One of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant, my husband, has died. You know that your servant feared the Lord. Now the creditor is coming to take my two children as his slaves.”
Elisha asked her, “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
She said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”
Then he said, “Go out and borrow empty containers from all your neighbors. Do not get just a few. Then go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour oil into all these containers. Set the full ones to one side.” So she left.
After she had shut the door behind her and her sons, they kept bringing her containers, and she kept pouring. When they were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.”
But he replied, “There aren’t any more.” Then the oil stopped.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debt; you and your sons can live on the rest.”2 Kings 4:1-7
In spite of the times when Elisha may have given into the darker side of his personality, the majority of the miracles performed in Elisha’s life were done for positive Kingdom purposes. 2 Kings 4 contains many prime examples of the good ways that Elisha used the power that God gave him. The opening story of this chapter shows how God used Elisha to demonstrate His compassion for a widow and her sons in a time of great need.
The situation appears to be dire. The woman’s husband had recently passed away, apparently with some debts yet unpaid. In this culture, this woman was in a very vulnerable position. The creditor was coming to take her two sons as slaves in payment of the debt. Without her husband or her sons, this woman would have no one to provide for her. So she needed God’s intervention to help her in this time of crisis.
God took the little she had available, a single jar of oil, and gave her a way to multiply that to help her pay off the debt. At Elisha’s instruction, she collected as many empty containers from her neighbors as she could. She then poured that single jar of oil into these containers. The oil did not dry up until there were no more containers left to fill. Elisha then told her to sell the oil and pay off the debt.
If we are open to His work, God may give us opportunities to bless others in the time of crisis too. It may not be as miraculous as multiplying an endless supply of oil. Still, there are ways God has gifted us to bring relief to those in the midst of crisis.
- In what ways may God be calling you to help someone else in a time of crisis?