“Do you know why the woman with the jar of oil was asked by Elisha to borrow vessels from her neighbours” I heard the Holy Spirit ask this question in my spirit one evening…… “It was because she needed capacity! God can only fill you when there is capacity. Capacity allows you to be in a position to receive what is about to be poured out from on high. That, in a way is what suffering and difficulty does, it creates capacity in us.
I was intrigued, I had never heard of the story of the widow with the jar of oil along those lines. The story is found in 2 Kings 4:1-7.
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.” 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 your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.” 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.”
As I read, the Holy Spirit began to show me more. The widow told the prophet, You, yourself knew my husband feared the Lord and now the creditor is coming to take my sons as repayment for his loans. “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” asks Elijah. The Amplified Bible records the Elisha’s question this way “Tell me, what do you have [of value] in the house?”
This is to reassure us that there are treasures in our houses. This widow was in debt, she didn’t think that she had anything of value, anything capable of making a difference in her situation. “I have nothing in the house except a small jar of oil” she replied. Oh, that we would recognise that thing of value we all have. My prayer here, is that the Lord would help me see the treasure in my own home. I hope that becomes your prayer too.
Her husband being dead, his absence had left her without provision. Perhaps she sought to make ends meet the only way she knew how, a little borrowed with her husband’s good name to tide them over. Before long they were in debt. Her circumstances going from bad to worse. From the loss of breadwinner to the potential loss of her sons – her future and her security. A widow’s lot was grim in those days, a widow without sons, that was even worse! The reality of that, caused her to use the first thing of value she had but didn’t recognise – her voice! Your voice has incredible value, what are you using yours for? Are you using your voice to kickstart a change for those around you?
She cried out to the Elisha, the man of God. There was no question that this son of the prophets (meaning someone who was in a guild or community of prophets) was a devout man. Elisha did not argue with the wife’s estimation of her husband’s service yet his piety did not leave provision for his family after his demise! There is a lesson to be taken here – that even when serving the Lord, we should not neglect our duty of providing for our families. Men should not and in today’s world of women working outside the home, we should not either.
When her circumstances get really unbearable, she does at last what she should have done at first – cry out unto God. We too often make prayer a last resort. She uses her voice to cry out to the representative of God on earth in those days – a prophet. We have been given a name that is above all names; the name of Jesus. We can call upon him anytime and need not wait until we are at our wits end.
When the widow, tells Elisha what she has in her house, he tells her, Go borrow vessels, not a few from your neighbours. Let’s back up a bit in this text; here is a woman who is heavily indebted, about to lose her sons because of that debt. She cries out for help, (if you know your mother tongue, imagine her cry being uttered in your mother tongue! Now, you can really feel her anguish.)
To be continued …………….
Thanks for reading