A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.” 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 4:1-2
A cursory glance at this woman’s situation and it would be obvious that she has no way out of her current troubles. At least that’s the way it would seem. Her late husband was personally known to Elisha the prophet and had a good testimony as being a God-fearing man. Still, that didn’t stop the creditor from coming after her to take away everything she had. Even her children. But as it is with every situation in life, it’s not over until God says it’s over.
What can be done when there is nothing that can be done? Where do you turn when it seems as if that which is precious to you is being taken away? This woman cried out to Elisha and laid her situation out before him. Elisha does not even consider whether or not the Lord is able to help this woman and her children for there is no doubt about that. He does not question whether or not the Lord will help her. It’s not a matter of if, but only a matter of how and when. God is going to come through and Elisha is sure of that!
Thus, he asks a question of her to which he is not expecting an answer, it’s more like he is wondering out loud just what the Lord is about to do. “What shall I do for you?” In other words, God can and will take care of you, for He will never leave you nor forsake you. Your situation is not hidden from Him. He heard your cry and is about to deliver you. That which you thought was lost to you will be restored and then some.
He begins the next question with these important words, “Tell me”. She needs to be a part of this miraculous provision and it starts with her confession. It gets off to a slow start, “your maidservant has nothing in the house” but that’s not the end. That is where she had been up to this point. Seeing nothing in her life or in her house that could make a difference. You can hear in her words that she did not see beyond what could be seen. But God has called His children to walk by faith and not by sight!
Finally, we get to it, “nothing in the house but a jar of oil”. What had before seen so insignificant and insufficient became more than enough. After all, she just had a jar of oil and how could that help her when she was in such dire straits? She learned a lesson that can serve you well all the days of your life — the Lord can take a little and turn it into more than enough and when you feel as if there is no way out, the Lord will always bring you through. Remember that it will usually not be in the way that you expect though!
The Lord could have provided for that woman in any way He chose. He could have given Elisha the money to pay her debts and take care of her children. He could have changed the heart of her creditor and had him forgive the debt. Instead, He taught her that she already had what she needed. What do you have in the house?
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