God has answers -- in every situation
“Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
‘Problems’ are part of human life. All of us have problems of one kind or another. God’s children are not immune to problems. The Bible teaches us that when problems arise, God provides answers too.
Today’s lesson describes a dire situation the widow of a prophet had to face. She had no money and she was at the end of her wits. Her debtors were threatening to take away even her children to be sold as slaves. Why would the family of a prophet face such a hard test in life? We do not know the right answer. But God did not forsake her and she receives timely deliverance through Prophet Elisha. The bounties of Heaven manifest in mysterious ways and God grants solutions to human problems.
Later in the chapter we read the plight of a “rich” woman, which is in sharp contrast to the problems faced by the poor widow. The ‘Shunammite’ woman takes good care of the needs of Prophet Elisha. She does not seek anything in return from the Prophet though she was living with a major problem – the burden of being childless. Elisha prophesied that she will bear a child within a year. She was blessed with a son, just as Elisha had said. That was not the end of her problems. Her child is taken ill and he dies. All her riches could not fix her problems. But she receives help from Heaven and her child is restored back to life.
The rest of Chapter 4 describes the difficulties the prophets of Israel had to face. There was famine in the land. At one stage, they were threatened with death by food poisoning. Prophet Elisha brings healing and a disaster is averted. We see that twenty barley loaves are multiplied that it was enough to feed a group of one hundred people. All these instances teach us a valuable lesson. God’s people are not guaranteed life without problems. What we could hope and pray for is guaranteed solutions to our problems at the time and in the way that God chooses to grant them.
We notice that human compliance is necessary in making God’s work manifest in our lives. The widow and her children had to go around and gather a lot of empty jars from the neighborhood before their problem could be resolved. The prophets had to bring in flour to help making their poisoned meal edible. People had to act as directed by Elisha before twenty barley loaves could feed a hundred people. We see parallels to these in the Gospels where people were called upon to act as a prelude to miracles. We need to be receptive and obedient to God’s instructions so that He would bring much needed resolution to the problems that we face in our lives.
Prayer: Lord, help us to look unto You and trust in You alone for solutions to our manifold problems. Amen.
Thought for the Day: “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12: 9)
Abraham Mathan, MTC Seattle.