Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Instructions From the Prophet's Widow's Deathbed

There is a story in 2 Kings often preached or taught as an indicator of God's faithfulness and provision. It's popular among prosperity preachers. Yet, if we look into the depth of the story we find a prophetic lesson that warns us not to despise prophecy. Many are in want because they did not heed carefully the prophetic word given them. Here's the story from the NIV...

The Widow’s Olive Oil
2 Kings 4 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
She was the widow of a prophet. One who had worked with or under Elisha. He had seen and experienced many great works. Elisha did twice as many mighty works as had his predecessor, Elijah. Her husband must have many times told her and her sons of the great things he had seen and probably done.

Her reaching out to Elisha for help wasn't wrong...but it was late. The creditors were already at the door to take the boys to jail. There were other prophets in the School I am sure. Had she already appealed to them? OR was she looking to just to to the "Big Guy". (IF I could just have Benny Hinn lay hands on me I would be healed).

Elisha isn't put off, but he is puzzled. HOW can I help you? She was in her question looking for money, (or magic). She came to the right place and he asked the right question. What do you have? He was looking for a point at which to pivot her faith. She was going to be asked to take what she had and release her faith to accomplish much with it. Her report was, I HAVE NOTHING.......but. She had something, but considered it nothing.

She is desperate, but her mental condition belies spirit of poverty she was trapped in. To her nothing included a small bottle of oil.

Then the prophet gives her a word of instruction. Find every container you can. Scour the neighborhood. Find every thing that can hold oil. See your neighbors and get what you can. The easy part was the containers they already had in the house. The harder part was begging help from the neighbors. But they did. I don't know how hard they looked, how many they found, but at some point they said to themselves...that's enough. The room had a lot of oil buckets in it.

God was as good as the prophet's word. They poured out the oil until the response to bring another container was... “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. I can't imagine what heartbreak there was at that moment of revelation. If we had worked harder to find more jars, we'd have more oil.

When the prophet returned to see how they did, he saw several full containers of oil, but if I read between the lines...he was a little disappointed. They had been given a chance to enter into prosperity they never could have believed for on their own. IF they had known how this was going to work out in advance (the Prophet told them, but they really didn't believe the word in full) they would not have shut the door to start pouring until the room was packed full, stacked up, every corner occupied with empty vessels until you couldn't walk.

They had enough to pay off the creditor and enough to live... but they didn't have enough to share, to give, to prosper.

When we share this story, we must share it with the widow's thoughts as she lay on her deathbed.... "If we only had believed the prophet, we'd have had more oil".

Today, many receive a word from the Lord and partially believe it...but because they doubt, they only halfheartedly gather enough vessels to receive what the Lord wants to provide.

Without Faith it is Impossible to please God. Faith without works is dead.

Partial works from partial faith releases partial blessings.

God had so much more for her. The only limiting factor was her faith.

Many people proclaim that they have great faith, but their actions declare the faith level they are activated in.

Have the FAITH OF GOD! There is no limit there.


Fallout said...

“Have the FAITH OF GOD! “

Re: Mark 11:22--- Some translations read, “Have faith in God” others say, “Have faith of God.”

Years ago I watched Dr. Gene Scott teach on this subject...as only he could. From memory he wrote on a caulk board this verse (and others) in several languages that were from the oldest manuscripts and then translated them. He concluded that the correct translation should be, “ Have the faith of God.”

Gene said...

I LOVED to listen to Gene Scott. You are a true compatriot. I agree with your appraisal. Miss o'l Gene, Pyramids and Cigars and all.....