These are my notes from The Daughters of Zion Bible Study where I presented on the topic “Prepare for the Pour” with scripture reference 2 Kings 4:1-7.
2 Kings 4:1-7
A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.” 2 So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors–empty vessels; do not gather just a few. 4 And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.” 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. 6 Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”
Oil had many uses in Biblical times and still does today. It was used to cook with, to anoint, to moisturize, to illuminate (using lamps) and the list goes on. As such, oil was valuable.
Oil has varying symbolic significance in the Bible, including but not limited to:
- righteous, set apart living
- spiritual anointing
- the presence of the Holy Spirit
- protective covering
For the purposes of this discussion, the oil represents your anointing, gifting, resources, talents and your obedience.
Some people title this segment of scripture “God’s Supply In The Midst of Poverty,” but it has significance beyond poverty. We are potentially entering into a period of recession and just left the darkest days (we hope!) of the COVID-19 pandemic; the lessons from this Biblical account can carry you through ANY season of uncertainty.
In fact, as this year came to a start I read many prophecies telling people to stock up on nuts, flour, water and even Listerine. People were saying to keep cash on hand and there was already wind of a recession. When I consulted the Lord about these things and how I should prepare given I don’t have a lot of storage space to potentially stock up, He said to me, “Though there be scarcity, you shall not lack.” What we see in 2 Kings 4:1-7 is just this. Though the widow faced uncertainty and a time of scarcity (which means the state of being scarce or in short supply; a shortage), she did not lack provision, and if you obey the Lord’s instructions, neither will you.
There are 5 key lessons that I think we can learn from the widow’s plight.
1. Assess what you already have in your possession.
Before the widow even approached Elisha for help, she already knew what she had. She said I have nothing except a small jar of olive oil. What do you have in your possession? What talents and giftings do you have? What ingredients do you have in the cabinet? What is abundant in your environment? What items do you have that can be sold? Make an assessment. Often, abundance is linked to what we ALREADY have in our possession – not what we have to go out and acquire. For someone, you may not need a masters degree for a promotion, you may just need to leverage the skills you ALREADY have.
2. Ask the right person for help.
The woman’s deceased husband was identified as being “a man from the company of the prophets.” She also personally identified him as a “servant” of Elisha. Elisha was revered by the prophets, and they looked up to him. He regularly met with them and therefore he would have been considered the leader. She could have sought help from the town representative, social services, her neighbors or one of the other prophets, but she wisely went to the head: ELISHA. It is good to ask for help, yes. It is even better to know who to ask.
3. Follow instructions.
Elisha told her to go and ask her neighbors for jars, all the jars…then shut the door and start to pour. She followed the instructions to the letter and was so consumed with the task that she was like next jar, next jar, next jar…ready to keep going until her sons said there are not more jars. Your obedience in times of uncertainty, scarcity and lack is essential.
4. Do not grow weary in the follow through.
I want to pause here to compare the widow in 2 Kings chapter 4 to a king that Elisha later encountered in 2 Kings 13:18-19.
18 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”
What if the widow only filled up half the jars then got tired? What is she said to herself, “This is stupid, what is this going to do?” or “Man, my arms hurting, I’m done with this!” If she had only filled up half the jars or some of the jars she would not have had the extra to live on. She may have had enough to cover her debts but there may not have been any left over. There may have been no overflow.
What unlocks doors is your obedience. Obedience is the key to your overflow. Always follow through on the Lord’s instructions.
The oil did not stop flowing until she ran out of jars. Pour until the oil stops flowing.
I want to point out here that Elisha was no stranger to the pour. In 2 Kings 3:18 it was said of Elisha that he used to pour water on the hands of Elijah. So this goes back to who to ask your help. The person you seek help from will have experience in what they are asking you to do. It may not be direct experience or your exact situation but they will have experience with the pour, knowledge of the pour, knowledge of the task at hand. Write: Elisha had experience with the pour.
5. Repay your debts.
This is the part many do not want to hear but it is essential. Essential. Elisha left the widow with three final instructions: (i) sell the oil, (ii) repay your debts and (iii) live off of the rest. Here are a few scriptures that speak to the importance of repaying our debts.
7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.
We see from Romans 13 that the repayment is debt if not always monetary. Sometimes it’s forgiveness, respect, honor or even an apology. Whatever the Holy Spirit is pricking your heart on today, do it. Repay your debts.
A final note I want to leave with you from this account is that the instructions are not about getting rich, they are about LIVING. Elisha told the widow to live on the proceeds of the sale. This woman was not seeking to be a millionaire or to walk away with six figures. She wanted her children. She wanted safety and what she walked away with was just enough to LIVE ON. Some people want to be rich for being rich sake, for the ‘gram or TikTok or simply for stunting sake. Beware because that road is a road of emptiness and constant comparison. It is okay to be wealthy and profitable but do not forget to live and enjoy your life and loved ones.
- Write down the word PROVISION. Search for scriptures that talk about provision and write down what stands out to you.
- What were the last instructions the Lord gave you? Are they complete? If not, finish them. If so, do you know the next steps? If you do not know, seek the Lord for next steps.
- Make an assessment of your skills and talents and ask the Lord if He wants to use them to pour for profit (as in 2 Kings 4) or to keep for His glory (as in Matthew 25).
God bless you,