Elisha’s Miracles – 1: A God of Abundance
The Leprosy Mission produces an internal daily devotional guide, The Bridge, for use in offices, hospitals, clinics and projects around the world. Current and former staff and trustees from many countries contribute to the guide. We will share with you contributions made by our staff team.
Working for The Leprosy Mission I’m sure we’re all very familiar with the story of Naaman’s miraculous healing in 2 Kings 5. But that isn’t the only miracle that Elisha performed. In the previous chapter there are 5 more which I’d like to think about – what they can reveal to us about God’s work in this world. This is the first.
Even though the kingdom as a whole had stopped worshipping God correctly, worshipping instead at the golden calves at Bethel and Dan, as well as various high places to various pagan Gods, it seems that there was a small remnant who wished to remain faithful to God and at this time there were schools setup under Elisha and perhaps other faithful prophets to teach the true faith to groups of students. These “sons of the prophets” appear regularly through the end of 1 Kings and well into 2 Kings as witnesses to what God is doing and occasionally are used a messengers by the prophets.
Here at the start of chapter 4, one of these students – they weren’t necessarily all young men – has died and left his widow with considerable debts.
There’s an implicit warning here about the danger and irresponsibility of poor financial planning but the focus is on what God does to help the widow and her children in their perilous situation.
Throughout scripture we see that God has a special place in his heart for widows and orphans. There are specific mentions in the law both to prevent them being mistreated and to provide for their needs. Those who do are either condemned or commended throughout the Bible and James tells us that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
So Elisha takes what little she has and God multiplies it to provide enough value for her to pay off her debts and have a little left over for them to live on for the next wee while. He could just as easily provided something new as a gift but no, he asks “what do you have in the house?” He uses what she already has, in this case just a jar of oil, and multiplies it to achieve His purpose.
And God is a God of abundance. His blessing and provision can exceed all of our expectations. In this case it wasn’t the oil that ran out, God kept it flowing for as long as the woman had jars to fill. God doesn’t have a finite amount of love or grace or blessing available, but it seems that we often have a finite capacity to receive from Him – for all sorts of reasons. Maybe we don’t have a big enough picture of God, maybe we don’t believe God can or will bless us that much, maybe we don’t believe we deserve it or are scared to accept it.
Today, let God use what you have, what you are, to fulfil his plan. He can take what you have and achieve great things. And accept what He might do openly and willingly, don’t block off the flow of grace by being unwilling to accept what God might want to give you, or the team you are working with.