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.” Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” (2nd Kings 4:1-2 NIV.)
Have you ever thought about what you would do if you lost your job and could not find another one, and your bills were past due? Perhaps you have a nest egg put away. If so, how long will it last? What would you do if you could not pay your bills?
As you read the brief overview of the widow’s misfortune, keep in mind that she inherited the debt left by her late husband. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any means of support, but the creditor wanted an immediate resolution.
Read on and discover the secret to her success…
The Widow’s Olive Oil
The writer didn’t give us a name to associate this woman with; we only know that she had two sons, a bit of oil, and a debt to pay. Her husband’s creditor held her responsible for paying the bill.
However, a Mosiac Law was established for people with no means of financial support. The common practice at the time was to allow a debtor’s children to become bondservants to the creditor until the debt was paid in full; (Lev. 25:39-41).
So, the widow sought after the Prophet Elisha and cried out for his help. By the spirit of prophecy, Elisha instructed her to go and borrow empty vessels from her neighbors, foreseeing that a large quantity of oil would be given to her.
“Oil was a precious commodity in international trade during these times. It was also used as a religious offering; (Lev. 2:4). People spent a lot of money purchasing oil.”
Although she had a small amount of olive oil in a flask, she decided to follow the Prophet’s instructions, and in doing so, the oil began to flow. Stepping out in faith, she went to her neighbors and collected all of the empty vessels that they willingly gave her. Then, she filled the empty vessels and started selling the oil.
As she kept filling the jars, she realized that the more she poured, the more the oil flowed. Finally, the vessels gave out more than they could hold. Over and over again she filled the jars with oil, and instead of running out of oil the containers ran out. She earned enough money to pay her husband’s creditors, and her sons were not subjected to involuntary servitude.
Treasures in Earthen Vessels
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves”; (2nd Cor. 4:7 AMSB).
In the widow’s account, we see an outward appearance of the Holy Spirit represented by the oil. Though she had a small amount of oil the widow obeyed the Prophet’s command. By faith, she went to her neighbors believing for empty vessels to pour oil into. The empty vessels that were given to her represent those who are in need of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit; (Acts 2:15-17, 38; Joel 2:28).
For the Christian, the Holy Spirit dwells on the inside of our bodies. Spiritually our bodies are seen as temples that house the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the power of God. He works through us and gives us the power to achieve things that ordinarily we’re unable to accomplish.
Nothing given from the Holy Spirit lacks, nor is deficient in any way. This is represented by the increase in the amount of oil the widow was able to pour into the empty vessels. She was able to meet her demand, pay her debt, and best of all, the oil didn’t run out.
The miracle of the continuous pouring of the oil exists only in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. He empowers us to carry out God’s will and purpose for our lives. When we place our faith and trust in God and obey His commands, we can accomplish extraordinary feats that we could never imagine accomplishing without Him.
As the Prophet Elisha asked the widow, I ask, “What do you have in your house?” By sharing the Gospel message, the oil is still being poured out from us to other vessels which are in need of a miracle.
Blessing to you, my friends!