Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Widow with Oil - A Woman with Vision

Over a year ago, I wrote this article as part of the series looking in detail at Proverbs 31 and applying it to our lives as women today. But this week I needed this reminder to be a woman who places her hope in our God of Abundance.

The Widow With Oil - A Woman With Vision

She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. (Proverbs 31:14)

She was a widow with no source of income. Because of her debts, her creditor threatened to sell her two sons into slavery and she was desperate to save them.

Some women would have given up in despair, but she had a faith stronger than her circumstances. Second Kings 4 tells us that her husband had feared God, and apparently she knew the same source of strength.

The widow sought out a man of God, Elisha, and begged for help. She could have feared that he would laugh at her problems. Surely there were many other desperate widows in Israel; he couldn’t help them all. But she decided it was worth the risk.

And the prophet did listen. But he didn’t dig into his pocket and hand her some coins. He asked, “What do you have in your house?” and then gave her a strange task. “Go to all your neighbors and borrow pots and fill them with oil from your small jar.”

How is this widow like a merchants’ ship? 

Like the merchant, who loads up his products and heads for foreign ports, she took a risk. The merchant doesn’t know if he can make a profit. He could encounter storms or pirates or a plague and lose everything, even his life. But he takes risks hoping that, by trading goods, he can acquire money to support his family. The potential benefits are worth the risk.

The widow, despite the possibility of ridicule or misunderstanding, obeyed the prophet and begged her neighbors for pots. Not just one or two, but many pots. With her sons’ help, she gathered the jugs, then closed the door of her house. 

Did she pray, this widow surrounded by borrowed pottery and two excited boys? Did her hands tremble as she picked up her small jug of oil and began to trickle the liquid into the depths of the first empty pot? Did her excitement grow as she filled one pot, then two, then three, and finally every jug in the room? Was she weeping or laughing as she realized that this oil, a valuable resource in that era, could be sold and save her sons from bondage?

My sons are not in danger of slavery, but too many days I despair over the wickedness of the world, the frustrations of child training, or my own bad habits. 

I want to be creative in seeking solutions, even ones that look as unpromising as borrowed crocks. 

I want to have my view of God expanded, to know that He is still in the business of filling my emptiness with His abundance

The God of Abundance, that the widow served, still gives generously today. He provides abundant grace, but not just enough to survive, to rescue from sin’s bondage, to escape hell. That would be more than I deserve, but He gives even more. He gives grace for victory over habits, grace for peace in a tumultuous world, grace for hope for our children’s future.

If I have a vision of God's power, what risks will I take? 

Like the widow, I will believe His Word and choose to trust God's goodness and love even when I don't understand. I will share the God of Abundance with the hurting ones I meet. I will submit to God (and my husband) even when it appears foolish. I will be willing to risk appearing silly or radical to help others find victory through Christ. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18)

The widow had vision that allowed her to seek help from God in her darkest day. When I realize I can't control life's circumstances, but choose faith and obedience, I'll watch God's unlimited grace overwhelm my small pot of oil.

(Published in Keepers At Home magazine - Fall 2017)


  1. Gina, this is beautifully written and ironically, something I needed today. I know you have shared it before, but could you share subscription information for the magazine? Thank you..Barb

  2. Gina, our God is certainly a God of Abundance.

  3. You can call Keepers At Home magazine at 1 - 800 - 852 - 4482

  4. Wonderful article. I know that I have stepped out of my comfort zone, a few times over the years, at what I believed to be the calling of the Lord. Each time, I was overwhelmed with God's provision, guidance, support. I now encourage others to become 'a fool for Christ' or a 'cracked pot' that our Lord can use!

  5. I love this post. God has shown time and time again that he will provide for every need for my family. There is no use worrying over things when He has it all mapped out. Thank you for this!

  6. My favorite name of God is Abiathar - Father of Abundance. ( One of the meanings of his name.) It is the name of a priest of King David.


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