Thursday, September 8, 2016

Shut Doors

O. T. #828  "Shut Doors"
Sept. 8, 2016
2 Kings 4
But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19


What goes on behind shut doors, few people usually know. However, people found out what happened to a widow when she shut her doors.

This chapter records 4 of God's miracles through Elisha:
  1. providing money for a poverty-stricken widow (verses 1-7),
  2. raising a dead boy to life (verses 32-37),
  3. purifying poisonous food (verses 38-41),
  4. providing food for 100 men (verses 42-44). (Life Application Study Bible)
Looking at the first miracle, we see a widow coming to Elisha for help. Her husband served Elisha and feared the LORD. Her problem was a creditor came and threatened to take her two sons as slaves. The only valuable thing she had left in her house was a flask of oil.

According to the Mossiac Law, creditors could enslave debtors and their children to work off the debt when they could not pay (Ex. 21:2-4; Deut. 15:12-18). The period of servitude could last until the next year f Jubilee (Lev. 25:39, 40). Rich people and creditors, however, were not to take advantage of the destitute (Deut. 15:1-18). (The MacArthur Bible Commentary)

Well, the Jews were not showing mercy to each other nor were they obeying the laws concerning debt during this time. It was lowdown to me to think they would take the widows' sons, who were the only way of providing for her needs by working. If the sons were taken away from her, she'd not be able to live, much less pay the debt off. It sounds like she had already sold articles and only had left the flask of olive oil.
Isn't it a common thing for people to kick us when we are down? Wasn't it hard enough that the widow had lost her husband? That's how mean folks can be.


How did Elisha help this widow?
  •  He told her to borrow as many empty jars as she could from her friends and neighbors.
  • Then the widow was to go into her house with her sons and shut the door.
  • Pour olive oil from her flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.
  • She did as Elisha instructed her to do. Her sons kept bringing jars to her and see filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim.
  • She asked for another jar, but there were no more empty jars. Then the olive oil stopped flowing.
  • The widow told Elisha what happened, and he said for her to sell the olive oil and pay her debts. Then she and her sons could live on what was left.
This is a picture of faith and obedience. Wouldn't it have been embarrassing for the widow to borrow containers? The increase of the oil was in proportionate to her faith and obedience. As long as she kept asking and having jars to pour the oil into, they were filled. Olive oil was used for cooking, lamps, and fuel.
God takes what we have and uses it to meet the need, if we trust Him. We are reminded of this in Philippians 4:19, My God shall supply all you need...

This was a private matter, since the door of her house was shut. Did you notice that Elisha was not even present? This miracle could only be credited to the power of God. God's provision was as large as our faith and our willingness to obey.

"Shut the door" reminds us of Matthew 6:6; note that Elisha often "shut the door" when asking for God's help. Do we pray behind closed doors to our heavenly Father?

Are we trusting and obeying God?


His grace is enough for me, isn't it?

Pray in secret and God will reward.

Trust and obey.

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