[Elisha and the Widow’s Oil – 2 Kings 4:1-7]
Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” (ESV)
- Lost her husband
- Was about to lose her kids into slavery (see Leviticus 25:39-41)
- Would then have no one to work the family land which would leave her deeper in debt
Humility – go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors
Faith – empty vessels and not too few
Solitude – then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons
I HAVE NOTHING … NOTHING EXCEPT A JAR OF OIL
God of the impossible – Luke 18:27
- Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” [NIV]
- “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” [MSG]
See beyond the nothing… except a jar of oil
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. – Ephesians 3:20 [MSG]
1) The woman who approached Elisha was the wife of one of the sons “of the prophets.” This is similar to a disciple. The students were known as the “sons” and the instructor would be called “father.”
When the woman asked Elisha for help, what was Elisha’s response?
2) Considering this interaction between Elisha and the widow:
How do you respond when someone approaches you with a need?
How do you respond when you have your own need?
What could you do differently?
3) In tonight’s passage, we read about many different problems this widow had to overcome. Not only did she have to overcome the loss of her husband and potential loss of her children and her income stability, she had some inner obstacles to overcome.
What were some of those obstacles?
How did Elisha direct the widow through those obstacles?
4) What obstacles are you facing?