Lessons We Can Learn From Elisha and the Widow and The Oil 


Have you ever been in a desperate situation and felt like all hope was lost? It is never fun to feel like you are at your wit’s end but sometimes, we find ourselves in dire situations and are compelled to seek help.

The story of Elisha and the widow and the oil is a good illustration of what it means to feel despair. Through this story, we see how God provides our needs through acts of faith, even in the most difficult situations. When the widow followed Elisha’s instructions, God multiplied her resources and gave her much more than she originally had.

The best part is that God is still working those miracles in our present day. In this blog post, we will examine what restored hope looks like through the story of Elisha, the widow and the small jar of olive oil. 

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The Story of Elisha and the Widow and the Oil 

There was a notable woman whose husband, a god-fearing man, had died, leaving her in a dire situation. She was the wife of a man from the company of the prophets. He had been a follower of the prophet Elisha.

Now, the widow, the wife of the sons of the prophets was left with a great debt and creditors were coming to take her two sons as slaves to pay off the debt. She was in desperate need of help and the widow’s situation looked dire, unsure of what the next moment or even the next year would look like.

With so much debt, she was desperate and in distress, the widow went to Elisha for help. Elisha, being a compassionate man of God, asked her what she had in her house. The widow replied that she had nothing in the house except a flask of olive oil.

Elisha then instructed her to go and borrow as many empty vessels as she could from her neighbors. He told her not to gather just a few, but to gather a lot of them. Once she had collected the jars, she was to go into her house with her sons, shut the door, and pour the little jar of oil she had into all the jars, setting aside the ones that were filled.

The poor widow did as Elisha had instructed through the word of the lord. As she poured the oil, a miraculous event occurred: the small amount of oil she had kept flowing until all the jars were filled. Astonishingly, even though she started with just a small jar of little oil, she was able to fill all the empty containers.

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Elisha, the holy man of God then told her to go and sell enough oil to pay off her debts. With the money from the sale of the oil, the widow had enough money and was not only able to pay off her debt but also had enough left to provide for herself and her entire house.

This great story shows how a seemingly insurmountable problem was solved through faith and obedience to God’s instructions. It is a demonstration of the widow’s faith, obedience, and the abundant blessings that come from trusting in God and following the guidance of His prophets. 

Where is the Story of Elisha and the Widow and the Oil in the Bible? 

The story of the widow and the oil can be found in the Bible in the old testament in 2 Kings 4:1-7. The widow’s name is never mentioned and the Bible does not provide any background information on her, but we learn that she was the wife of a member of the group of prophets.

Although we do not know her identity or her husband’s name, we can see that her husband was a follower of Elisha, in verse 1, she says “My husband who served you is dead and you know how he feared the Lord” NLT. 

Even though the widow was never named, we learn about her faith and trust in God’s providence. This story also reminds me of the story of Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath who only had a handful of flour and a little bit of oil which she was going to use to make the last meal for her and her son. Her generosity to the prophet elijah resulted in jars of oil for her and her family. You can read the full story of the destitute widow in 1 Kings 17:7-16.

What Does Oil Represent in 2 Kings 4? 

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, the oil can is a symbol of God’s provision and blessing. It represents the divine intervention and abundance that comes through faith and obedience. The oil in this story symbolizes:

  1. Gifts and Talents: God uses what we have and multiplies it to bless us and those around us. The widow had some oil and it was through what she had, that God was able to fill all those jars. God has blessed us with spiritual and earthly gifts that He is looking to multiply for us to enjoy and be a blessing to others under the guidance of the holy spirit. 
  1. God’s Provision: The widow’s initial possession of a small jar of oil represents her limited resources and dire circumstances. However, when she follows Elisha’s instructions in faith, the miraculous multiplication of the oil into many jars symbolizes God’s generous provision in times of need. It demonstrates that God can transform scarcity into abundance.
  1. Divine Blessing: The overflowing oil serves as a sign of God’s favour and blessing upon those who trust in Him and follow His guidance. It’s a reminder that God can work miracles and provide for His people when they turn to Him in times of crisis.
  1. Faith and Obedience: The story highlights the importance of faith and obedience in receiving God’s blessings. The widow’s obedience in collecting many empty jars and pouring the oil demonstrated her trust in Elisha’s instructions and, by extension, her trust in God. The oil symbolizes the rewards of faithful obedience.
  1. Redemption and Freedom: Oil was used in various contexts in the Bible, including anointing for consecration and in rituals symbolizing freedom and release from debt or servitude. In this story, the abundance of oil leads to the widow’s freedom from her debts and the potential enslavement of her sons. It represents liberation from her distressing situation.
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Lessons From The Story of Elisha and the widow and the oil

1. Faith and Obedience Bring Miracles

The story of Elisha and the widow and the oil teaches us the profound lesson that faith and obedience can lead to miracles. The widow’s unwavering faith in God’s ability to provide through Elisha’s guidance, despite her dire circumstances, showcases the power of trust in God’s plan.

Her obedience to follow Elisha’s specific instructions, no matter how unconventional they seemed, led to the miraculous multiplication of oil. This illustrates that faithful obedience can open the door to unexpected blessings.

2. God Provides in Unexpected Ways

The narrative emphasizes the idea that God’s provision often comes in unexpected ways. The widow had only a small jar of oil, seemingly insufficient to resolve her financial crisis. However, through God’s intervention, her limited resources became abundant.

This teaches us that God’s solutions may not always align with our preconceived notions or conventional wisdom. When we trust in God’s providence, we may find that blessings manifest in ways we never anticipated, reminding us of the limitless nature of divine provision.

3. God Cares for the Vulnerable

The story highlights God’s compassion for the vulnerable and marginalized in society. The widow, facing the imminent loss of her sons due to debt, represents those in desperate situations. God’s intervention not only rescued her from financial ruin but also safeguarded her family.

This demonstrates God’s concern for those in need, emphasizing the importance of compassion, empathy, and support for the less fortunate. It encourages us to extend a helping hand to those facing difficulties, recognizing that our actions can reflect God’s love and care in the lives of others.

4. God Turns Scarcity into Abundance

The multiplication of the widow’s oil from scarcity to abundance conveys a powerful message about God’s transformative power. In times of scarcity, whether it’s financial resources, emotional strength, or hope, God can miraculously turn our limitations into abundance.

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This serves as a reminder that our limitations do not limit God. Through faith and trust, we can experience God’s ability to transform our lack into plenty, showcasing His boundless grace and provision.

5. Gratitude and Stewardship

The story highlights the importance of gratitude and responsible stewardship of God’s blessings. After the miraculous multiplication of oil, the widow had a valuable resource in abundance.

This abundance was not meant for hoarding but for addressing her needs and debts. It teaches us the significance of appreciating God’s blessings, using them wisely, and sharing them with others. Gratitude for what we have, coupled with responsible stewardship, aligns us with God’s divine purpose and fosters a spirit of generosity and selflessness in our lives.

Final Thoughts on Elisha and the Widow and the Oil

The story of Elisha and the widow and the oil is a profound testament to faith, obedience, and the miraculous provision of God. Through the widow’s unwavering faith, we witness the transformative power of trust in the face of scarcity and desperation.

Her obedience to divine guidance, even when it seemed illogical, led to a miraculous multiplication of resources. This narrative illustrates that God’s blessings often come in unexpected ways and that faith, combined with obedience, can turn dire situations into opportunities for divine intervention for us and or a family member.

It highlights God’s compassion for the vulnerable and serves as a reminder that our limitations do not limit God’s ability to provide abundantly. From the widow’s story, we can draw essential character traits that resonate deeply with our lives. Her faith teaches us the importance of trust in the divine plan, even when circumstances appear insurmountable.

Her obedience exemplifies the value of following God’s guidance, even when it challenges our understanding. Her gratitude and responsible stewardship of the blessings received emphasize the significance of appreciating what we have and sharing our abundance with others. 

Emulating these traits—faith, obedience, gratitude, and stewardship—can guide us in our own journeys, helping us navigate challenges with trust, respond to divine guidance with obedience, and approach our blessings with humility and generosity.

The widow’s story is a timeless inspiration not only in biblical times but relevant to our lives today, reminding us of the boundless possibilities that unfold when we align our lives with faith and obedience, trusting in God’s help, abundant grace and provision. God is still doing miracles and with your faith and obedience, there’s no telling what we can achieve. 

Additional Women of the Bible Studies You May Like:

Lessons of the Widow of Zarephath

Lessons from Elisha and the Shunnammite Woman

Lessons from Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery

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