Monday, February 2, 2015

Provision - Elisha and the Widow's Oil - Lesson 1

I have been doing some study on one of my favorite topics generosity and the provision of a loving God. I was reminded of the story back in 2 Kings 4:1-7. The story is about Elisha and the widow's oil.

It says...

2 Kings 4:1-7

Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves." And Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me; what you have in the house?"  And she said, "Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil." Then he said, "Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few.  Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside."

So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured she brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel." And he said to her, "There is not another." The the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest."

Wow what an amazing story of the provision of God. But it is also full of Biblical financial principles. Here is what I see and the Biblical principles:

  1. A widow was in distress because of a debt and reached out to the church for help. She does not have any close family and so she comes to Elisha in the role of kinsman redeemer.
  2. Her husband was a Godly man "one of the sons of the prophets" part of Elisha's ministry team.
  3. The young couple had gotten into debt, perhaps student loans or a home loan. The seriousness of debt hits home, the children are to be sold to work off the debt.
  4. The young husband did not have adequate life insurance to care for his young family.
  5. Elisha asks the widow to identify her need and what resources she has inside the house.
  6. Elisha asks the widow to go outside for part of the solution and get some containers. The provision will come in proportion to how many vessels she gets. She is responsible for this.
  7. A miracle happens in her family and God supplies the need.
  8. The debt is the number one priority. She sells the oil on Craigslist and pays the creditors.
  9. The creditors are not portrayed as evil or having taken advantage of this family. They are morally neutral and operating within the law and cultural norms.
  10. Not only is the debt paid but she now has money to live on too. God wasn't mad at her, He loved her so much he redeemed her future.
Let's explore these in future lessons.

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