Summary: This story is about how Christians can access God’s blessings for every area of our lives. It is not so much about forgiveness of sin, which we all need, but it's more about the method God has for deliverance in every area of life. God is a deliverer.
GOD'S METHOD OF DELIVERANCE: II KINGS 4: 1-7
AS WE POUR OUT, GOD POURS IN
I. “Now there cried a certain woman of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, ‘your servant, my husband is dead; and you know that your servant feared the Lord; and the creditor has come to take my two sons away to be his bond-servants.’” In the text, the widow's late husband -- a "son of the prophet," a student in the school that Elijah had set up for preachers, had sinned. In this case his sin was getting too deep in debt. He wasn't working for an earthly wage, in fact, preachers in that day had to mostly be in hiding, because the Word of God was not very well appreciated, but regardless, he still went into debt, and God took him home before he could pay it off, and consequently his wife was left with a bill she nor his sons could afford to pay.
II. Just as now, so it was then, preachers probably didn't make much money, so he borrowed to live and went into debt, thinking that he would have time to pay it off, but God ordained otherwise, and called him home. He borrowed to get by, and consequently, he left his family in deep financial trouble.
III. This true story is also applicable to any situation regarding any need in the life of a servant of the Lord. Now as then, God's people do sin. But we sin “against our nature.” We are "overtaken in a fault" (Gal. 6: 1). We can "fall into the snare of the devil” (I Tim. 3: 7; II Tim. 2: 26). We may sin against our nature, but we do sin. 1 John 1: 8, says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." But, we read that, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I Jhn. 1: 9). Regardless, God’s preacher sinned, but any sin creates problems for us – and not just for us, but also for those closest to us.
IV. The emphasis here is really not so much on the widow’s late preacher-husband and the mistakes he had made, but it is focused on the widow’s need and the need of her sons. Their problem was a financial problem. They needed MONEY. But what is more important here, and I’ve realized this, is that this story is also about how we as Christians are to access God’s blessings for every area of our lives. It is not so much about forgiveness of sin, (which we need daily) but it is more about the method God has provided whereby we can grow in grace and receive the spiritual qualities we need to be more effective in the work of the Lord. It is a story about how we obtain the Godly virtues we all should want as Christians. It is about how we can enhance and develop a Christ-like nature.
V. So these principles are applicable to demonstrate how God will deliver us from any problem and meet any need, and, whether it be a financial need; or the need for deliverance from a medical problem; or protection from a threat of physical harm; or help with a relationship problem, or any other need or problem we might that we might find ourselves in – we learn through this story that God is a Deliverer!
VI. (V 1). We must first remember that all sin is "against God" (Psm. 51:4). At the same time, it must be remembered that many times, God’s children are just victims of circumstance. Through no fault of their own, they are brought into ruinous situations. Situations, it seems that there is no way out of. Jesus verified that truth when He said, “God makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). He said, “In this world you WILL have tribulation…” (John 16:33).
VII. It must also be noted, looking a little ahead to verse 3, that by that time, the widow had seemingly sold everything she had of any value. Maybe she sold the chairs and all the furniture; all her dishes, maybe even her own and her boy's extra clothes, because when asked by the prophet what she had in the house, she said all she had was "a little oil," and yet, the debt was still there. She had tried everything in the natural sense to get out of her situation, and nothing worked.
VIII. But finally, grace brought her to her senses, and she was enabled by that grace to call on God, recognizing Him as her only help, and then to go to Him through his prophet, Elisha. If she would have only started out by calling on God first, she could have saved herself a lot of grief -- but as with all God's people, He will allow us to come into difficult circumstances, so that we might come to the realization that He is to be our only source and He should be our FIRST source! Rather than beating our heads against the wall of the world, He wants us to learn to go to Him first, even if it means we must first fall into much trouble, trials and tribulations.