1 Kings 17:7-14 – Oil and flour miracle (Elijah)
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
2 Kings 4:1-7 – Oil miracle (Elisha)
3-4 “Here’s what you do,” said Elisha. “Go up and down the street and borrow jugs and bowls from all your neighbors. And not just a few—all you can get. Then come home and lock the door behind you, you and your sons. Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.”
5-6 She did what he said. She locked the door behind her and her sons; as they brought the containers to her, she filled them. When all the jugs and bowls were full, she said to one of her sons, “Another jug, please.” He said, “That’s it. There are no more jugs.” Then the oil stopped. “
In 1 Kings 17, God worked through Elijah to bring blessing to the home in which he had been fed. The widow had been making preparations for her last meal when she met Elijah. At his request, she used the last of her oil and flour to make bread for the prophet, and God rewarded her by providing her with enough oil and flour to last her throughout the drought. God fulfilled His promised as “…the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.” (v. 16) – We can conclude that the oil and flour did not stop flowing until after God sent rain.
A similar but slightly different miracle took place in 2 Kings 4:1-7. This widow had nothing but ‘a little oil’, and no way to pay her debt to one who wanted to take her children as slaves in lieu of the debt. When she sought Elisha’s help, he told her to borrow all the containers she could find. She was about to see how God would miraculously stretch the little oil that she had. Her instructions were to “Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.” The woman kept pouring, because as long as she had containers, the oil flowed. She was able to fill up every vessel. The oil only stopped flowing after she ran out of jars!
In the first story, the oil and flour stopped running when the rain came. That was a God-act. In the second, story, the oil stopped flowing only after the woman ran out of jars. While God is not at all limited in what He can do, He chose to allow the oil to flow as long as the widow had somewhere to store it. His blessings and goodness are infinite. It is impossible for us to contain all He is able to provide for us, but we can place ourselves in positions where He can fill us over and over again.
In both cases, the women were asked to do what defies logic, but they obeyed anyway. God could have carried out both miracles without input from either widow, but He chose to involve them in the process. There may be times when we seek His help, and He may ask us to step out in faith and do something to ‘help our miracle along.’ Trusting His words mean we will do what He says, even when it doesn’t make sense to our natural minds.
Inventory/Introspection: What resources do I need to pour out so that God can miraculously replenish?
Personal Application: Some of His instructions seem easier to follow than others, but I can choose to walk in obedience and trust, knowing that He is giving me an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than I am.
Father, we are thankful that You can use the little that we have to do what seems impossible.
The widows found themselves in need, but you used the ‘hardly anything’ that they had to bring them their miracles. Sometimes you ask us what’s in our hands, like you did with Moses in Exodus 4:2. At other times, You work with what we bring to You, as you did with Gideon (Judges 6). You are “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17), and we know You don’t need us to perform miracles, but we are thankful that You choose to involve us. Help us to trust You even if we don’t see the blueprint.
In Genesis 22, we see that Abraham was willing to give back to You the miracle You gave to Him, and Noah built an ark because You told him to – even though he had probably never seen rain (Genesis 2) … May our obedience be no less as You call us to experience greatness in You.
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