Summary: Let us look into the story of Elisha who helped a widow and her sons and find out what God is telling us today.
Let us look into the story of Elisha who helped a widow and her sons and find out what God is telling us today.
2 Kings 4: 1-7
Now a wife of one of the prophets appealed to Elisha for help, saying, “Your servant, my husband is dead. You know that your servant was a loyal follower of the Lord. Now the creditor is coming to take away my two boys to be his servants.” Elisha said to her, “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She answered, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a small jar of olive oil.” He said, “Go and ask all your neighbors for empty containers. Get as many as you can. Go and close the door behind you and your sons. Pour the olive oil into all the containers; set aside each one when you have filled it.” So she left him and closed the door behind her and her sons. As they were bringing the containers to her, she was pouring the olive oil. When the containers were full, she said to one of her sons, “Bring me another container.” But he answered her, “There are no more.” Then the olive oil stopped flowing. She went and told the prophet. He said, “Go, sell the olive oil. Repay your creditor, and then you and your sons can live off the rest of the profit.”
Before Elijah went to heaven, he and Elisha ministered and trained a group of men in different places to teach God’s Word to the people. These men were baptized as sons of the prophets; they had families to take care of and teach God’s Word as well.
One unfortunate day, one son of the prophets died. He left behind a wife and two sons. After this man died there was a knock at the widow’s door. It was a man who was looking for money that her husband owed him. Her husband had an unpaid bill with this man. The man wanted his money now. “I am sorry sir, I have no money to pay you the money my husband owed” the widow may have said. “Well, ma’am since you don’t have the money to pay your husbands debts, the law says I can take your two sons as full payment for his debt. I will make them my slaves for the debt your husband didn’t pay.”
How do you think this widow felt at this news? Her husband had just died and now she was going to lose her only 2 sons. What could she do? She had no money and nothing to offer this man to pay the debt that was owed.
She knew that Elisha was God’s prophet. When we have a need we should go to someone who believes and trusts in God for help. The widow went to Elisha and said, “Your servant, my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. Now that he is dead the man he owed money to is going to take my sons away to be his slaves!”
“How can I help you?” Elisha asked this depressed widow. “What do you have in your home that you could sell to make money?”
“All I have is a jar of oil.”
Most of the time, we may feel like this widow that what we have is not enough and is insignificant for God to use. As we learn from this story today listen to how God used what the widow had to see that what we see as little or insignificant is much if God is involved.
Oil during Elisha’s time was used both as a luxury and as a need. It was expensive because it was time-consuming to make. One olive tree will yield about ten gallons of oil a year. It was maximized for medicinal purposes, lighting, cooking, and even for cosmetics and soaps. In the tabernacle, pure olive oil was utilized in the golden lampstand. Cuts and scrapes on animals and humans would be rubbed with olive oil to help the healing process. Prophets, priests and the kings of Judah and Israel were anointed with the finest of olive oils.
In the story, Elisha instructed the woman and her sons to go around to their neighbors and ask for as many empty jars as they could get. “When you get as many jars as you can, go into your house with your sons and close the door. Take the jar of oil that you have and begin to pour that oil into the empty jars that you have collected.”
The widow went home and did exactly what Elisha had instructed. She and her sons went knocking on their neighbors’ doors and asked them if they could borrow any empty jars that they had. When they had borrowed all the jars that they could find, the widow and her sons went inside and shut the door.