Mothers have many responsibilities.
1. Who can number them all?
2. Yet mothers are equipped by God for this task
3. Motherhood was the first command of God to Eve.
Consider this and then add to it the extra burden of being a widow.
1. The increased load when the husband is gone...work, bills, children, etc.
2. Such is the case in the text before us.
Read: 2 Kings 4:1-7
I. THIS MOTHER KNEW WHERE TO GO IN THE TIME OF NEED (v. 1)
A. She had been a preacher’s wife.
1. The Rabbis teach that she was Obadiah’s wife.
a. Obadiah is the prophet who hid 100 of the Lord’s prophets and fed them for a period of time.
b. cf. 1 Kings 18:3b-4
2. Her husband had died leaving her with two sons to raise and no source of income.
3. He had also left her a very great debt which she was unable to pay.
B. The problems: Death and debts
1. The two great burdens of life.
2. The creditor comes to foreclose on the boys to be bondmen.
a. According to the Law, he had every right to take her two sons and force them to work off the debt.
b. So the only hope for the woman’s future was her two sons, and they were about to be taken from her.
C. The widow went quickly to seek the wisdom and help of God.
1. She realized just how serious the situation was.
2. She realized also that her only hope would be to appeal to the man of God, Elisha.
3. That was really a positive reaction on her part, because so often when we are faced with adversity we do not want to admit that we need help!
4. We would like to think that we can get along without any help from anyone else.
D. Blessed is the mother who knows where to go when her family is in need.
II. THIS MOTHER FOUND THE ANSWER TO HER NEED WAS RIGHT AT HOME (v. 2-4)
A. Elisha considered her problem:
1. Notice the generous offering: Elisha, as God’s representative, opens the door to heavenly privileges and asks her what shall I do for thee?
a. She doesn’t need to answer him, because she has already told him what her need was.
b. She had a financial need, a debt that she could not pay.
c. God had already obligated Himself to the care of the widows and orphans:
Proverbs 15:25, "The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow."
Jeremiah 49:11, "Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me."
2. All that was necessary was for her to claim the promise that God has already made.
3. All too often we miss out on the blessings of God because we fail to claim the promises He has made to us, and He will honor His Word.
B. Notice Elisha’s second question:
1. Tell me, what hast thou in the house?
2. The instrument of blessing is something she has, not something she will yet receive.
3. Her pot of oil, which she thought to be of little value, was to become the instrument of her deliverance from her dilemma.
4. Here is an important point:
a. When we belong to God, we have it all.
b. There is no such thing as a second- class child of God.
c. We have everything that we need in Christ.
Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
2 Corinthians 12:9, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
C. This is a good question for all mothers today.
1. A husband who loves you?
2. Food enough for today?
3. Money for this week’s groceries?
4. This mother had none of these things
D. The negative answer: "Thy handmaid hath not anything"
1. Mothers and others with this attitude are miserable.
2. "Others get new things, I am deprived. Poor me!"
E. The startling discovery: "Save a little pot of oil."
1. Now we see a positive move.
2. Literally "an anointing of oil"
3. But this was the turning point
4. How long has it been since you counted your blessings?
5. Rediscovering the house, the family, the furniture, love
F. The answer for lifting your burden may be right at home.
III. THIS MOTHER FOUND THAT THE POSSIBILITIES ARE UNLIMITED WHEN YOU ALLOW GOD TO USE WHAT YOU HAVE. (v. 4-7)
A. Preparation Needed: "Go borrow thee vessels..." v3-4
1. Although she had the source of the blessings all along...
2. She still needed to make some preparation to receive the answer to her prayers.
a. As yet she had no room to receive the blessings of God.
b. God tells us in Malachi 3:10 to prove Him "...prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it"
c. Psalm 81:10, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it"
d. Psalm 23: 6, "...my cup runneth over"
3. The borrowing of empty vessels was an exercise of faith.
a. God operates on the ‘faith principle’.
b. Those who fail to exercise faith, also fail to experience God’s overflowing blessings.
4. How much faith she had was determined by the number of vessels she would borrow.
a. Elisha told her to borrow not a few.
b. That meant that she would come in contact with many neighbors and relate her faith in God to them.
c. She had to be willing to be laughed at by some of her more skeptical neighbors.
d. The world doesn’t understand the ‘faith principle’, nor do carnal Christians who walk by sight.
5. Heeding the message of Elisha in faith meant involving her sons in the act of faith.
a. She sent them borrowing
b. "Borrow not a few"
c. Expecting the answer
B. "Shut the door..."
1. That phrase has reference to prayer.
a. Getting alone with God and asking for what we need.
b. Prayer that will be effective, must first be prepared for.
c. We must believe that God is going to answer our prayers, and then we shall receive them.
2. It is of vital importance to our lives as God’s children.
a. Without prayer, our lives will be one of defeat after another.
b. It can mean the difference between success and failure.
IV. Faith Rewarded. (5-7)
A. The miraculous supply.
1. The oil multiplied greatly, and all of the vessels were filled.
2. When did the oil multiply?
a. Not when Elisha told her what to do.
b. Not when the vessels were gathered.
c. Not even when she shut the door to pray.
3. The oil multiplied when she began to pour it into the empty vessels.
4. It was when she acted upon her faith in the Word of God, as delivered by the prophet, that she saw the mighty blessings of God.
B. The hindered supply.
1. The only thing that hindered her blessing was the fact that she ran out of empty vessels.
2. The number of vessels she had on hand was determined by her faith in the Word.
3. God had blessed her in so much that every vessel was full, but what if she had gotten more? He would have blessed more!
4. Too often we are satisfied with a tea cup of God’s blessing when we could have barrels and barrels.
C. The sustaining supply.
1. She was to sell the oil and pay the debt.
a. That was really all that she had asked.
b. She did not want to lose her sons to the creditor.
2. But as always, God gave her more than that which she asked.
a. What she had left, she was to live on the rest of her life.
b. It would sustain her day by day.
c. That is the way God’s grace is: it is sufficient for our salvation, to pay the debt of sin; and it is sufficient to supply all our needs, day by day.
Ephesians 3:20-21, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
A. Whatever you have is enough for God to use.
B. What God will do with what you have.
1. A boy’s lunch
2. Moses’ rod
3. David’s sling
C. What hast thou in the house? "Our God has boundless resources. The only limit is in us. Our asking, our thinking. our praying are too small. Our expectations are too limited."