Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slave 2 Kings 4:1 (NKJV)
It is the vexatious matter of financial challenges and debts even among God’s elect, and how to overcome them.
Though this article is taken entirely from a biblical perspective, I do not intend to pontificate here but merely wish to point out some lessons as they hit me while reading the Bible’s rendition of the debtor-prophet’s widow’s encounter with prophet Elisha, as related in 2 Kings 4: 1-7.
Lesson 1: Even God’s people can run into debt!
Vs. 1 - We see that even though the late prophet had been a servant of God, who feared his maker; he had died a debtor, and left his family in potential slavery to the creditor. So, even God’s own people may find themselves in embarrassing debts and related financial challenges. The point I am trying to make here is that unless a man of God embraces principles of money generation and prudent money management, he might just as well find himself in debt! It was Bishop David Oyedepo of the Winners’ Chapel fame that said that God has given us brains so we can give Him rest. How so profound! So, the fact that we worship God faithfully and ‘without sin’ is not a guarantee that we will not fall into embarrassing financial situations if we are not prudent enough; if we do not develop and exercise our God-given intellect in managing funds. God is wise and His people need to be wise too!
Lesson 2: God needs to locate with us something to help us, no matter how small.
So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said,“Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.” (Vs. 2). The first question Elisha asked the woman was concerning what she had in the house; what was it that God could find with her, which would form the basis for God to help her, no matter how small. God needs that He finds something with us, as a platform for His blessing; something He can use as a sort of start-point for His help. The Bible never preaches God’s blessing is nothing, but rather that He would bless the works of our hand; in other words, that he would multiply whatever he finds with us - but He has to find something with us. That is the principle, and God honours principles!
Lesson 3: We need to provide Him with the space to work.
In verse 3, Elisha told the woman to go and borrow as many empty vessels as she could find. The first lesson here is that she obeyed, therefore providing the space for the miracle. Moreover, the empty vessels can be related to Lesson 2, and represent the medium through which God would perform the feat. In today’s parlance, this could be a job, a business venture or anything that may for now appear ‘empty’ or not so productive to us but faith would make us hang on to them.
Lesson 4: We must keep mum while God is performing His work
Vs. 4 - Elisha had directed the woman to shut the door on herself and her sons and not make a public show of God’s work (until it was done). I believe that, had the woman been going around telling others about what God was about to do, she could have lost the miracle or at the least delayed or whittled it. So while undergoing the process of planning to repay your debts and get out of that financial challenge, keep the plans to yourself. This is also known as the Pressure Pot Principle.
Lesson 5: God will not stop blessing us until there is no longer a medium
Vs. 6 – The oil did not cease until the vessels were exhausted. When God determines to bless you, you need to play your part for God to play His; and your part is simply to provide him with a medium to bless you through. As long as the medium exists and as long as you remain true to His will, the blessing will flow.
Lesson 6: When God does it, we need to honour him with a testimony
Vs. 7 – The blessed widow came and told the man of God what she had experienced. It was not by accident that this part of the story was recorded in the Bible. It is part of your duty to give testimony to what God does in your life both to glorify His name publicly and also to help build the faith of the hearers of your testimony.
Think about this and stay inspired in His presence!