2 Kings 4:1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” 2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
I have always been fascinated with this story in the Bible because it has been interpreted in so many ways. I also want to add my take on it today.
This widow was seen as poor and broke, because her husband, who was a prophet had left her with nothing. Wrong! He left his widow ‘a small jar of olive oil’. The jar is not the main thing but the ‘olive oil’ in it.
In any Jewhish home, a good oil supply was a sign of stability and prosperity:
Deut 33:24 ; And of Asher he said, “Most blessed of sons be Asher; let him be the favorite of his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil.
Psalm 92:10 ; But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.
Joel 2:24 ; And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
And the lack of oil was a sign of the curse of God and agricultural disaster; Joel 1:10 ; The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
Oil was used as a commodity of trade or personal income, for various kinds of common daily consumption (as part of the bread diet in tabernacle grain offerings, as fuel for lamps in the tabernacle, or homes, as a lubricant for one’s hair and skin, sometimes with a special sense of honor, as an aromatic substance, as a medication, or in healing contexts, for royal and religious ritual procedures, and in figurative expressions (e.g., for fertility and prosperity – Job 29:6 My cows produced milk in abundance, and my groves poured out streams of olive oil.
Oil … is used in the Scriptures as a symbol of the Spirit of God.
The man of God, Elisha knew more than the widow regarding the significance and the importance of what she said she had left. In 2 Kgs 4: 3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” 5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
The oil that is flowing through these jars is not the raw Spirit of God, but it is His Spirit seen in its works, that is, in its manifestations. We are seeing God’s Spirit as it manifests itself primarily in spoken and written words, but also in things like miracles, healings, casting out of demons, acts of faith, good works, etc.
Like I said at the onset, what she had was powerful and more than enough for her and her sons to ‘live on what is left’. The anointing oil can also be our “oil of joy” Psalm 45:7 ; Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Isa 61:3 ; Heb 1:9 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
God is bringing the church to a place where we see the importance of the holy anointing oil. God’s way is always for us to act on what we can do in the natural, and He will accomplish in the supernatural what we cannot.
Oil in the Bible has great significance and symbolism. The oil also pictures the work and anointing of the Holy Spirit for without the Holy Spirit, no one can be saved because the Spirit convicts the lost soul of their sins and points them to Christ and makes them realize that they need Jesus as their Saviour, for there is absolutely no other way to enter the kingdom (Acts 4:12).
Will you today start using what it is that you have? Will you take that bold step of faith towards your destiny and do what He has been telling you to do? Will you obey the Spirit of God in you, instead of being scared? Will you dare to believe it is better to obey that still small voice instead of the voice of the enemy that says it cannot be done.