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"Faith to Use What You Have" (posted July 1, 2008)

  A certain (widow) woman... cried out to Elisha, saying, "...the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves."
  So Elisha said to her, "...tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.
  Then he said, "Go, borrow vessels from everywhere.... Then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones."
  Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel." And he said to her, "There is not another vessel." So the oil ceased.
  Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest."
   - 2 Kings 4:1-7

As long as the poor widow produced her vessels, the jar produced its oil. The oil waited on the vessels. The vessels were the measure of the oil. In other words, divine power waited on faith; faith measured the active resources of God on the occasion. This was like the Lord of old standing with Abraham. For as long as Abraham stood interceding (praying for others), the Lord stood promising. (Read this account in Genesis 18:17-33.)

But there is another thing. "What do you have in the house?" said the prophet to the woman---as Jesus afterward said to His disciples, "How many loaves do you have?" (Mark 6:38), or as God had said to Moses at the hill, "What is that in your hand?" (Exodus 4:2).

It is suitable that whatever we have should be put to use. It may be quite unequal to the necessity; but whatever it is, it should be occupied. It may be but a shepherd's staff (in Moses' hand), and Israel has to be redeemed (out of Egypt); it may be but a pot of oil, and the creditor, who has a right to sell children and all, has to be paid; it may be but five barley loaves, and five thousand hungry ones have to be fed. But still, let what there is be occupied and brought forth.

And then, on bringing forth the jar of oil, the all of the house, let faith count on the power of God and His word of promise, and not only shall the creditor be discharged, but life sustained for many days over and above the payment. Not only shall the multitude be fed, but fragments gathered; not only shall Israel be redeemed out of Egypt, but the same shepherd's rod, now God's rod (Exodus 4:20), shall feed and keep the flock to the end of the desert.

John G. Bellett

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