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.”
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.”
Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. 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.”
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. 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. 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.” 2Kings 4:1-7
After Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind, Elisha took over the ministry. A widow came to Elisha telling him that although her late husband had been faithful to God, the creditors were coming to take her sons as slaves for the money they owed. The Bible does not tell us why she owed money, but the word of God is clear that when we owe money, we choose to put ourselves under the slavery of another person. We are called to live within our income, which means we should strive to not put ourselves in debt, or get out of debt as fast as possible. In the case of the widow, it could have been that the death of her husband led them to financial hardship. They had no one to produce an income, and her sons could have been too young to take over the business.
Elisha asked her what she had in her house? The widow told him that she had just one jar of oil left. What we have in our hands is important in our journey with God. What need to bring to the table and allow God to breathe on it. Sometimes we may look down upon what we have, or we may think it’s too small or insignificant. Those are the moments that we are more self-conscious than God conscious. The widow was in a desperate position, which allowed to offer anything she had.
The world continually tells us that we must have all the right pedigrees before we can advance or succeed in life. Everyone wants their resume to look impressive. This steals our faith and vision and causes us to look at our capabilities to sustain us. We should be more impressed with God’s capability and resources than ours. What He is able to powerfully achieve in a short time, we would not be able to accomplish on our own in a lifetime!
It appears that she had been in this desperate position for sometime if all she had left in her house was a jar of oil! Elisha told her to go and borrow empty vessels and bring as many as she can. The Lord had given a divine idea to Elisha on how to help this widow. However, he needed the cooperation of the widow. The widow asked her sons to help out by picking out empty vessels from neighbors. In addition, the neighbors responded by giving the boys what they needed. They played a part in God’s divine plan and the breakthrough this woman needed.
Elisha instructed her to fill those jars with oil, and she was able to do so until there were no more vessels left. Then the oil stopped. What if the woman had only asked for a couple of vessels? What if the boys had not cooperated and wondered what was the point of empty jars when they were about to be taken into servitude by the creditors. What if the neighbors did not give offer their empty jars wondering why the boys were wasting their time when they could be doing something better to help the situation?
After all the vessels were full, the oil stopped. Elisha instructed the woman to sell the bottles of oil and pay her creditors and live on the rest of the money. God not only provided for her immediate need, but he also allowed her to have additional funds to support her family. Praise God that He gives above and beyond what we can ask or imagine!
The breakthroughs that God has in store for us will not necessarily make sense to us or to others. The Lord does not expect us to understand but to just believe and obey His instructions. We all have to live in fresh faith daily and not talk ourselves out of what God has spoken in our lives!