Today’s reading comes from 2 Kings 4:1-7
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
The widow who cried out to Elisha for help, reveals someone who knew the God of Israel.
Her husband had been a man who served God. Yet he had died leaving his widow in debt.
Bad things happen to all people living in this sinful world.
The cruel reality of the times in which this woman lived meant that her sons were almost certainly going to be sold into slavery. They would have to work for free till the debts were paid in full. Things were not looking good.
Have you ever experienced bad times like this? Maybe like the widow here, these bad times were nothing to do with you directly. They could be something you have inherited. To make matters appear worst, maybe you too have served and trusted the Lord faithfully and yet – great difficulty comes along. There seems nothing you can do about it.
Before you give up look out for your except.
A tiny bit of faith is all God needs to turn things around (Luke 17:6).
Moses had a rod in his hand and God used it to save a nation (Exodus 4;2).
The little boy had two fish and five loaves and Jesus feed 5,000 (John 6).
God does not require your BIG ability to turn things round but your SIMPLE faith.
The widow had some small oil in a jar.
She was asked to borrow as many jars as possible from her neighbors and fill them with the small oil in her jar.
The woman obeyed in faith.
She could have walked away from the ridiculous things that Elisha was asking her to do but she did not.
In verse 5 we read that she ‘shut the door behind her’ and obeyed.
Shutting the door kept her free from distractions.
The things that make us doubt God, turn back, lose faith, feel stupid – all these things are the result of distractions.
This woman had a big problem but decided to focus on the little provision she had.
If only you can keep your eyes on the little good that is going on in your life you will allow hope to burn in your heart and faith to mature.
For each jar she filled with oil more faith grew in her heart.
Eventually the small oil became bigger than the big debt.
What is it that God has given you – life, health, a roof over your head?
Whatever you have that is going well celebrate it and thank God for it.
Your oil will continue to multiply and before you know it – Your debt (whatever it is) will be paid.
Your oil will not run out.