Elisha is approached by a widow woman in crisis. Her husband has died, and she is being called upon to pay her debt. She has nothing with which to pay it, so according to Mosaic Law, her sons will be taken as indentured servants until the debt is paid for.
This widow woman came to Elisha specifically–because of two very important reasons: 1. She knew Elisha would care enough to help, and 2. Because she knew Elisha, as a man of God, could help.
Are you known as someone who cares for others? Before you answer yes, ask yourself how often people bring their needs to you. If it is unusual for others to come to you with needs, it is likely that they consider it unusual for you to care for their needs.
Are you known as someone who can help meet needs? Again, before you answer yes, ask yourself how often the same people bring different needs to you. If they ask you for help, because they know you care, but you are unable to help them, they will not likely return. Your ability to help does not rest in you, but in your ability to direct others to the Lord–the One who is able to meet needs “exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.”
There is much to be gleaned from these few opening words of this amazing passage.
Elisha asks this widow woman what she has in her possession. The widow responds saying all she has is a small pot of oil. This word for pot is an unusual word that in the original language denotes a small flask–for the purpose of anointing. This is all that she has. Elisha, through the inspiration of the Lord, tells her this is all that she needs.
He tells her to do something unusual. Something difficult. Something awkward. He tells her to go to all of her neighbors and ask to borrow vessels. Any and all containers that would hold liquid. And he tells her to borrow a lot. In his words, “not a few.” Would this not generate questions from the neighbors? Surely they could see her going from one house to another, carrying back as many containers as she could find, putting them in her house, then returning for more. Surely they had questions. Questions for which this widow woman would have had a difficult time answering.
Elisha tells her to gather these containers with her sons inside her house, and close all the doors. Then they were to fill all these vessels, with her small flask of oil. This must have seemed laughable! Why go to all this work, for such a futile exercise! The contents of that small flask would not fill one container! Let alone all the others she went to all the effort of gathering!
This is a test of her faith and obedience. God could have easily met her needs any number of ways. He chose this method to teach her faith. Nothing is too difficult for God! Do you believe it? Are you willing to act on it? How far are you willing to trust God? Most of us are willing to trust until it costs us something.
This widow was willing to act on her faith even if it seemed silly before her neighbors, and futile to her sons. Her faith was great, and God’s provision was abundant! She had not only enough to pay her current debt, but also enough to live on for the future!
God meets needs. Do you believe it? Do you trust Him? Even when it costs you something? Faith in God is never misplaced.