Monday, 11 March 2013

Matriarchs on a Monday - Another Widow with oil

A simple lesson, but such an important one today.  I think it's a truth that we can so easily forget, in a society where we tend to think that we provide for our own needs.

Today, we learn again about a widow. This lady had been married to one of the "sons of the prophets",
and he had died.  When he died, he left them with some sort of debt, owing to creditors. As she apparently had nothing to pay off the debt WITH, they were going to come and take her two sons away, as payment of the debt!

She came to Elisha, pleading for help.  He asked her what she had in her house.

A pot of oil.

That's all.

A single pot of oil.

Are you seeing any similarities here?

Another widow woman, another pot of oil.

Before anything else, something precious springs out here.  Did you know that in the scriptures, oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit?  No matter how dire things are, no matter how destitute we are, we will always have the precious presence of the Holy Spirit!  That is something we can NEVER lose, despite our circumstances.  What a blessed joy!  We have Him to cheer us and comfort us, no matter what.

This time, it's not an ongoing need, such as was provided for both the Widow, her son and Elijah, in the lesson from our last matriarch. This time, it's a one-off need, of huge proportions.  Humanly speaking, she has no idea what to do.

Thankfully, Elisha is a man of God, which she knew, and she had faith that he would know what to do.

He told her to get every pot she could get from her neighbours, and bring them back to her house.  She must have wondered what on earth he was going to do.  What use are pots, when you don't have anything to put IN them?

However, collect pots she did.  She went round to all her neighbours, and borrowed every last pot she possibly could.

In my mind, there are visions of middle-eastern looking pots, stacked all around their simple home - covering tables, chairs and the floor.


Ready for Elisha's instruction.

Then came the miracle.

She was to pour the oil into the vessels, until they were filled up.

Now, if this had been you or me, would we have scorned the instruction, or had the faith to follow?  There was not much oil left.  How could it possibly fill ALL of those pots she had borrowed?  But, she did as she was instructed.  She shut their front door, and got started, in obedience to her instructions.

Take note.

Something struck me upon reading this again.  Something that shows a true follower of God's Words, because this was what she was.  A follower of GOD'S Word.

She filled the pots RIGHT UP TO THE TOP.

If she had lacked faith, she may have just poured until they were NEARLY full.  Not wanting to expect such an immense blessing.  Not presuming a super-abundance of supply.  But, no.  She filled them up to the top.

Such faith.

Such trust.

Such assurance that her need would be met.

Once all the pots were filled, the oil stopped.  There was no more.  Her need was fulfilled perfectly.  Not a drop more.  Not a drop less.

She then went out and sold the oil, in order to pay her debts.

What an incredible experience.  To have your needs met so perfectly.  So miraculously.  So wonderfully.

We read such an account and wonder at the miracles that God performed in times past.  Of the provisions for His people that we read of in the Bible.

Ah!  But that is not the end of it.  It's not just a story.  It's not just a picture.  It's not just "nice".  It's truth.  It's real TODAY.  Nothing has changed.

We still have needs.  Not just the day to day needs, such as food and water.  But we have bigger needs,  that we still seek provision of.  God still provides.  God is still our ONLY provider, because all that we have comes from Him.  He still provides miraculously  perfectly and wonderfully for us.  We still have those pressing needs met, in often awesome ways.  It may not involve oil that doesn't run out, but it may be an anonymous money gift for the right amount at the perfect time.  Perhaps it's someone giving us an item we desperately needed, without us even mentioning the need.  Maybe it's generosity from an unexpected person or source.  Many ways, many needs.

Do you see, though?  There's an important element in this story.

There was faith.  Faith that Elisha would know what to do, because she knew that He was God's servant.  She had faith in God to provide.

However, there was also works.  There was something she had to do.  She had to go and collect all the pots, and then fill them up.  Faith involves doing.  Faith without works is dead.

We need to step out, trusting in God's ability to provide, knowing that our needs will be met.  Doing all that we should be doing, in order to be responsible with what we already have.  Had she wasted that last drop of oil, or not filled the pots right up, or not gone and got so many pots, she may not have been provided for to the same extent.  God sees and rewards our faith when it is accompanied by the doing.

Look through Hebrews 11.  By faith, they all "did" something.

Do you have a need?  Do you have something that you need God to supply?  Believe that God can and will do it, and make sure that your life demonstrates faith in action and a responsibility with what God has already given you.

How wonderful that we trust in a God who loves us and cares for us, and who provides for us in the little ways as well as the big ways.


  1. Thank you for this today Caroline. A word I needed to hear, now I'm going to go and do what I know needs to be done today, in faith, expecting my needs to be supplied. x

  2. God is good, and He answers prayer. x