Elisha and the Widow’s Oil (2 Kings 4:1 – 7)

After one of the sons of the prophets died, his wife came to Elisha fearful of the creditors, who threatened to take her two sons as slaves.  She asked what she should do, and Elisha asked her what she had in her house.  She replied that she only had a jar of oil.  He instructed her to go borrow vessels from her neighbors, shut the door behind her, and pour the oil into the vessels.  She did as he instructed, filling each vessel, then asking for another.  Once all the vessels were full, she asked for another, but there was not one.  Then the oil ceased, and she told Elisha.  He then instructed her to sell the oil and pay her debts, and then live on the rest.

What a powerful story!  So many things pop off the pages of the Bible in this story.  For instance, the powerful ministry of Elisha is truly portrayed as being even more anointed by God than that of Elijah.  He asked for a double portion, and the double portion seems to be present.  Another interesting point is the faith of the widow.  She could have reflused to follow Elisha’s instructions and would have lost her sons and perhaps starved herself.  Also, the widow participated in an audacious move, borrowing vessels from all her neighbors in order to produce the greatest possible return on her faith and effort.  An interesting question, though:  what if she had even more vessels?  Would the oil have kept coming?  Of couse, because the promise was true.  As long as there were vessels, the oil would continue.  Don’t ever sell God short.  What He has promised, He will perfom!

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