Read 2 Kings 4:1-7. I shared this as part of my message on Ash Wednesday.
There are times when it seems God takes His time in answering our prayers. Other times, He uses natural means – doctors or investments, for example – to take care of us. Sometimes we get in the attitude where we no longer expect God to move “suddenly”, and we wonder if God will move that way when we need it.
The widow in this story needed a “suddenly” – the creditors were coming to take her sons away and sell them as slaves. She went to Elisha (a prophet that had previously trained her husband for ministry) for assistance, because she knew Elisha could hear from God.
Elisha asked what assets she had – just a jar of olive oil. He told her to borrow all the containers she could from friends and neighbors and fill each one with oil from the jar. I can imagine her trying to figure out “my little jar of oil can’t fill all these containers, but if Elisha said to do it, he must have a reason”. Or perhaps she was expecting a miracle because she’d seen Elisha and other prophets do so many others.
Picture her trying to pour a quart of oil into an 8 quart cooking pot, and the oil doesn’t run out. So she got a 5 gallon water jug and start pouring, and it fills up too. Same for the 30 gallon water purification pot, the sauce pans, the tea kettle, and all of the other containers she gathered. The oil didn’t stop until she ran out of containers to put it in. I imagine there were so many containers full of oil that it was difficult to walk through the house.
I wonder why Elisha didn’t tell her to sell the oil in the first place, since she went back and ask him what to do with all this oil. He told her to sell the oil, pay off the debts, and live on the rest.
Do you need a “suddenly” ? Do you believe God can do one for you?