Nothing Except A Jar Of Olive Oil
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.”
Just this week I was reading in 2nd Kings chapter 4, about Elisha and a poor widow. The widow had come to the end of her resources. She and her sons were left alone after her husband’s death. When creditors came knocking at her door to collect the money for the debt that her husband had made, I am sure that she was afraid that her sons would have to become slaves to work off the debt.
You see, her sons could be taken as slaves in order to work off her husband’s debt, if she could not pay back the money that he had borrowed. Typically, if slaves were taken for the purpose of working off a debt, they would have to work for six years and they would be released in the seventh year. I am sure the thought of this was very frightening to her, because if this happened, she would then be left totally alone.
In her moment of distress, she went to Elisha and explained to him her plight. He immediately asked her what do you have in your house? Her response to his question was nothing except olive oil. What I love about this story are the two words “nothing except”.
You see God can do miraculous things with our “nothing except”. He can do for us what He did for the widow. He can multiply our “nothing except”.
Elisha told her to go to her friends and neighbors and borrow as many empty jars as she could. When she returned, He told her to close the door, and pour the oil into the containers until all of them were full. Then he told her to take the jars of oil and sell them.
Look at God! What I love about God is that He does impossible math. He performs the supernatural on our behalf. He doesn’t just bless us with what we need, He supersedes our expectations and blesses us bountifully. He also blesses us so creatively that only He can get the glory for the blessing.
Because of the widow’s obedience, she was able to pay off her husband’s debt and she still had money for her and her sons to live on. Suppose she had doubted what Elisha was asking her to do, because it didn’t seem possible that this would generate enough income to pay off the debt, much less to live on afterwards. She clearly would have missed seeing the power of God at work on her behalf. In God’s hands “our nothing except” is more than enough.
Always remember that our job is simply to trust and obey His directions and He will do the miraculous, the supernatural, the impossible and the incredible on our behalf. Our disaster is always God’s opportunity, so if you are in a hard place right now be encouraged, you are about to see things that you didn’t think were possible.
22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.Deuteronomy 10:18
18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
1 Timothy 5:5
5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.