Wednesday, February 10, 2016
The widow's oil jugs or how to handle extreme situations
Walking with God requires total committment. We might be exposed to storms and very extreme situations. A true follower will not start complaining against his Creator or the circumstances he is facing. On the contrary, he will pass his test of faith by using his ressources and acting according to our Lord's directions.
The second Book of Kings, chapter 4, verses 1 to 7, reports Elisha's multiplication of a widow's oil.
"Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves. And Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house? "And she said, "Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.
Then he said: "Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels.
And when one is full, set it aside.
So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son: "Bring me another vessel". And he said to her: "There is not another." Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest."
It is interesting to note that the Torah actually forbids the type of loan with interest that is mentioned in the story above. This measure is meant to protect poor people from being completely dispossessed of their goods.
In Hebrew, this specific kind of loan is called "neshekh", literally " it bites".
The current, dramatic, situation the widow is facing is due to many people disregarding this commandment of the Torah. As a consequence, her sons might be sold as slaves to her creditor.
Losing her sons is probably one of the worst things can happen to her besides being deprived of means of subsistance.
Note that Elisha will not perform this miracle ex nihilo. He requests her active participation.
One must understand that our Lord will always work WITH us, not outside of us. It doesn't mean that He cannot do it without us, but our participation is mandatory as an act of faith.
The poor widow just has just a little bit of oil, an oil that she uses to anoint herself.
This tiny bit of oil will be necessary and she will have to borrow empty vessels from her neighbors.
All jugs will be filled with oil. Not only will the widow be able to pay all her debts, but the money from the oil will also allow her to live a decent life with her sons.
We must trust Hashem. Sometimes we are faced with difficult situations and many of them are a test of faith. If we accept to rely on the Lord, He will give us precise instructions or He will send us people on our way to guide us.
Remember that God will always bless you beyond all expectancy.
Avoid complaining and really let the Almighty lead you. Give Him praise in the storm, for He is worthy and He will rescue you.
The symbolic of the oil and empty vessels
Oil- olive oil in particular- has always been a strong symbol of the Holy Spirit's action and blessings.
When people pray upon it, anointing oil can be a powerful tool of personal blessings and healings.
"You anoint my head and my head with oil and my cup overflows", states Psalm 23.
The anointing from the Holy Spirit is something really powerful, when we are open to receive.
Elisha is multiplying the amazing source of blessings anointing oil is. At first sight, this gift looks material, but it is merely a spiritual gift. The Spirit of God is the Source of all abundance.
The vessels symbolize the human body that is being filled with the gift of the Spirit.
No matter how difficult a material situation might look like from the outside, we must raise our eyes to the Source of all wealth, our God, and have faith that He will provide, because He always does.
Praise the Lord, who always provides and who provides in abundance. May He bless you on your path.
Copyright© by Isabelle Esling