At first glance this passage seems to be just another in the long line of miracles recorded in the bible. But this is a miracle that we can all believe in and all expect to see occur in our own lives. There are three essential elements required. First you need faith. The widow went to her late husbands master, the prophet Elisha, and she cited his fear of the Lord which she claimed Elisha knew about. Second you need a ‘flask of olive oil’. Thirdly you need to trust your friends and neighbours to help you a little. If you have these three things no situation is so desperate that a good solution cannot be found. What is your flask of oil? By this I mean, what is the thing you do have that you can work with. It may be something you can sell as it is, it maybe something you can work on and then sell, or it may just be a skill you can harness to provide yourself with an income. What ever your situation is, no matter how little you think you have, there will always be something you can work with. Who can help you? There is always someone who can help a little. It might require a bit of humility to swallow your pride and ask. Perhaps the help available will not be from friends but from charities or even the government. But when you are in a tight spot, help is help.
Above all though, how is your faith? Is it strong enough for you to ask God himself for help?
2 Kings 4:1-7 NLT
One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbours. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”
There is actually a fourth element in todays passage which is important. The widow is told to go into her house with her sons and shut the door behind her. Then they are to get on with the bottling of the oil. Father God, I pray that I can learn and absorb the lessons in this short passage. I thank you for the faith you have blessed me with and the various ‘flasks of oil’ you have provided me with. I ask you to rain down blessings on those of my family and friends who have lent me their jars so generously too. Finally, Father, I ask that I might have the dignity to work with what you have given me, quietly and patiently, for your glory not mine, and I trust that in so doing, you will provide the things I need just when they are needed. Amen
2 Kings 3:1-4:17, Acts 14:8-28, Psalms 140:1-13, Proverbs 17:22