Monday, August 1, 2011
More than a jar
Here we find the story of the widow and the oil. Now, this woman, again her name is not mentioned, is facing a dilema no one should have to face, but in our world, we must face trials and sometimes we are lost at what to do. So we find ourselves then crying out to God. Perhaps for the very first time.
This woman is widowed and she is left with a debt to pay. Can you imagine selling your children, in this case two sons, into slavery to pay your debt? She is literally left with nothing of material gain, but she has something far greater. Faith!
"A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, 'Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.'" 2 Kings 4:1
Can you see the fear on her face? Can you imagine the pain in her voice? A mother that loves her sons is now having to face giving them up for a debt she cannot pay. We now hear the conversation between the widow and Elisha.
"So Elisha said to her, 'What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?' and she said, 'Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.' Then he said, 'Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors-empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.'" 2 Kings 4:2-4
Now, I read this scripture over and over again and had an "aha" moment. Elisha is telling her to go and borrow vessels. EMPTY ONES. This is important. God wants us to be empty vessels so He can fill us and keep refilling us day after day! He even told her not to just gather a few. So, he wants her to gather as many as she can. Then it's as though she is shutting the door behind them on all their fears of yesterday.
"So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, 'Bring me another vessel.' And he said to her, 'There is not another vessel.' So the oil ceased. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, 'Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.'" 2 Kings 4:5-7
What a picture of obedience and faith. Every jar was filled. Not only was the debt paid in full, they had enough left over to live on. Can you see the goodness of God in this picture? He paid our debt. Not in part, but fully paid our debt. We owe no more because of the gift He gave. Through that gift are debt is not only cancelled out, but we can live forevermore in abundant joy! Can you see the peace wash over this family? God provides!! We never have to fear and live with doubt. We can be sure that when we live in faith and surrender ALL to God, He will provide every need.
But there is more to this story. As I read and studied this scripture, there too is the story of Elijah and the widow! Coinsidence? I don't think so. In 1 Kings 17:8-16 we again witness a story of great and mighty faith from a widow. Now in this story we find the widow and her son with only enough food for one more meal. Have you been there too? There is nothing in the fridge and your checkbook statement tells you the account is empty, but there in our greatest time of need, God shows Himself and provides once again.
Here in this story with Elijah, he goes to the widow's home and asks her to fix him a meal. I can see the expression upon her face. I would be asking, "So, you want me to make you a meal when my son is hungry?" Lets read.
"And Elijah said to her, 'Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel; 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.'" 1 Kings 17:12-14
When we give God our first fruits He will bless us for our faith. Even when things are tough. Even when we don't know what the week will bring, when we tithe our first fruits to the Lord, He will meet our every need! When we place God before all we are on the receiving end of His mighty mercy and grace. Don't you love that? God has met our needs and we have never gone without our needs. This is important. God meets our needs. He doesn't always meet our every want. But He has a way of blessing us with much more than we ever expected.
We find this widow obeying and from her obedience we see her faith renewed. Each and every morning as she went to that flour bin it was never empty and her jar of oil never ran dry. God supplies! It shows us just what God can do with a little. We see story after story of how He provided for those who loved Him. You might be sitting here today fighting worry over your circumstances. There is no circumstance too big for God. He is not without knowledge of our every need. I have been in awe of His greatness over these past three years of how He continued to provide. Today my husband has a wonderful job and he is actually making more money than the previous job he was laid off from. God has a way of working everything for the good of those who love Him. Just seeing Him provide for us in our hardest times only increases our faith and brings us closer to Him.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19