God is Eternal and Inexhaustible. He has no end and there is no limit to what He can do or give. The limits come from us. Today’s Bible devotional about Elisha and the widow illustrates that point.
Elisha traveled throughout Israel and in those travels he met and befriended many people. He was renowned and respected as a man of God. Even among other prophets and their families Elisha’s reputation was as God’s appointed and anointed prophet. Verse 1 reads,
“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.”
In Elisha’s day, a person couldn’t declare bankruptcy and keep a car and a house and let their creditors divide up whatever was left. They had to pay what was owed even if it meant losing their home, their freedom, and their children. This widow had lost her husband and now she was going to lose her children and be left alone. She was desperate and she knew The Lord would help her. She asked Elisha because her husband had respected him and possibly even studied under him.
The widow was desperate but Elisha’s faith gave him peace that no one outside a relationship with the Lord could understand. Verses 2-4 read,
“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.” 3 Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4 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.”
What would you do if someone told you to go borrow empty 5 gallon water bottles from everyone you knew, get your piggy bank, and empty the contents of your piggy bank into bottle after bottle? If he were not speaking for God I would laugh in his face! But Elisha spoke for God and everyone knew it. So the widow did what Elisha told her to do. Verses 5-7 describe it.
“So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6 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. 7 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.”
One jar of oil filled as many vessels as the woman and her son had borrowed. Had they borrowed one hundred, the oil would have filled one hundred. Had they borrowed one, the oil would have filled only the one. Her faith had prompted her to borrow as many as were available. There was so much oil that she was able to pay off her debt and save her sons from slavery. There was so much left that she would not have to worry about money for the rest of her life. God provided perfectly for her and he provided according to her faith.
She had to have faith to ask Him. She could have become hopeless at the impending bad news. But she asked the Lord for help and He answered her. Psalm 107:28-31 encourages us to turn to God for all our needs.
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!”
She had faith to obey the command the Lord gave her. And He poured out blessings on her. Obedience proves our faith and leads to more blessings and provision. The height of the blessings and provision we receive though is that God gives us His own Spirit. John 14:12-17 says it this way,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
The widow was not a prophet, she did not have the Holy Spirit on her. She had to turn to Elisha to ask for help from The Lord, but you and I are prophets with The Holy Spirit in us. We can do the miracles that Elisha did. We can do the miracles that Jesus did because we have His Spirit. Ask anything as a representative for The Lord and He will do it.
The widow’s faith didn’t limit God. Elisha told her, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few.” So she obeyed. She didn’t decide that not too few meant four. She didn’t say, ‘I don’t think God can fill all these.’ In fact she didn’t realize when she had run out of empty vessels until her son told her. We can expect God to bless us according to His resources not ours. And since God is the source, His resources, like Him are infinite. 2 Corinthians 9:6-12 reads,
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.”
The Lord pours the Holy Spirit into us, He pours blessings into us, and He pours gifts into us. He expects that we will pour The Spirit and those blessings and gifts out to other people. If we just give a little, we will receive just a little. If we prepare one empty vessel, only one vessel will be filled. If we give cheerfully and generously, God will give to us cheerfully and generously. Whether it is provision, freedom, peace, or God that you need, seek God. Ask Him and He will freely give Himself to you and all the rest of what you need and want will be yours too. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus tells us,
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Just a few verses later in Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus says,
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Believer, do you have the faith to ask the Lord for help? Do you have the faith to let the Lord bless you the way He desires to bless you? He gives life and He gives it abundantly (John 10:10). If you don’t trust that God can and will bless you try Him. Malachi 3:10-12 reads,
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.”
Just have enough faith to obey God. Trust Him enough to give Him your firstfruits (the best and first of your money, wages, etc.) and He will pour out blessings on you so that everyone will see how blessed you are.
How many vessels God will fill is only limited by how many we bring Him.