Summary: Even when there seems to be nothing in our lives, God can use the little that remains to effect tremendous blessings in our lives and the lives of others.
Introduction: There are many times in my life that I can remember when I have had the misfortune of “running on empty.” I am not one of those people who always keep the gas tank full…I put gas in my car and I drive until the needle gets dangerously close to E – then I put some in again. Many times I’ve found myself praying that I would see a gas station. One time I (years ago) I actually ran out. Luckily for me and the peolple traveling with me, it was just about a hundred yards away from a gas station. How about you? Have you ever run on empty? (Someone said when it’s E – it stands for enough!) have you ever been in a situation where there was “nothing in the house?”
In this account we read about a woman who was running on empty…there was nothing in her house! She had no husband – he had only recently died; she had no income; no food; no prospects…in short she had nothing!
Her husband, one of the “sons of the prophets” - a primitive Bible School class - had passed on leaving her with nothing. He was a faithful servant of God but like so many pastors, he did not have the time or the resources to establish anything for his family.
1.“Your servant my husband is dead…” Verse 1
A.Her husband represented her hope
- Now she had none
- The creditors were knocking on her door
- In those days women did not go out and work
B.Poverty has the potential to enslave use
- “The creditor is coming to take my two sons to be slaves.”
- Much of the world’s problems can be traced to poverty.
- When people are dirt poor they will do anything to survive
C.Poverty has the potential to drive people to desperation
- Desperation is a two pronged road
- People can either of two things…
- They can do things that they will later regret
- Or the can go to a place where they can get help
APPLICATION: This woman was at the end of her rope but in her desperation she cried out to someone who could possibly help her.
She cried out to the prophet – the man who represented the voice of God
2.“What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” Verse 2
A.She had to make known her requests
- There is no guessing game played here
- God expects us to articulate what our needs are
- We must be able to show that we have a need
- “You do not have because you do not ask.” James 4:2
- Or you do not receive because “you ask amiss.” James 4:3
- “In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be known unto God.” Philippians 4:6
- Jesus always stretched people to say what they wanted Him to do
B.An act of “bona fides” – good faith was also necessary
- “Tell me, what do you have n the house?”
- The prophet was asking for something that would trigger her blessing.
- Sometimes we need to plant a seed
- God does not need anything from you but your act of “good faith” demonstrates that you are willing to make a sacrifice
C.God does not create something out of nothing (not that He can’t).
- He did this was at creation but now He will use available resources
- Every miracle received; every blessing attained comes through something that we bring
- Think loaves and fishes - the boy had his lunch
- Think miraculous draught of fishes – the fishes were in the sea
-Think water turned into wine
APPLICATION: God expects you to bring something that demonstrates your faith.
He expects something that commensurate with the blessing you seek
People need a financial blessing but they are reluctant to give or to tithe!
God will use what you have to initiate a bigger thing in your life.
3.“Your maid servant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.” Verse 2b
A.Nothing but a jar of oil!
- The woman’s perception of nothing
- No one is ever really down and out
- Nothing but a jar of oil – everything n the eyes of God
- It is all that God needs to work a miracle in her life
B.God will use our “perceived nothingness” to bring about great things
- Our “perceived nothingness” is a place of emptiness
- It is exactly where God wants us at times
- God delights in emptiness because He is a God who wants to fill us up with good things
C.Emptiness can be a gift from God