upon the Lord (Psalm 62:5)
Wait upon the Lord! He is never late, always on time to restore unto you the joy of thy salvation.
With loving regards,