Faith of Elisha V. [The “Oil” Incident]


2KINGS 4:1-7 NKJV

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.”

Do you feel overwhelmed with too many responsibilities and challenges facing you at every turn? Do you feel like you’ve run out of options and you’re doing life on empty? That is likely what the wife of the prophet that died in 2 Kings 4:1-7 felt. With her husband’s death, she was in desperate financial trouble and was in fear of losing everything she had–including her boys–to creditors. She asked Elisha for help. When he asked her what she had to work with she told him that she had nothing at all to work with except a small jar of oil. Maybe you can relate to the widow in that when you don’t think you have enough, you feel desperation and focus solely on your limitations. God sees your problem much differently from the way you do.

All throughout scripture we see examples of how God specializes in doing a lot with a little and this story is another prime example. The world may see this as illogical or ridiculous, but God doesn’t. God took one jar of oil and multiplied it so the widow could pay her debts. During those times when you feel overwhelmed and you’ve run out of options, remember that what you have is all God needs. God has given you everything you need. Where in life do you feel overwhelmed and feel like you have nothing left? What are some of the things you do have that could help you in changing your focus?

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