Scripture Reference 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.
Firstly in this text we are confronted with the sad reality that death comes for those who love and revere the Lord as it does for anyone else. The death of the woman’s husband was not prevented – there was no miraculous deliverance or healing in this incident, however the woman persevered in her faith by bringing the matter to the attention of Elisha.
The sons and daughters of God can and do suffer loss in this world, however that fact ought not to erode our faith or our trust in God. Although left in a desperate situation due to the sudden death of her husband (a reality that can cause many a solid believer to doubt and question) this woman of faith brought the need to God!
Her perseverance was not in vain! Elisha does not wave his hand and dispel the current crisis instead he asks the distraught woman, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” The response, “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” Now then, why in the world would the man of God, the man of prayer, the man of faith question the woman as to what she has to give over to God? Do you remember the widow of Zarephath, 1 Kings 17? She too was asked to give what little she had over to God in faith.
You may be distraught, think you have nothing left to give, but don’t you believe it! There is something you possess, something God has left you that you still need to give over to God by faith. Again we might ask, “But why?” Because God has redeemed you into a relationship with Him. God delights in giving to His people, but He also delights in our giving to Him! Relationships based in love are always a two way street!
Not only was the woman asked to reveal what little she had but she was also asked to go around and collect as much as she could from others. This also shows the importance of the collective response of the people of God to a need. Here’s the rub, the woman’s provision from God would be contingent on the number of jars she was willing to collect by faith! How often we limit God’s provision in our life by our own unwillingness to bring the matter by faith to God and then to do the work of faith by acting on what God is showing us we must do. There would be no fanfare with this miracle for the woman was told after she collected the jars to go into her house and shut the door. She even chose to include her sons in the work of faith by having them bring the empty jars to her as she filled them with the little she had left in her own jar! Once the borrowed jars were all used up the oil ceased to flow! Friend, is it possible you are missing out on the miraculous provision of God because you have suffered loss and refuse to bring the matter to God? Have we at times limited what God will pour out into our laps because we failed to do the challenging work of faith and instead did only what we thought was reasonable in the moment?