The Widows Oil
by Elder Deborah Morrison
From W.C.M. Interactive Bible Study First Responders of Faith Series
Faith In Action 2 Kings 4:1-7
Bible Study Series: First Responder of Faith.
A First Responder is defined as – A person with specialized training who is among the FIRST to arrive and aid at the scene of an emergency, such as an accident. (Respond define: To react in response to a call for help)
There are many biblical examples of Men and Women, who were First Responders of Faith. Given a situation, their first response was to act in faith. There were some, who did not initially react in faith first, but eventually, they came around and responded in faith.
This evening we look at a widow woman who did respond in faith – Although as challenging as it seemed, her First response was faith.
**** Faith is defined as Trust, belief, confidence in someone, or something. In our case, we are talking about Trust, belief, and confidence in God.
Scripture Text 2 Kings 4:1-7 New English Translation (NET Bible)
Now a wife of one of the prophets appealed to Elisha for help, saying, “Your servant, my husband is dead. You know that your servant was a loyal follower of the Lord. Now the creditor is coming to take away my two boys to be his servants.” 2 Elisha said to her, “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She answered, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a small jar of olive oil.” 3 He said, “Go and ask all your neighbors for empty containers. Get as many as you can4 Go and close the door behind you and your sons. Pour the olive oil into all the containers; set aside each one when you have filled it.” 5 So she left him and closed the door behind her and her sons. As they were bringing the containers to her, she was pouring the olive oil. 6 When the containers were full, she said to one of her sons “Bring me another container.” But he answered her, “There are no more.” Then the olive oil stopped flowing. 7 She went and told the prophet. He said, “Go, sell the olive oil. Repay your creditor, and then you and your sons can live off the rest of the profit.”
The Widow’s Oil
This woman, the widowed wife of one of the sons of the prophets, had lost her husband and was now faced with the task to raise her two sons alone. On top of this, she had debts to pay, and no means to pay them. The legal system in Israel would not allow her to declare bankruptcy; she had to give her sons as indentured servants to her creditor as payment for the debts. (However inhumane this might seem, the creditor was within his rights; for Mosaic Law allowed him to enslave the debtor and his children as far as the Year of Jubilee (50 years) in order to work off a debt.)
This Widow had a real problem, in the culture of her day. It seems as if she is in a hopeless situation. As we move along in our bible study lesson, I would like each one of you to think about a problem or situation you might be facing now or have faced – and we will see if we can find the answer and/or solution as we continue with our lesson. There are specific steps, found in our lesson, that will not only cause us to respond in faith, but to walk by faith and not by sight.
She went to the Elisha, the man of God, and explained her desperate situation, her husband who was a Prophet, a Man of God, is dead and the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be slaves. She directed her request to the one who could help her – She was in line with the Word of God that tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Step # 1 – Have faith and be specific
The Widow woman not only had faith, and confidence in God, but she when to him. Her first response was to move in faith., she did not seek out her family members or her friends. She went to God or should I say God’s representative the Prophet Elisha who was God’s mouthpiece, and specifically stated what she needed. She made her request known. Ask specifically for what you want or need and ask Him to provide that for you. Be specific about your request. Even though God knows what you want and need, He wants you to ask Him for it. God can answer vague prayers but being specific creates a deeper bond between you and Him.
Reflection *** Looking back on a situation in your life, was your first response to seek God for an answer? If yes, was your request specific? If no, why not?
· Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. Psalm 107:6 (KJV)
Step #2 – Expect an answer
Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? and tell me, what do you have in your house? He asked the question, tell me what do you have in your house? Nothing at all except a small bottle of olive oil.
· Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV)
Reflection *** Think back to a prayer that you have yet received an answer or a new prayer request. (This will be applied at the end ~ See the section titled Prayer of Petition)
Step #3 “Action Set Go” - Move in faith and follow the instructions
Elisha gave her specific instructions --- Go borrower as many empty jars you can from your neighbors, go into your house you and your sons, shut the door, and pour out into the empty vessels.
Now that he has told her what to do, the responsibility shifts onto her. Now she must actually go and do what she’s been told ---- Faith without works is dead --- She put ACTION/WORKS with her faith!
If she had not gone and borrowed those jars, or is she had only borrowed a few jars, then she would have limited the miracle. She had faith in God and faith in Elisha. She had the faith to believe that there was a valid reason for doing what she was told to do. And she did it with all her heart.
· Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. James 2:17 (KJV)
Reflection *** In what areas has your faith been just talk with little follow through? How can you move to action in those areas?
Step #4 Shut the door to negativity
I believe negativity, doubts, and fears show up to STOP the move of God in our lives -
The widow woman could have thought why do I need to go borrow all these jars anyway? It does not make any sense. What good are a bunch of borrowed jars going to do? It sure seems like a waste of time. All my neighbors are going to be in my business. She could have said I will borrower the jars, but I don’t think nothing is going to come of it.
· But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6 NLT)
Notice what she did not do: She did not question; she did not ask how is this possible and she didn’t analyze the possibilities. Instead, she walked by faith and not by sight
Reflection *** Looking back on the same situation in your life, after God had provided an answer and/or while still waiting for an answer, were you able to shut the door to negativity from others, and/or your own fears and doubts? If yes, how did you shut the door? If no, why do you think you were not able to shut the door?
Step #5 Importance of Obedience
It is only difficult when we do not respond in faith, we must trust and obey.
· If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: (Isaiah 1:19 KJV)
Our God will meet all our needs according to his riches in glory. We can trust him to meet our needs. She chose to fully obey the instructions of God - The oil stopped flowing only when they ran out of containers. The number of jars they gathered was an indication of their faith. God’s provision was as large as their faith and willingness to obey. Beware of limiting God’s blessings by a lack of faith and obedience. God is able to do exceedingly more than all we ask or imagine
· Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. (Ephesians 3:20 KJV)
Jesus cannot do anything for you if you’re not willing to do what Jesus tells you to do. But faith with works will accomplish amazing things. Let us be people whose faith moves us to action.
Questions for Further Reflection:
1) What are some faith challenges you face this week?
2) How do you hope that in the coming days/weeks, will this study address some of those areas of difficulty for your faith?
3) What do you do with something God says that may not make sense to you at the time?
4) Why do you think some things only make sense looking back in the rearview mirror of life?
5) In light of what’s “already in your house” (your version of a “small jar of oil”), how can you begin putting your faith to action this week?
6) From the lesson, how might you encourage those around you who are having a rough time?
1) The bible says in Romans 12:3 that to each believer has been allotted a certain measure of faith. On a scale of 1-10, and in light of your experience as a believer, where does your faith (the ability to believe God for the impossible) rate?
2) How did you put that faith to action in 2020?
Prayer of Petition:
Think back to a prayer that you have yet received an answer or a new prayer request. Write out a specific prayer request based on the scripture below, and medicate on your prayer, and offer thanksgiving until your prayer is answered.
· Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6 (KJV)
About the Author:
Deborah Morrison is an ordained Elder and faithfully serves under the leadership of Dr. Shana Wise at Wise Choice Ministries. She has served in various capacities and Leadership positions in ministry for over 16 years.
Elder Deborah is actively involved in Community Evangelism through outreach efforts with The Well Christian Women’s Network, Christian Women Preachers United Clergy, and The Early Learning Coalition of Duval Children’s Closet.
Tasked with the burden to see Women set free and delivered, in 2010 Deborah founded Times of Refreshing Woman's Ministry – “Ladies Day Out” Prayer, Praise and Fellowship, where the focus is on Being Refreshed, Reconnected, Restored, Revived and Renewed in the Presence of the Lord.
She is blessed to be a mother of 1 child and many spiritual daughters, and 5 glam babies which she adores. Deborah is a two-year Breast Cancer Survivor and is the epitome of the word Sur.vi.vor - A person who is able to continue living their life successfully despite experiencing difficulties.
Deborah declares I am not just a survivor, but I am “Thriving”, and I have a lot ahead that I want to accomplish as I “Journey forward” in my expected end in Christ Jesus!
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.