A widow's oil; her two sons are delivered from slavery (II Kin. 4:1-7). A childless couple have a son (4:8-37). Elisha sustains life (typifying Jesus, the Bread of Life) (4:38-44). Naaman is miraculously healed of his incurable leprosy (5:1-19) — foreshadowing Jesus, who alone can restore an incurable life of sin.
God tells us of a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets (that came to) Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen (II Kin. 4:1). The two sons would be slaves until the year of jubile (Lev. 25:39-40). This helpless widow poured out her heart to Elisha.
The prophet directed her to go, borrow . . . empty vessels (II Kin. 4:3). We may ask: "Why not borrow vessels with something in them?" But that would have taken her further into debt. And that should remind us of the dangers of going into debt. There is a danger of using money which really is not ours, of living beyond what the Lord has provided and incurring liabilities which we have no assurance of repaying.
This widow's situation assures us that our loving Father in heaven is concerned about our personal needs, struggles, and sorrows. The Bible is partly a history of nations, but it is much more a history of individuals whom the Lord desires to save and to provide for and to sustain. These biblical historical facts are written for our encouragement so that we may pray to the same Lord and know He cares and hears our prayers.
The only possession the prophet's widow had was a small vessel of oil (4:2); but God can take the little we have and make it into something precious to the Almighty Creator as we give ourselves to Him.
To God, the individual is never lost in the crowd. It could be just one woman who touches the hem of His garment when He is surrounded by multitudes (Matt. 9:20), but she is not ignored by the Lord; or a sorrowing widow whose only son was in a coffin, ready to be buried (Luke 7:12), but Jesus interrupted a funeral procession to raise him up. There was a helpless cripple lying near the pool of Bethesda who had no one who cared for him (John 5:7), but Jesus had compassion and healed him.
Since God is the Creator of all things, it is not hard to believe that there is no personal need that He cannot meet.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).
Thought for Today:
In Whom also we have an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11).
By the meal that took the poison out of the pot (II Kin. 4:40-41). Meal, made of crushed grain, speaks of Christ, who was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised (crushed) for our iniquities (Is. 53:5), thereby removing the poison of sin from us.
4:3 borrow not a few, get as many as you can; 4:6 stayed, ceased flowing; 4:10 candlestick, oil lamp; 4:27 vexed, deeply distressed; 4:29 Gird up thy loins, Fasten your loose, flowing garments with a belt.
Pray for International Broadcastss sponsored by Mary Hoffmeyer • Government Official: Rep. Peter Welch (VT) • Staff: Chris Robison • Country: El Salvador (5.9 million) in Central America • Major language: Spanish • Some intolerance of Protestants by government officials • 75% Catholic; 20% Protestant; .5% Baha'i; 2.5% Other; 2% None • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for wisdom as you read His Word, and it will be given to you (James 1:5).
Optional Reading: Romans 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Proverbs 28:9