Women of the Word: the Widow With the Oil


In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we read another story of a widow who exemplifies faith in God. The Bible tells us that she had been the wife of one of the sons of the prophets. Her husband had died, and now the widow was in debt. She had no money to pay her debt, and the creditor was coming to take away her two sons to be slaves. The widow tells her problem to Elisha.

Elisha asks her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”

The widow answers, “I have nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”

Elisha then tells her to do a strange thing. He says, “Go, borrow vessels from all your neighbors – empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all the vessels, and set aside the full ones.”

After the widow obeys Elisha, he says, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.” Here are two things the widow with the oil can teach us:

1. The widow with the oil obeyed in faith. She did what Elisha commanded her to do. She did not question the way in which he was helping her. The widow asked for many vessels in faith. The widow shut the door in faith. The widow poured out oil in faith until every empty jar was full.

When we are obedient to what God tells us to do, we demonstrate faith. God is especially pleased when we obey in faith without asking why. It is not necessary for us to see His big picture. Corrie ten Boom advises Christians to “just report for duty.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”

With God, faith is everything. He cannot work miracles for us if we don’t believe that He will.

2. The widow with the oil had to trust God for herself. She could not depend on the trust Elisha had in God. After all, he was not the one in debt. He was not the one who had lost a husband. He was not the one in danger of having two sons taken away. He was not the one pouring the oil. The widow had to pour the oil for herself and trust that God would supernaturally provide for all the empty vessels to be filled. Because she trusted, God did just that.

God will do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, if we just trust Him. Isaiah 26:4 says, “Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord is everlasting strength.”

We cannot depend on our parent’s trust in God or on our friend’s trust in God. We have to trust God for ourselves. He already has everything figured out; we just need to trust Him. Sometimes following God doesn’t seem to make sense at all which is why we must trust Him all the more. Emily Freeman said, “When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart.”

2 thoughts on “Women of the Word: the Widow With the Oil

  1. Pingback: Women of the Word (Recap 7) | The Virtuous Girls

  2. Pingback: Women of the Word | The Virtuous Girls

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