“…Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a little oil.” – 2 Kings 4:2
So a man has died and left his widow in debt, and now his creditors want to take her sons as slaves to pay off that debt. So basically she has lost her husband, and now she’s about to lose her 2 sons because she has no money. And when she tells Elisha her sad tale, his question is “What do you have in your house?” I’m pretty sure he could’ve just asked God to send her a bunch of gold coins in whatever currency they used back then. He could’ve offered to pay off her creditors and have her pay him back in instalments as the Lord permitted. But his question “what do you have in your house?” tells me something else. That question tells me that the answer to my prayer is already in my possession.
She says all she has is a little oil. So Elisha tells her to go around the neighbourhood and ask for empty jars. He says “Don’t ask for just a few.” (vs. 3) She then goes home and follows the prophet’s instructions to pour that little oil into all the jars. After she’s done she asks her sons to bring her another jar and they tell her there are none left. Verse 6 says after this, the oil stopped flowing. The prophet tells her to sell the oil, pay off her debts and then live on what’s left with her sons.
Don’t ask for just a few. Do not limit God. Expect big things! Do not seek to survive; Christians must thrive! God is a big God…He will do the impossible. Don’t be afraid of being “unrealistic.” God loves to show off! The fact that the oil stopped flowing only after they had filled the jars tells me that if they’d had more jars, they would’ve had more oil. Your blessing will only match your faith.
Your faith must be accompanied by works. If the widow had been lazy and gone to just one or two neighbours and asked for just one or two jars, she’d have only had enough oil to fill one or two jars. So have faith, and then put in the work. Faith without action is dead (James 2:17)
Don’t question God. What part of this whole scenario even makes sense? She has told the prophet that she only has a little oil. She’s brought all these empty jars as he instructed and now he says fill them with oil…WHAT OIL? God will make you do things that don’t make sense sometimes, I guess because He’s God and He can. All I know is that the Bible doesn’t mention anything about a back and forth argument or discussion between Elisha and the widow. As little sense as the instructions made, she just did as she was told. At the end of the story, she has no debt, she has her two sons home and free, and she has so much oil, it’s overflowing.
And it all begins with one question – “What do you have in your house?” Because whatever it is you have – I don’t care how little it is – that’s all God needs to answer your sincere, fervent and faithful prayer.