God helps us to practice our faith in Him. The story of Elisha and the widow reminds us of God’s desire for us to act in faith in Him in all situations. When a widow’s husband, the son of one of God’s prophets, dies, he leaves behind a debt that has yet to be paid to his creditor. As was allowable according to Jewish Law, the creditor was on his way to collect the widow’s sons as indentured servants who would have to pay off what was due by their labor.
The widow brings her problem to the prophet Elisha, who performs a great miracle of God. First he tells her to use what she has. She brings to him the only thing of value she has in her possession: a small jar of oil. Elisha then directs her to collect as many empty containers from her neighbors and then, by using this small jar of oil, fill all of the empty containers with the oil from this small jar. The woman obeys and with the help of her sons, fills multiple containers with more than enough oil to sell and pay off her debt.
Through this great miracle, God provides for the woman. But He first requires her to act in faith in what He can do. First, the woman and her sons have to solicit the help of others for all of their empty containers. They work in preparation and in expectation to receive the provision that God would provide. Note that this work is not what the woman decides to do on her own accord, but is specific instruction given to her by God’s prophet Elisha. Next, the woman acts in faith by using the small jar of oil to fill the empty containers. Using a small container of liquid to fill multiple empty containers would not make sense, but the woman follows through as she has been instructed. Finally, after the miraculous happens, the woman still needs to sell the oil she receives in order to make enough money to pay off the debt. The woman has a role to play in utilizing what she has received to resolve her issue. By God, her needs have been met beyond what she has hoped, but she still must work to utilize it in the way that she needs.
The woman’s miraculous provision from God shows us not only His faithfulness to provide, but also shows us how to be faithful to the ways that God instructs by His Word. God does not call us to sit on the couch so that he can have our blessings fall neatly into our laps as we rest. Instead he calls us to come to Him in our emptiness and trust Him to fill us to the brim with a wealth of blessing. God in His Goodness blesses us in ways which prompt us to practice our faith in Him.