Summary: The widow of 2 Kings 4 found herself with empty vessels but great opportunity, she just did not know it in the beginning.
2 Kings 4:1-7 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. 2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. 3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. 4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. 5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. 6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
l. THE WIDOW’S DILEMMA
-Very abrupt and striking are the transitions in the life of Elisha. Yesterday he performed an incredible miracle which supplied the needs of an entire army. This miracle became the means by which the swords of Jehoram and Jehoshaphat were subduing the rebellious kingdom of Moab.
-Now the prophet works a miracle to a poor widow whose sons are in a catastrophe and about to be turned into slaves by the creditors who are pursuing their obligations.
-From this story there are some lessons that we can learn.
A. The Lessons of the Widow
1. Her Necessity Demanded Something Drastic
-Some commentators identify this widow as the wife of Obadiah, who had served during the early days of Elijah and Elisha. This is the same Obadiah who hid some prophets in a cave away from the prying and predatory fingers of Jezebel.
-At one point, Obadiah had been a chamberlain the courts of Ahab, but that was until Jezebel settled in her heart to destroy all the prophets of God. Whatever monetary resources that Obadiah may have accrued, it had been spent attempting to preserve the prophets. When he died, his wife and children had nothing to preserve them.
• Like Joseph in Pharaoh’s courts.
• Like Daniel in Babylon.
• This upright prophet did not take advantage of the opportunity to deceitfully gain from the courts that he served in.
-Elisha is filled with pity for this little widow. Who knows what destitution she had undergone without complaint? But now the dilemma is heightening. . . . . . Her creditors are coming for their debt and because she cannot pay, her sons are going to become slaves.
-She could contain herself no longer, she has to get help or die in the dilemma.
-Consider the desperate situation that faces us in this generation:
• One hundred and thirty-eight thousand (138,000) more lost people ate breakfast this morning than did yesterday morning.
• When we get here next Sunday night, there will have been an increase of about one million more lost people in this world than when we give the altar call last week.
• The year 2003 will conclude with 50 million more lost people in this world than there were beginning on January 1, 2003.
• By this time tomorrow night, one hundred and forty-six thousand (146,000) will have died without ever having heard of Jesus Christ and the Gospel, most of those who have not heard has been no fault of their own.
• Line up all the lost people in this world in a single line and the line will circle the globe thirty (30) times and the line will grow twenty (20) miles every single day.
• Assume that today, we were to drive down that line of people and the only thing that we did was give them a New Testament, if we drove for fifty (50) miles per hour for ten (10) hours each day it would take four years and forty days for us to reach the place where we started. However the line would have grown thirty-thousand (30,000) miles by the time we ended the trip.
• Suppose that we stopped the clock and noon today and closed the cemeteries and shut down the OB wards, no else dies or is born until we reach every lost person on this earth at the rate that “all” evangelical churches are going it would take 320 years to win those of United States alone. To reach the whole world, it would take 4,000 years and that is if no one died or was born.