The Widow’s Oil

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In II Kings the 4th chapter, one of the Old Testament books of our Bible, there’s a story of a woman whose husband died leaving her and her two children unable to provide for themselves or pay their debts. Under the governing system of that time and place the woman knew her children would be taken for slaves if she could not find the money to get out of debt.

Recognizing her problem the woman went to God’s prophet, Elisha, and asked him for help. Elisha first asked her what resources she had available and then told her what to do so that her meager resources, one jar of olive oil, would be used by God to remedy her problem. Elisha gave her some specific instructions (you can read the story to see what they were) which she followed to the letter. After she had done exactly what God told her through his prophet, she was able to pay off her debts and support herself and her children. God gave her a way of multiplying her resources that she need not fear either starvation or slavery.

In the same way that God took care of her needs he can help us deal with our problems. We especially have to be concerned with slavery to sin and providing for our spiritual, eternal nature. Just like the widow in the Old Testament story we are unable to provide for ourselves and are in imminent danger of losing all that we have in payment of our great debt, a debt of sin. Again, just like the woman in the story, the first step toward dealing with our great need is recognizing the problem we have and then seeking out the source of help, God himself.

God’s words and instructions for us are even more readily accessible than the prophet Elisha was to the widow. The Bible, God’s written word and instructions for our lives, is readily available to us anytime we need to seek guidance from God. The directions it contains for dealing with our problems are thoroughly reliable and completely effective. However, we can’t expect to experience real results unless we can learn to have the faith the widow had which led her to follow God’s instructions to the letter.

God has the answers to all our needs, but we don’t derive any benefit from those answers until we take the time to learn what they are, and then let God have his way.

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