Torchbearers for Christ
Saturday, December 15, 2018
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Nothing but a Jar of Oil

Read 2 Kings 4:1-7
God is at times pleased to use little things and “little” people to achieve His purposes. For example Moses, who felt so inadequate for the task the Lord called him to do, achieved incredible things, a succession of miracles, including the opening of the Red Sea using his rod. Then we remember how the Lord Jesus, using a lad’s lunch of five loaves and two fish, fed five thousand men. 
As regards “little people” it seems that those whom God chooses to use are often those who feel insufficient of themselves. Paul spoke of being “less than the least of all saints” (Eph. 3:8) and as “nothing” (2 Cor. 12:11).   The Lord, in reminding King Saul of his beginnings said, “When you were little in your own eyes…..did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel?”
THE WIDOW’S EXTREMITY. Let us look at the story of the widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7. This unfortunate lady had serious problems. She had no husband and she had debts with no means to pay them. She faced the possibility of her two sons being taken into slavery. She appealed to the prophet Elisha  who asked her, “What do you have in the house?” She replied, “Nothing but a jar of oil”. It seemed that she was wondering how this small jar of oil could help in her dire situation, but as we read on we see that the oil was to be the solution to her problem. A widow in this situation is surely a symbol of weakness, while the oil could well indicate the resources of the Holy Spirit
THE WAY EXPLAINED. Elisha’s instructions were simple and clear. He certainly had the ability to hear from God. He told the widow to borrow plenty of empty vessels from her neighbours, to shut her door, and then to pour oil into these vessels until they were all full.
THE WONDER EXPERIENCED. The widow’s miracle took place behind a closed door; it was not a public spectacle. Tremendous things happen behind the closed door. Jesus talked of this in Matthew 6:6. The miracle began when the widow started to pour, not before. Try to picture this amazing scene and imagine the widow’s thoughts as she began to pour from her one small jar into a large vessel holding, perhaps, one hundred litres. She may have hesitated to begin, but as she saw the miracle taking place she kept on pouring with amazement and joy until every vessel was full.
A WORD FOR EVERYONE. Let us apply this lesson to ourselves. We all have “but a jar of oil”. Our human resources are small and the work is great, but God can take our most feeble efforts and multiply them.  We are surrounded by “empty vessels” waiting to be filled with the miracle of salvation and the empowering oil of the Holy Spirit.
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  Since 1983 he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.