Change is an inevitable part of life. Seasons come and go; there is an ebb and flow; whether you’re willing or not to go. Times may be merry with strength so extraordinary. Or times may get tough and life becomes rough. One thing’s for sure seasonal changes will occur; what’s not yours today, comes on the morrow; losses and gains are apart of the change.
The widow whose oil was multiplied (II Kings 4: 1-7) appears early in the story of Elisha. Her only claim to fame was that she was married to one of the sons of the prophets, and he was known by Elisha. Her husband had died and left her hopelessly in debt, and her sons who were her only hope for her future were about to be sold into slavery as payment of debt.
In her destitution she cried saying, “The creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves” (v.1). What a mournful mess! You too may be in a similar situation, although you’re more likely to be in danger of eviction rather than the enslavement of your children. This woman needed a miracle and perhaps you’re in need of one too!
Tough times are common to all and seasons of transitions at the very least may be uncomfortable. When facing ominous changes it is especially important to study the scripture. It is during these times of distress that we must believe God for the miraculous.
What did the widow do? She went to the prophet of God who asked her, “What shall I do for you? What do you have in your house?”(v.2). This, in all probability, seemed like a strange question. Her first reply was, “Nothing at all…” nothing but emptiness; “Thy handmaiden has nothing,” hear the sorrow and feel the despair. In this widow’s barrenness of spirit she answers, “Nothing at all…” Do you feel the despair and barrenness of her spirit in her answer? Do you hear her sorrow as she senses her emptiness and loss?
What is in your house? Literally, what is in your house? Your family; your home; your church; your community; your heart. Thankfully, lack in your house and the widow’s, is not an obstacle in the presence of God’s grace and fullness. In II Kings we read that the widow cautiously responded, “I have a jar of oil.”
Thank God for her discovery that she needed only to trust and obey. There may be desolate places, but there is supply. Most assuredly there is something in the house! Something waiting for the miraculous, something waiting to be made useful, something extraordinary, like simple a jar of oil.
Your need is not too great; neither an obstacle too difficult, nor a situation too severe, that God’s grace will not be sufficient. The doorway, the plan, the resolution has already been provided. Though the widow’s circumstances may have been threatening, as yours may be, even so God is mighty to save.
The possibilities are infinite when you are willing to permit God to use what you have. It is with an open heart you will hear His instruction. “Go, borrow thee vessels, empty vessels, not a few” (v.3). Discover within your arena of need the enormity of God’s blessing. Truly, there is a reward. While in times of transition whether voluntary or forced, God has a plan; he will strengthen you. However, be prepared to think big…“borrow not a few.”
It is wonderful that the widow’s need made opportunity for others to be used. The community she was a part of actively responded to her plea and generously gave towards her need. Life experience shared is a potential antidote in which all lives are enriched. Her faith exercised provided not only the occasion, but the remedy.
Notice that her tragic setback was actually a set-up. When you have a need, lay bare yourself by giving God the whole thing. He desires all of you, even what’s heartbreaking. Surrender your resources to Him: your time, talent, prayers, gifting, money…He wants to multiply what you give to meet every need in your life.
Though the predicament in the widow’s life was enormous when “she poured out and the vessels were filled” and “shut the door upon her and her sons” (v. 5, 6), the time had now come to be shut in with God alone, to claim the promise.
The man of God told her to borrow as many empty pots and pans from her neighbors she could find. He then instructed her to lock herself in and start pouring the oil into the borrowed vessels.
How long has it been since you shut yourself in and poured out your heart to God, until you emptied yourself before Him in absolute abandonment?
Imagine the scene…her boys running back and forth, wide-eyed with amazement as the oil continues to pour. Finally the boys out of breath announce, “Mom that’s the last pot”…what a thrilling moment watching her sons stepping into the realm of the miraculous. They too witnessed their mother’s faith rewarded for every empty vessel that was filled.
The oil was multiplied in the pouring; the way to increase what you have is to use it. “There was not a vessel more; and the oil stayed” (v.6). “Go, and sell the oil and pay thy debt; and you and your sons live on the rest” (v.7). “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you’ve done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10: 35-36).
The widow and her son’s liberation was accomplished; and when asked how they were saved from enslavement, they could truly say, by the gift of God; saved by grace alone. There’s an old song and the lyrics are, “He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to wash my sins away. And now I sing a brand new song Amazing Grace, Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.”
God has a plan and you have a purpose; discover it and use it! That which is surrendered, is enough for Him. What is in your house? Remember, God has unlimited provision, so enlarge your thinking, expand your praying and strike oil in the house today!
Whether cloudy skies or skies of blue; there is a rainbow of His promise awaiting you. Within this rhythm is God’s provision, He is mighty to save. Amidst this sequence of seasons of life, during the fine tuning of the heart; lyrical melodies are formed; when His grace is offered and the heavens open brilliantly a timely question will be posed of you, “What would you have me do?”