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.”
2 Kings 4:2
Have you ever been in a situation that has caused you to be in a state of pure panic? Maybe you unexpectedly lost your job or have incurred a debt as a result of an unanticipated illness. Perhaps you’re a student who miscalculated your college expenses and got a bill you didn’t expect. We’ve all had that moment when we panicked because in our adverse circumstances, we forgot that we serve a miracle-working, “shows-up-when-you-need-Him” God.
There is the story of a widow whose husband died suddenly. He was a prophet’s disciple and left his family in debt when he passed. Creditors were threatening to take the widow’s sons to make them slaves because of this debt, and she went to the prophet Elisha for help. As you can see from 2 Kings 4:2 above, Elisha first asked, “What have you in your house?” And her initial response was to say “nothing.” How many of us, when confronted with an unanticipated situation, panic and immediately experience a crisis of faith because we believe we have “nothing?”
However, as soon as the widow said that she had nothing – as if it jumped into her mind – she remembered that she had some oil in the house. But it seems like this didn’t mean anything to her because she said, “except a jar of oil.” In my mind, I experienced this verse as though she was saying, “we have nothing of importance in the house. Just a jar of oil.” That word “just” can be a terrible word because it reveals a mindset that we undervalue who we are or what we possess. I don’t like it when my friends say it’s “just” me; as if their presence isn’t important. The fact that it’s you means all the world to me because I have no other you in my life. You are unique.
In the midst of the widow’s limited thinking, God shows up to reveal what he can do with “just” a jar of oil. Elisha instructs the woman to get as many vessels as she can and to pour oil from her jar into the vessels. He specifically tells her to get “empty vessels, do not gather just a few” (v. 3). This widow and her sons started pouring oil from her jar into all of the vessels borrowed from neighbors and God’s Word says that her jar continued to give oil until the family ran out of vessels. The widow was able to sell the oil and the money was enough for her to pay off her husband’s debt and to provide for her and her sons.
As you meditate on this lesson, ask yourself:
- Are you of the mindset that you have nothing? Even worse, have you been tempted to believe that you are nothing?
- What valuable object or gift do you have in your life that you think of as being “just a jar of oil’ when god can multiply that gift to bless you and your family?
- Read 2 Kings 4:1-7. Did you notice that the jar of oil only stopped producing because the widow had not secured more vessels? Are you limiting God’s abundance in your life by not having secured enough vessels?
Published on Jan 19 @ 3:51 AM EDT
Author: L.B. Cowman
“Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
When we have doubts or are facing difficulties, when others suggest courses of action that are conflicting, when caution dictates one approach but faith another, we should be still. We should quiet each intruding person, calm ourselves in the sacred stillness of God’s presence, study His Word for guidance, and with true devotion focus our attention on Him.
We should lift our nature into the pure light radiating from His face, having an eagerness to know only what God our Lord will determine for us. Soon God will reveal, by His secret counsel, a distinct and unmistakable sense of His direction. It is unwise for a new believer to depend on this approach alone. He should wait for circumstances to also confirm what God is revealing. Yet Christians who have had many experiences in their walk with Him know the great value of the secret counsel of the Lord as a means of discerning His will.
Are you uncertain about which direction you should go? Take your question to God and receive guidance from either the light of His smile or the cloud of His refusal. You must get alone with Him, where the lights and the darkness of this world cannot interfere and where the opinions of others cannot reach you. You must also have the courage to wait in silent expectation, even when everyone around you is insisting on an immediate decision or action. If you will do these things, the will of God will become clear to you. And you will have a deeper concept of who He is, having more insight into His nature and His heart of love. All this will be your unsurpassed gift. It will be a heavenly experience, a precious eternal privilege, and the rich reward for the long hours of waiting. DAVID
Keep still! When trouble is brewing, keep still! When slander is getting on its legs, keep still! When your feelings are hurt, keep still till you recover from your excitement at any rate! Things look different through an unagitated eye. In a commotion once I wrote a letter and sent it and wished I had not. In my later years I had another commotion and wrote another long letter; my life had rubbed a little sense into me, and I kept that letter in my pocket until I could look it over without agitation, and without tears, and I was glad I did—less and less it seemed necessary to send it. I was not sure it would do any harm, but in my doubtfulness, I learned reticence, and eventually it was destroyed. Time works wonders!
Wait till you can speak calmly and then perhaps you will not need to speak. Silence is the most powerful thing conceivable, sometimes. It is strength in its grandeur; it is like a regiment ordered to stand still in the mad fury of battle. To plunge in were twice as easy. Nothing is lost by learning to keep still. HANNAH WHITALL SMITH
I do not believe we have even begun to understand the wonderful power there is in being still. We are in such a hurry, always doing, that we are in danger of not allowing God the opportunity to work. You may be sure that God will never say to us, “Stand still,” “Sit still,” or “Be still,” unless He is going to do something. This is our problem regarding the Christian life: we want to do something to be Christians, instead of allowing Him to work in us. Think of how still you stand when your picture is being taken, as the photographer captures your likeness on film. God has one eternal purpose for us: that we should be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29 KJV). But in order for that to happen, we must stand still. We hear so much today about being active, but maybe we need to learn what it means to be quiet. Perhaps we simply need to learn to be still and watch God work out the details that challenged us so greatly and caused us so much distress. You will find that He works wonders if we can just still our hearts and sit before Him until He speaks.
Oh Lord, You know my heart better than I know it myself. You know my struggles and You hold each hope and fear in Your caring hands. Teach me, LORD, to be still and to know that You are God. I trust in You alone. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
An excerpt from the book: "Streams in the Desert: Morning and Evening"
Published on Jan 31 @ 12:46 AM EDT