The Widow's Oil Multiplied

2 Kings 4:1‑7  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
“According to your faith be it unto you,” was the Lord’s word to the two blind men. Wondrous and blessed indeed that in any wise our faith, or patience, or expectation of hope, should be allowed to measure the active and bounteous power of our Lord! But so it was. “According to your faith be it unto you”; and, again, “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee” (Matt. 8:99For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. (Matthew 8:9)).
And this is the voice of the miracle wrought here through the hand of Elisha. For as long as the poor widow produced her vessels, the pot produced its oil. The oil waited on the vessels. The vessels were the measure of the oil. In other words, divine power waited on faith—faith measured the active resources of God on the occasion. This was like the Lord of old standing with Abraham. For as long as Abraham stood interceding, the Lord stood promising (Gen. 18:17-3317And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. 23And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. 32And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. 33And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. (Genesis 18:17‑33)). This blessed grace of God has its illustration here.
But there is another thing. “What hast thou in the house?” said the prophet to the woman—as Jesus afterward said to His disciples, “How many loaves have ye?”—or, as He had said to Moses at the hill, “What is that in thy hand?” For it is suitable that whatever we have should be put to use. It may be quite unequal to the necessity; but whatever it be, it should be occupied. It may be but a shepherd’s staff, and Israel has to be redeemed; it may be but a pot of oil, and the creditor, who has a right to sell children and all, has to be paid; it may be but five barley loaves, and five thousand hungry ones have to be fed. But still, let what there is be occupied and brought forth. “She hath done what she could.” And, accordingly, the word here is, “What hast thou in the house?” And then, on bringing forth the pot of oil, the all of the house, let faith count on the power of God and His word of promise, and not only shall the creditor be discharged, but life sustained for many days over and above the payment. Not only shall the multitude be fed, but fragments gathered. Not only shall Israel be redeemed out of Egypt, but the same shepherd’s rod, now God’s rod, shall feed and keep the flock to the end of the desert.