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Summary: When the curtain lifts on 2 Kings Chapter 4, we see a scene of misery, poverty, and despair. But, as the story progresses, the widow, who is one of the main characters, finds her way from rags to riches.

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1-14-05

Title: From Rags to Riches

Text: “” (2 Kings 4:7)

Bible Reading: 2 Kings 4:1-7

Introduction

I want begin today with a joke about preachers.

One Sunday a woman thanked the pastor for his sermon.

The pastor tried to be humble and replied, “Don’t thank me, thank the Lord.”

She said, “Well, I thought about that but it wasn’t that good.”

Friends, that’s the way I feel most of the time; like the sermon wasn’t very good and I didn’t present it very well.

Sometimes I feel like giving up.

How about you?

Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel and quitting?

Have you ever come to your wits end?

Are you there now?

Are you ready to give up?

When the curtain lifts on 2 Kings Chapter 4, we see a scene of misery, poverty, and despair.

But, as the story progresses, the widow, who is one of the main characters, finds her way from rags to riches.

Today, we’re going to study a remarkable oil pot that never ran dry.

Through a miracle of God, that jar of oil continued producing for a needy widow and her family.

It is a symbol of our pockets and our offerings.

God keeps giving and giving to us, filling our pockets and meeting our needs.

For two thousand years He has advanced His work by giving to His people all they need, and then persuading them to return a portion to Him for His church.

His blessings to us and through us are a never-ending supply of grace.

I will take you through the story verse-by-verse, and the first thing you will notice is that-

The Widow’s Trouble Was Brought to Elisha (v.1).

Verse 1 says: “Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”

By turning to God’s prophet, Elisha, this woman was turning to God in her trouble, since Elisha was God’s representative.

That’s the meaning of Hebrews 1:1; “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets.”

During this period in the northern kingdom of Israel there was no functioning priesthood.

Therefore, God raised up prophets, such as Elisha, who traveled and taught at a group of schools which trained young men in the ancient law and existed as a force for righteousness in the nation.

Students were called “sons of the prophets,” and in this instance, one of them died, leaving his wife and two sons without any means of support.

At this time in Israel, a child could be sold into slavery.

However, this woman, who had lost her husband and her livelihood and now faced the prospect of losing her sons, exercised faith by coming to the man of God for advice.

She brought her problems to Elisha, and passionately she “cried out” for help, indicating how truly desperate she was.

She also spoke of her problems without beating around the bush, honestly relating the facts.

She expressed her problems completely, telling her whole story to Elisha.

Do you bring your problems to the Lord this way?

Let’s take a look at her problems:

First, There Was Death in the Family (v.1).

Her human provider, her human protector, her human partner was gone and she felt it!

Her problem becomes even worse when you realize that there was no work for women in the Hebrew culture.

And a woman couldn’t own property; in fact she would have had very few rights.

When the widow’s husband died, he left an unpaid debt which the creditor had now come to collect.

If a borrower did not have personal property as security, his own person and that of his dependents would serve as security.

There fore, the creditor could legally take the widows sons as payment.

If her family or friends would not help her, and that appears to be the case, she would probably die.

So this widow and her children were in deep trouble.

The Hebrew language contains at least 30 words that describe various kinds of trouble.

What kind of trouble are you in?

Have you brought that trouble and laid it at the Savior’s feet?

This woman had seen all her belongings sold to meet the demands of her creditor, and now she faced the dreadful possibility of having to part with her two sons.

All that was left in her home was a pot of oil!

There are many people today who have financial problems?

They are worried about their job or their business?

In the case of the widow, we have seen that there was Death and Debt in the Family, and there was also-

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