A Lot of 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.” II Kings 4:1-7 ESV

He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever. Psalm 111:4-5 ESV


Kristin was a missionary in Ecuador, and one day she invited a young lady named Mishel to come home with her for dinner after church. While they were on their way home, a young man named Gonzalo and his four brothers and sisters asked if they could come too. Kristin invited them to come, but she felt worried inside. She had put enough food in the crock pot that morning for two people. How would she have enough food to feed seven? But when everyone had sat around the table and thanked God for the food, and Kristin started to scoop food out of the crock pot. There was enough food to fill all seven plates with food! As soon as she had filled the last plate with food, she looked into the crock pot. It was empty! God had provided her with just enough food to feed everyone!

Something like that happened to a woman who had lost her husband. Her husband had been a son of the prophets, which means that he was learning to serve God by teaching people God’s word. But he died, and after he died there were debts to pay. His widow couldn’t pay his debts, so the person she owed money to was going to take her two sons to make them slaves. But Elisha told her to take the little oil that she had and to pour it into as many jars as she could borrow from her neighbors. The oil kept pouring until all the jars were full! The widow was able to sell all that oil and to pay her debts, and to have enough money to make a new start with her two sons. God had provided for her needs in a miraculous way.

We might not often see miracles like this, but God provides for our needs every day. He loves us and gives us food and clothes and homes and families and friends and health and school and everything that we need in this life. The best thing God has ever given us is Jesus, his Son. He saw that we needed a Savior because our sins separated us from him, so he sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins. Because God gave us Jesus, we are forgiven every day and are God’s children now and always.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us everything we need, especially Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.


Tollefson, Jan and Wanda Manson, compilers Food from Ravens: stories of God’s power & provision through prayer Minneapolis: World Mission Prayer League, 2015