- Matthew 14: 15-21.
Bad navigation is an especially common problem. We’ve all struggled to find things on disorganized websites without any logical structure. It feels hopeless.
Subject: Trusting God fully;
- When you are down completely (Vs. 2).
- Even when it seems nonsense (Vs. 1,2b).
- Brings joy and celebration at the end (Vs7).
Look at the great service Elisha had done, in the foregoing chapter, for the three kings: to his prayers and prophecies they owed their lives and triumphs. One would have expected that the next chapter would tell us what honors and what dignities were conferred on Elisha for this, that he should immediately be preferred at court, and made prime minister of state, that Jehoshaphat should take him home with him, and advance him in his kingdom. No, the wise man delivered the army, but no man remembered the wise man, Eccl. 9:15.
Or, if he had preferment offered him, he declined it: he preferred the honor of doing well in the schools of the prophets before that of being great in the courts of princes. God magnified him, and that sufficed him—magnified him indeed, for we have him here employed in working no fewer than five miracles.
- He multiplied the poor widow’s oil (v. 1-7).
- He obtained for the good Shunammite the blessing of a son in her old age (v. 8-17).
- He raised that child to life when it was dead (v. 18-27).
- He healed the deadly pottage (v. 38-41).
- He fed 100 men with twenty small loaves (v. 42-44).
Having given you that short introduction; then it brings me to my sermon today. The question here comes; how can one trust the Lord, why should He be trusted and yet He brings suffering to his saints and to what extent should He be trusted, even when He seems to be far from us during our times of need?
WHEN YOU ARE DOWN COMPLETELY:
- Look at what the woman is saying in a very deep sorrow. That “your servant my husband ………”
- She reminded Elisha who her husband was to him ( son of the prophet)
- That her husband, being one of the sons of the prophets, was well known to Elisha.
- Ministers of eminent gifts and stations should make themselves familiar with those that are every way their inferiors, and know their character and state.
- That he had the reputation of a godly man.
Elisha knew him to be one that feared the Lord, else he would have been unworthy of the honor and unfit for the work of a prophet
- He was one that kept his integrity in a time of general apostasy, one of the 7000 that had not bowed the knee to Baal.
- That he was dead, though a good man, a good minister.
- The prophets—do they live forever?
Those that were clothed with the Spirit of prophecy were not thereby armed against the stroke of death.
The only hope, bread winner, her family bishop/high- priest; her security and father of her two sons was no more.
- That he died poor, and in debt more than he was worth.
- He did not contract his debts by prodigality, and luxury, and riotous living, for he was one that feared the Lord, and therefore durst not allow himself in such courses.
- Religion obliges men not to live above what they have, nor to spend more than what God gives them, no, not in expenses otherwise lawful; for thereby, of necessity, they must disable themselves, at last, to give everyone his own, and so prove guilty of a continued act of injustice all along.
- Yet it may be the lot of those that fear God to be in debt, and insolvent, through afflictive providences, losses by sea, or bad debts, or their own imprudence, for the children of light are not always wise for this world.
- Perhaps this prophet was impoverished by persecution: when Jezebel ruled, prophets had much ado to live, and especially if they had families.
- That the creditors were very severe with her two sons she had to be the support of her widowed state, and their labor is reckoned assets in her hand; that must go therefore, and they must be bondmen for seven years (Ex. 21:2 ) to work out this debt.
Those that leave their families under a load of debt disproportionable to their estates know not what trouble they entail.
- In this distress, the poor widow goes to Elisha, in dependence upon the promise that the seed of the righteous shall not be forsaken.
- The generation of the upright may expect help from God’s providence and countenance from his prophets.
He effectually relieves this poor widow’s distress and puts her in a way both to pay her debt and to maintain herself and her family.
- He did not say, be warmed, be filled, but gave her real help.
- He did not give her some small matter for her present provision, but set her up in the world to sell oil, and put a stock into her hand to begin with.
This was done by miracle, but it is an indication to us what is the best method of charity, and the greatest kindness one can do to poor people, which is, if possible, to help them into a way of improving what little they have by their own industry and ingenuity.
He directed her what to do, considered her case: What shall I do for thee?
The sons of the prophets were poor, and it would signify little to make a collection for her among them: but the God of the holy prophets is able to supply all her need; and, if she has a little committed to her management, her need must be supplied by his blessing and increasing that little.
Elisha therefore enquired what she had to make money of, and found she had nothing to sell but one pot of oil.
If she had had any plate or furniture, he would have bidden her part with it, to enable her to be just to her creditors.
We cannot reckon anything really, nor comfortably, our own, but what is so when all our debts are paid. If she had not had this pot of oil, the divine power could have supplied her; but, having this, it will work upon this, and so teach us to make the best of what we have. The prophet, knowing her to have credit among her neighbors, bids her borrow of them empty vessels.
EVEN WHEN IT SEEMS NONESENCE (VS 1,2b).
Have you ever been told by someone that you are talking nonsense or anything related to that? I like telling it to someone who doesn’t communicate at all to me on some issues/information. It sound so ridiculous when you behave or communicate nonsense especially when you see to be grown-up, loyal, educated, rich and healthy.
The widow here is demonstrating her total trust to God even when the surrounding could see otherwise and ridicule her.
The prophet after listening to the woman; she ask, ‘What shall I do for you?’
- God magnifies his goodness with his power.
- Elisha readily receives a poor widow’s complaint. She was a prophet’s widow; to whom therefore should she apply, but to him that was a father to the sons of the prophets, and concerned himself in the welfare of their families?
- It seems, the prophets had wives as well as the priests, though prophecy went not by entail, as the priesthood did.
- Marriage is honorable in all, and not inconsistent with the most sacred professions. Now, by the complaint of this poor woman (v. 1).
- He directs her to shut the door upon herself and her sons, while she filled all those vessels out of that one.
- She must shut the door (Why do you think she had to close the door?), to prevent interruptions from the creditors, and others while it was in the doing, that they might not seem proudly to boast of this miraculous supply, and that they might have opportunity for prayer and praise to God upon this extraordinary occasion.
- (1.) The oil was to be multiplied in the pouring, as the other widow’s meal in the spending. The way to increase what we have is to use it; to him that so hath shall be given. It is not hoarding the talents, but trading with them, that doubles them.
- (2.) It must be poured out by herself, not by Elisha nor by any of the sons of the prophets, to intimate that it is in connection with our own careful and diligent endeavors that we may expect the blessing of God to enrich us both for this world and the other. What we have will increase best in our own hand.
- (3.) She did it accordingly. She did not tell the prophet he designed to make a fool of her; but firmly believing the divine power and goodness, and in pure obedience to the prophet, she borrowed vessels large and many of her neighbors, and poured out her oil into them. One of her sons was employed to bring her empty vessels, and the other carefully to set aside those that were full, while they were all amazed to find their pot, like a fountain of living water, always flowing, and yet always full. They saw not the spring that supplied it, but believed it to be in him in whom all our springs are. Job’s metaphor was now verified in the letter (Job. 29:6), the rock poured me out rivers of oil. Perhaps this was in the tribe of Asher, part of whose blessing it was that he should dip his foot in oil, Deut. 33:24.
- (4.) The oil continued flowing as long as she had any empty vessels to receive it; when every vessel was full the oil stayed (v. 6), for it was not fit that this precious liquor should run over, and be as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.
Note: We are never straitened in God, in his power and bounty, and the riches of his grace; all our straightness is in ourselves. It is our faith that fails, not his promise. He gives above what we ask:
- Were there more vessels, there is enough in God to fill them—enough for all, enough for each.
- Was not this pot of oil exhausted as long as there were any vessels to be filled from it? And shall we fear lest the golden oil which flows from the very root and fatness of the good olive should fail, as long as there are any lamps to be supplied from it? Zec. 4:12.
- (4.) The prophet directed her what to do with the oil she had, v. 7.
- She must not keep it for her own use, to make her face to shine.
Those whom Providence has made poor must be content with poor accommodations for themselves (this is knowing how to want), and must not think, when they get a little of that which is better than ordinary, to feed their own luxury:
There are many times that you so down in spirit and in it fullness, you find yourself empty and miserable as far as Christian life is concerned. People around you starts discriminating, making fan of you while others nickname you so as to gossip more about your being down. This is the best time to trust in the Lord beyond even your understanding. When your husband/wife has left you; when city council has taken everything you had, when your parent disown you, when the church leadership excommunicate you; when you fail in your examinations/interviews and proposals. When you are married for many years without kids, when you lose your loved one; when people reject your leadership in the church, when you are taken to court by your neighbor and lose; this is the time you need to yield and offer yourself totally and fully to God.
BRINGS JOY AND CELEBRATION AT THE END (VS 7).
The woman started with a cry for help. She was very down and distressful. She had no hope but she knew with God all will be possible.
Came to the man of God. The chief prophet who had a direct connection with God as per the scripture. He had the solution to this woman’s problem. The only thing she knew was that all things will work well and her shame will completely fade. Did you know that many young widow suffers a lot but no one to help them, from the in-laws to the rulers as well as some church leaders? But there is hope once you trust fully in God. Many will fail and lough at you when you are down; but prove that your God is alive and able and you shall triumph.
The collection of jericans is complete until there no more within the village. They are in their house behind the closed door waiting for the miracle to happen.
- to feed their own luxury: no,
- (1.) She must sell the oil to those that were rich, and could afford to bestow it on themselves. We may suppose, being produced by miracle, it was the best of its kind, like the wine (Jn. 2:10), so that she might have both a good price and a good market for it. Probably the merchants bought it to export, for oil was one of the commodities that Israel traded in, Eze. 27:17.(2.) She must pay her debt with the money she received for her oil. Though her creditors were too rigorous with her, yet they must not therefore lose their debt. Her first care, now that she has wherewithal to do so, must be to discharge that, even before she makes any provision for her children. It is one of the fundamental laws of our religion that we render to all their due, pay every just debt, give everyone his own, though we leave ever so little for ourselves; and this, not of constraint but willingly and without grudging; not only for wrath, to avoid being sued, but also for conscience’ sake. Those that possess an honest mind cannot with pleasure eat their daily bread, unless it be their own bread.
- (3.) The rest must not be laid up, but she and her children must live upon it, not upon the oil, but upon the money received from it, with which they must put themselves into a capacity of getting an honest livelihood. No doubt she did as the man of God directed;
- And hence,
- [1.] Let those that are poor and in distress be encouraged to trust God for supply in the way of duty.
- Verily thou shalt be fed, though not feasted.
- It is true we cannot now expect miracles, yet we may expect mercies, if we wait on God and seek to him.
- Let widows particularly, and prophets’ widows in a special manner, depend upon him to preserve them and their fatherless children alive, for to them he will be a husband, a father.
- [2.] Let those whom God has blessed with plenty use it for the glory of God and under the direction of his word: let them do justly with it, as this widow did, and serve God cheerfully in the use of it, and as Elisha, be ready to do good to those that need them, be eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame.
- [1.] Let those that are poor and in distress be encouraged to trust God for supply in the way of duty.