Hello My Name Is… (week 2) – Woman with Oil
Happy Sunday everyone! This week we have completed our look at the widow with oil, seeing how the story ended and stepping into her shoes as God fulfilled her need (and more!). Have you enjoyed this story? This is the verse we were meditating on together:
“She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 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.” 2 Kings 4:5-6
God answered her
After the grief and emotion we felt last week when we examined the predicament that this woman was in, we see here the love and care that God has for her through Elisha. God saw the problems and the issues, but He didn’t just wipe them away – He fulfilled them. I guess in the same way that He couldn’t just “wipe sin away”, He had to deal with it properly, once and for all on the cross, here He couldn’t just wipe the debt away. That would have left the other party in trouble financially, so instead He provides a way for her to pay it off fully. I think this verse has reminded me that God cares about all our issues and problems and He wants to find solutions to them, but we have to actually go to Him with them. He couldn’t have helped this woman if she hadn’t had the courage to go to Elisha. This story could have ended in a very different way if she hadn’t.
God included others in the answer
In the Facebook Community this week you shared how lovely it was that the neighbours were included in this miracle, and I also noted that the sons were vital in this miracle too. Have you ever noticed how God likes to include others when He moves in our lives? God is community – He is three in one. And so when He answers our prayers He loves to do it in a way that builds community and includes others in the answers. How long after this do you think that town would have talked about this miracle? And how do you think the neighbours would have felt having played a part in loaning their containers? It becomes their story too then, and their miracle. The sons would have told their children this story as they were growing up, because they had played their part too. It wasn’t just the woman who got to see God’s provision, but a whole town. How amazing is that!! I think back to some of the things that I have asked God over the years. Occasions when others have had dreams and visions to confirm what God has been speaking to us, and that has meant that they felt included in what God was doing in our lives. The times when we’ve been able to give away furniture or had spare when others have needed things, so we’ve been able to be the answer to their prayer. It means we see even more miracles than just the ones intended for us. My mind boggles, but I am so grateful that God works in this way today as well.
God provided more than they needed
One mum mentioned that this miracle reminded her a lot of the feeding of the 5000 – that there was more left over than what was needed. And ok, this bit is in verse 7, after our meditation verse, but it says “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left”. There is more oil than what is needed just to save them from this situation. God knew that she didn’t just need enough to pay off the debt, but that without her husband around she was going to continue to struggle until her sons could support her (In our discussion of how old the sons were we generally decided they would be children – what do you think?). So He gave her enough to take care of that.
The oil only stops flowing when they run out of jars and the words “There is not a jar left” are said. Perhaps God would have kept on providing more and more, overflowing into many more jars. We will never be able to keep up with God generosity, and they ran out before God ran out.
In HER Shoes
I am so so glad that this unnamed woman was included in the bible. This story brings me hope that God hears us in our suffering and when we come to Him, He is willing to help and overflow into our lives. In a way, this could have been many many women over the years, and maybe it was, and for that reason it is not vital that we have her name. But when I stepped into this woman’s shoes they felt comfortable, I guess in a way that I have walked her path and seen God provide in similar ways for me and my family. What did you feel when you stepped into her shoes?
We are hopping over into the New Testament next week to look at the woman with perfume, a story you might associate with the Easter story build up. I will be chatting through what we already know about it at 9pm on Monday night, so please join me then over in the Facebook Group!
“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.” Matthew 26:6-7