Summary: Mother’s Day Message 2002

Striking Oil

2 Kings 4:1-7

May 12, 2002 – Mother’s Day


No one deserves a special day all to herself more than today’s Mom. A cartoon showed a psychologist talking to his patient: "Let’s see," he said, "You spend 50 percent of your energy on your job, 50 percent on your husband and 50 percent on your children. I think I see your problem."

If there was ever a group of people that deserves a special day, it would have to be mothers. Mothers are a special group who have to look at every situation with a wisdom and compassion.

This is reflected by literature and philosophers.

A Spanish proverb says: An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy

Abraham Lincoln said: No one is poor who has a godly mother

A Jewish proverb may say it best: A child without a mother is like a door without a knob

This morning I want to take a few minutes to look at the life of an unknown mother who models for us all how to live through difficulties and maintain our faith.

1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves." 2 Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?" "Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil." 3 Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side." 5 She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one." But he replied, "There is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left."


I. A Struggle Started

A. The difficulty

1. The woman lost her husband

a.) This seems to be a sudden loss. It also is a costly loss because the woman has clearly lost her only means of support

b.) The woman’s husband was “of the company of the prophets.” This can mean one of two things:

1.) This man had been a minister with the prophets

2.) The man had been a servant with the prophets

3.) Either way there was a close relationship between the man and the prophets

2. The implications of the loss

a.) The woman had lost all ability to have any type of income. Women were not permitted to take jobs and earn money; at least not enough to support a family

b.) The woman was now in a desperate situation. There was nothing left and no means to earn income.

B. The dilemma

1. The woman was going to lose her sons

a.) To make matters worse, this woman had some type of debt that she could not pay

b.) The creditor was going to foreclose the loan. This meant that both of her sons were going to be sold into slavery to pay the debt

2. The implications of the loss

a.) The woman was about to lose her entire family. Her husband had just died, leaving her with nothing and now she was being foreclosed.

b.) If the woman lost her sons, she would be completely ruined. She would have no family and no future. Her future support would come from her sons

II. A Solution Suggested

A. The attitude

1. Elisha reveals his compassion

a.) Elisha shows his concern by asking two key questions

1.) How can I help you?

2.) What do you have in your house?

b.) Elisha reveals his care

2. The woman reveals her attitude

a.) Remember, all that she is going through

b.) The woman could have easily given up but she didn’t. She tells of her only possession of value – a little oil

1.) This was not cooking oil or lamp oil but rather it was anointing oil. It was very valuable.

2.) This was oil used either for her husband’s burial or in her husband’s work

3.) The key is that there was very little left

B. The answer

1. Elisha tells her to gather jars

a.) Elisha tells the woman to go to her neighbors and ask to borrow some empty jars. Basically, he tells her to go to everyone she knows and ask them to borrow a jar.

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