Elijah and Elisha

Widow's Oil

This devotional is written by Marcus Speller. Marcus is married to Alina and has been attending St Mary's since 2015. He's also on the PCC and knows more about football than John Peters. 

2 Kings 4:1–7

The Widow's Olive Oil

4 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves."

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."


This passage is a great example of how God can miraculously intervene in a desperate situation. Elisha was a prophet and God's spokesperson to the people and leaders of the northern kingdom of Israel. He courageously and compassionately brought God's light and love to a land going through very dark times.

As we read in the passage a poor widow is about to lose her children having just lost her husband. In those days people living in poverty could be forced into selling themselves or their children into slavery to pay off their debts. God had previously instructed rich people and creditors not to take advantage of the poor, especially in this manner, but this particular creditor was not acting accordingly to God's will.

In faith the woman turns to Elisha. God then performs a miracle by taking her small amount of oil (the only thing of value she had) and multiplying it. In collecting as many empty jars as possible she was acting in faith and not wanting to limit how much God would give her. This allowed for her and her family to not only pay off their debts but also be financially secure going forward. This miracle would've not just blessed her but her whole community as well.

 Stories like these are such great examples of faith. I love that God used what the woman already possessed and got the whole community involved too. At some point in our lives we will and have experienced hardships. Many people are going through tough times right now as we struggled on through this pandemic. God is still active no matter what is going on in the world. What you have right now - your talents, experiences, characteristics etc can be used for God's glory. When we're faced with life's challenges it's tempting to become fearful or to try to go about fixing things solely in our own strength. I encourage you now to give over anything that is causing trouble, conflict, angst, anxiety or stress in your life to God. Allow the creator of the universe to come in to your situation and see his mighty hand at work.

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