Wednesday, January 30, 2002

A Study Of The Miraculous - Part IV

A Study Of The Miraculous – Part IV


and shalt pour out into all those vessels,

* It is understood here that she was the one to do the pouring. Later in verse 5 we see that indeed she did. This gives support to the idea that it can be important who has their hand on the miracle. I have seen time and again spiritual doors which would not open for one, open wide for another. I have seen adventures which for the most part were solid and wisely approached fail under the direction of one person and later flourish in the hands of another. Watching and discerning this phenomenon along with scriptural confirmations and spiritual revelation, I have concluded that at times it is critical that the person chosen and envisioned by God for a matter, be the person who has the direction of that matter.

* We have a saying here at GTCOTR that “If it’s your baby, you raise it.” Why?

*There are usually ten good ways to do any one thing. The person who is going to be doing it is often the best person to determine how it is done. This is, however, preempted when there is only one way to do it and only one person chosen to do it. Hence, we need to know the difference between doing good stuff for God and then being directed by God to do God stuff. There is a difference between Good Stuff for God and God’s Stuff.

* When someone comes to me with a great idea which deserves to be done but is not being done, often the person that brings the deserving idea to focus is the person I enlist to manage the formation of that service or ministry. The Apostle Paul said of Timothy in Philippians 2:20 (For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.) There is a natural care in a mother for a baby and a natural care for those who birth visions, businesses, ministries and other enterprises. No one will care for it like the creator of it. It’s the same principle of whose responsibility was it to take care of mankind. Who had to come up with the plan and pay for it? Who had to give of their time and energy even when others who had much to gain could not or would not lift a finger to fix it. Who goes home and who stays and works when it’s quitting time and the job is not done yet. These are people who have a natural or spiritual care for the work and these are the people one can entrust to direct it. These are Birth Mothers and Handmaidens of the Lord. Male or female birth mothers and handmaidens.

* Many have the gift of pointing out the blatantly obvious.

* Some think that there is a shortage of vision in the church. Most often there is no shortage of vision but rather a shortage of readily available resources, either money or personnel who are committed to see the project through. Almost any person who has gone through puberty can create a child, but that doesn’t mean that they have the wherewithal to parent and properly raise the child to stand on its own, care for itself and reproduce responsibly. Still, the person who envisions and gives birth is often the best person to see the matter through and create structure; while enlisting others and delegating responsibilities to others who can help develop or maintain the vision. Bottlenecks are no good but neither are floods. We need structure to flow productively.

* So, keep your hand on your miracle. Especially for things which you believe in but are not working for those you appoint to make it happen. When doing your best does not do the job and the job still has to be done, you may not be the one to do it. When others doing their best to do the job and it is not getting done, they need to be replaced.

* 2 Kings 4:29 Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child. You may have a great staff, good friends and family, loyal servants and employees who will do it exactly like you say but just keep failing. If this is so it may be that you are the only one anointed to make it work.

* If a quarter back is afraid to hand off the ball to others on the team and always has to run it himself, you have a problem that needs to be fixed. However, at some critical and strategic moments when yardage is a must, he is the best one, first in line and closest to the goal to run the ball himself. Some miracle moments are keepers.

* Notice that she was told to pour out into ‘all’ those vessels. Don’t get tempted by tiredness or ‘just get enough’ thinking and quit in the middle of your miracle. Each miracle is designed by God to furnish what He has determined we need and not what we may think we need. The widow only saw herself needing to satisfy the creditors. God wanted to bless her much more than just her need. He supplied her need according to His riches and He desired to do exceeding abundantly above what she thought or asked for. Let the miracle run its full course and you may be blessed beyond your wildest imaginations. Don’t quench the Holy Spirit of God.

* Even the miraculous can be hard work. Don’t get tired and quit.

* ‘Those vessels’ represent the empty vessels. One reason for pouring into empty vessels is that God did not want to have a mixed batch miracle. There is a difference between anointed oil and oil that is not anointed. Jesus came to His own and His own did not receive Him, so He turned and went to an empty people who sat in darkness. When the anointing of God is poured into containers in an attempt to top them off and give them an appearance of Godliness; the miracle which could have been is lost. Man as a vessel cannot be two thirds filled with the worlds goods and just add a little of God on the top to smooth things over and make them appear to be filled with God. Jesus sees right through that and says that the whole container is corrupt. He said to the religious of His time that they should not cleanse the outside and leave the inside unclean or allow sweet and bitter to come forth from the same well. Empty out, clean out, make the inside clean and then what you put into the vessel will determine its cleanliness or its corruption. All in all, God does not want a bad rap for the oil not His.

Sunday, January 27, 2002

An Eternal Perspective



Revelation 20

10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

11 ¶ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21

1 ¶ And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

“Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” Corrie Ten Boom

Every person you meet, each encounter is designed by God either for your benefit or for the benefit of others. Oh to glean from the eternal mindedness of God and shower this temporal realm with everlasting sprinkles of life.

C S Lewis, in his classic sermon Weight and Glory, reminded us that “…we are seated next to immortal beings. We eat with, work with, disagree with and live with immortal beings.”

David Shibley says in his book, Heavenly Incentives for Earthly Living, “Every person you have ever known will live forever - somewhere.” His or her destiny is either eternity with Christ or eternity without Him. So we should wrap arms of love around people. We should extend evangelistic warmth and compassion to non-Christians, and nonpartisan fellowship and love to fellow Christians.”

Somewhere a Spirit of Evangelism must again be planted and take precious root in our churches and in the everyday lives of common Christians.

Who will look past the present pressures of life and position themselves to impact eternity?

Who will deny themselves, take up their own cross and follow Jesus?

Who will obey the Great Commission out of a passion for the Great Commandment?

Let me tell you who …

* who will leave the pursuit of success and rather seek significance.

* who will discover their purpose and pursue their destiny

* who will uncover the deception that riches satisfy and that power and position bring pleasure and security

* who will enter heaven with a “well done good and faithful servant” welcome from God Almighty.

Let me tell you who … those who dare to:

* See the invisible (The servant of Elisha 2 Kings 6:17)

* Hear the inaudible (Sheep John 10:27)

* Embrace the imperishable (Eternity 1 Peter 1:4 & Matthew 6:20)

* Can do the impossible (Destiny Luke 18:27 possible with God)

You were created with an eternal purpose in mind. (Jeremiah 1:5)

You were created for something you cannot possibly do. (John 14:12)

If all you are doing is all you can do, then God is doing nothing in your life

A precious lady named Pearl Goode began to read and hear in the early 1950’s that God was raising up a national evangelist. This Methodist laywoman was impressed by God to assist this young preacher not so much with money, although she did give, but mostly by prayer. Perhaps she saw the invisible, maybe she heard the inaudible and embraced the imperishable in her attempt to accomplish what might have seemed to some as impossible.

Pearl Goode wrote to Billy Graham’s office in Minneapolis and requested his crusade schedule. Then, for the next several years, unknown to anyone, she would travel to the crusade city, check into an inexpensive hotel and lock the door. Throughout the days of the crusade she would pray down God’s power and blessings on the young upstart evangelist, asking God to give him a national anointing and return our country to God; one crusade, one family, one soul at a time.

Pearl Goode was committed to an eternal perspective.

What is a life committed to an eternal perspective?

A life committed to an eternal perspective is a life:

* Committed to Prayer

Without prayer one may never see the invisible and hear the inaudible.

* Committed to Praise

Without praise one might never sense the awaiting imperishable mansions, streets of gold, angels singing and immortal saints gathering. Heaven awaiting us!

* Committed to People

Without a commitment to others what would be the motivation, inspiration or reward of attempting impossible dreams

One seldom serves Jesus in this life without serving people.

Allow me to encourage you to:

* Look for the invisible hand of God which others do not see

* Listen for the inaudible voice of God which others do not readily hear

* Envision the imperishable things of God which others cannot imagine

* Endeavor to accomplish impossible dreams for God which others will not attempt

Let’s pray for us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

A Study Of The Miraculous - Part III

A Study Of The Miraculous – Part III


4 And when thou art come in,

* Timing is a critical factor in receiving from God. It is like the acorn which contains a prerecorded message of success. Given the chance it will play out its destiny and become a whole forest. For this potential to be capitalized on it must abide its season of waiting so that when the timing is right, it breaks open to press toward destiny. If it opens too early or too late or in the wrong place, it will die never having fulfilled its destiny potential. But given the chance, all of the powers of creation are released to aid it and carry it to its greatest day.

* We must listen not only to what to do, but also how to do it and when. Many fail because they strike out prematurely. Having received a calling from God they immediately run out and do damage not having properly prepared. A calling is an invitation to come and be prepared. Many are willing to be used by God but are unwilling to be fully prepared for use. Matthew 22:14 “Many are called but few are chosen.“

* Once prepared, servants are chosen to be sent. We must first be prepared and then wait for the season or timing to be right.

* In Acts 9:31 the churches are reported to finally have rest from their enemies and comfort of the Holy Ghost and multiplied increase after the newly converted Saul of Tarsus was pressed out of the city. The young convert was continually stirring up opposition and in his zeal was perhaps out of time with the desire of God for the Jerusalem church. Anyway, his leaving was best and necessary.

thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons,

* Who you work with does make a difference. There is a marked difference between secret and exclusive, between things public and things private. Some things require a high level of sensitivity and expectancy without the common distractions of nay-sayers and the critical minded skeptics. God does not want us burdened down with the weight of doubtful darts and probing questions when we are engaging in such critical moments of the miraculous. He even shut up the mouth of Zacharias the priest in Luke 1, so that he could not sow seeds or doubt or disbelief to thwart God’s intervention into earth’s destiny. The 10 doubtful spies of Numbers 13 & 14 weighed heavily on those candidates for miracles and pushed them completely out of miracle territory and they died without reaching what could have been.

* Watch who you partner with. Who you are connected to can determine your destiny.

* Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

* Who you include in your inner circle can limit your outcome.

* Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you

* Jesus did not include all twelve of the disciples in every miracle He did. He took only His closest 3, Peter, James and John to the mount of transfiguration and in to raise the little girl from the dead. (Matthew 17) and Mark 5:37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

* You and those closest to you … sons and daughters born in your house. These are the ones you can depend on in times of great need. These will fight with you, not against you, but with you against the odds. Genesis 14:14

* It is important to know those who labor with you in the Lord. 1Thess 5:12. As well we are admonished to mark them which cause divisions and offenses among us and avoid them. Romans 16:17

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

A Study Of The Miraculous - Part II

A Study Of The Miraculous – Part II


3 Then he said, Go,

* Two thirds of God is Go! Human action is most often a required element preceding divine intervention. What would have been the outcome for Namaan if he had not have went and dipped seven times in the Jordan River? (2 Kings 5) What would have been the end of the story of Noah had not have built the ark, (Genesis 7), or Moses had not have gone down into Egypt, (Exodus 3) or if the widow of 1 Kings 17 had not have made the prophet Elijah a little meal cake first?

* One’s refusal to do their simple part is often the single downfall of God’s great plan for mankind. Go, here, is not a suggestion nor an option, but a command. When speaking with the lawyer of Luke 10:25, Jesus concludes the parable of the good Samaritan and solves the question of who is neighbor in verse 37 by saying, “Go and do thou likewise.” Go and do are two cornerstones of the Christian’s gospel responsibility whether they are seeking salvation for themselves or others.

borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours,

* Sometimes when one does not possess what they need to get them from where they are to where they are going, borrowing is God’s provision for the interim. Deuteronomy 15:6 & 28:12 give us to understand that God’s aim is to bring us to the place where we will not need to borrow but shall be the lenders. In Exodus 3:22 & 11:2 the Israelites were instructed by God to go and borrow silver, gold, jewels and clothing from the Egyptians before leaving Egypt and thus spoil their captors. These borrowed riches of the sinners would later be used to make the instruments of worship for the wilderness tabernacle.

* God is not against borrowing.

* Borrow with a plan and plan not always to have to borrow.

* Borrowing is also a test of humility. Will one obey God when they must first humble themselves in the sight of others. Will one admit that they need and then ask for that need to be contributed to? The humility of simply asking for help is and has always been one tenant of receiving the miraculous.

* Most often in the bible we see God requiring people to participate in their miracle. God even demands people participate in their miracle and deliverance. There is also an element of merging the natural with the supernatural to make a miracle. In 1 Kings 17 Elijah’s miracle comes from both the natural brook and the supernatural supply of raven’s food. When the brook dries up Elijah is not sustained only on the supernatural for God could have made water to flow from a rock or a jawbone of a donkey as He did for others in their hour of need. (Exodus 17; Numbers 20; Judges 15). Elijah was instructed to proceed to his next miracle location which would require a natural supply from a widow’s meal bin and the local drought proof well and the supernatural supply from God’s increasing hand.

* Where God is unable to motivate people to supply what they can and give what they have, He often does not perform miracles. This is also true where the only ingredient required from the lost and hurting is trust in God’s goodness and power. (Matthew 13:58 & Mark 6:5)

even empty vessels;

* My brother once told me that the hardest position to fill is one with someone in it. I think this true as well as its application to miracles. Perhaps many are not spiritually filled because they have not yet emptied themselves of the non-spiritual filling from the world. I am not talking about stuff. You can have stuff and stuff not have you. This was the barrier to the young rich ruler in Matthew 19:21 and Mark 10:21. Again I quote from my brother’s wisdom: Jesus did not say give up as the man heard, Jesus said give to.” The young rich ruler went away sad because his stuff had him and that’s what Jesus was concerned about. Jesus wanted the man to give the riches of his house in which he trusted to Him. It would have blessed the poor, met many needs but those things were incidental to the main purpose. This man would have emptied himself in such capacity that he would have been filled from heaven with true riches that would never fade, be stolen or corrupted. There is such potential in empty vessels.

* Full vessels are at their greatest day.

* For over two decades this concept of seeking empty vessels and lifting them to God to fill has been at the forefront of my church growth and kingdom expansion philosophy. Like Kendal Bevil, an elder in our church, once shared with me, even chickens die off to the size of the coup. When what we are pouring into is not filled yet, there is a freedom to expect more to come from God. When all we have is satisfied then there is no greater expectancy.

borrow not a few.

* Now this is certainly where many people can really limit themselves and the hand of God willing to move for them. The prophet knew that he should direct her to get a big vision of supply. A vision that would more than meet her immediate need. A vision that would supply her and her family for many days to come so that she would not fall prey to needing another miracle for her daily bread.

* If you are going to go for a miracle anyway, what is the use of wasting all that God can and will do on just barely meeting your desperate temporary need. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all you could think or ask according to what is working on the inside of you. (Ephesians 3:20)

* Your required ingredients for a miracle include:

> trust in His goodness and willingness

> emptying yourself before Him

> humility to see your need and ask Him for help

> you may as well ask big … bigger than you may actually need right now.

* Don’t limit God.

> Psalms 78:41 … they limited the Holy One of Israel

> 2 Kings 13:18-19 King Joash limited his future miraculous victories by his own limited actions. Elisha was angry with him for not getting more.

> About 6 years ago I was praying about the church purchasing a van and I took a drive to get away and pray. As I sat at a red light on Twin City Highway I began praying in the spirit. I was agonizing over the expenditure of these resources. The need was evident and growing but I was wanting assurance from the Lord that He would provide. I knew and operated under the principle that under normal circumstances God only pays for what He orders. I was not looking for a miracle I was looking for the divine guidance we need to order our normal daily lives in respect to need verses income. I really wanted to be wise. At that red light God’s voice invaded my moment and I heard Him clearly speak louder than my thoughts interrupting my thinking and praying. He simply said, “When it is all over and done with, I would have been willing to give you more than you will get … (there was a pause for a second and then He said) … go for it.” This gave me a whole new point to consider when considering kingdom matters that may stretch me beyond my current means and even often into the realm of the miraculous.

* Don’t Limit God

> John 10:10 Jesus came to give you abundant life

> 2 Peter 1:3 and all things that pertain to life and Godliness

> 2Peter 1:4 … exceeding great and precious promises

Sunday, January 13, 2002





Opening Scripture: 2 Peter 1

1 ¶ Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5 ¶ And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

12 ¶ Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

We have not been nor shall we be slack concerning kingdom matters:

>we have prayed for harvest

>we feel it reasonable to expect harvest

>since we expect harvest

>prudence has dictated that we responsibly prepare for harvest

Soon many will wake up to realize that we are right in the middle of the last days, an end time revival which will turn hearts of fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. Many will come from the North, South, East and West and sit in the kingdom of God with us. God will marry sons and daughters to the vision of His house and He will call kings and queens to be true nursing fathers and nursing mothers for His children. Nations will humble themselves and bow to the truth of God’s grace. National leaders will call on proven ministers and ministries of the Lord to help guide them in the difficult times and decisions they face.

Fortunately we have been taught many truths. Truths such as the four crowds a person can run within a church, in a business adventure, in a home or any corporate endeavor. Numbers 14 delineates these potential subgroups crying out for membership and leadership.

>the go over crowd

>the take over crowd

>the been over crowd

>the it’s over crowd

In the past we have also learned together the four categories of tests each individual goes through in life and kingdom pursuits.

>the valley test

>the mountain top test

>the waiting test

>the test of finished

We have experienced the three choices a person has when faced with obstacles.

> go forward

> go backward

> go nowhere

We understand that

> although your reward depends on you

> often your success depends on others

> and others successes often may depend on you

Together we have found God’s three fold plan for our lives:

> Make a living

> Make a life

> Make a difference

Some time past we learned that God has already determined what He wants to do.

>for you

>to you

>in you

>through you

And we do not allow:

>what works on you

>to be what works in you

>because it will work through you

We are assured that God makes a way in our wilderness, our challenge is to find that path which God has already created and not to create our own.

God has predetermined what He will do

Each one of us needs to determine what we will do for Him.

Working for God At Your Highest Level Will Require 5 Things

1. That you make your calling & election sure (2 Pet 1:10)

>You have a life scripture

>You have a life calling

*And burdens along the way

>You have a life message

>You have a life destiny

2. That you embrace the dream God dreams for you (Hab 2:2)

3. That you endure the journey (2 Tim 2:3)

4. That you finish the course (Acts 20:24) (w/joy)

5. That you keep the faith (2 Tim 4:7)

6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Wednesday, January 9, 2002

A Study Of The Miraculous - Part I


A Study of the Miraculous



Lesson One:

Commentary by Reverend DR R. L. Hammonds

2 Kings 4 The Miracle:

1 ¶ Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, …

* The wife of a man who had been a student in the school of the prophets under Elijah’s ministry most likely from Bethel. (2 Kings 2:3) These were for the most part non-Levitical, non-priestly men who felt called and compelled to learn the ways of the Lord and dedicate their lives to His service. Since the days of Samuel and continuing throughout the Old Testament period, men who entered the school of the prophets were prepared to stand beside monarchy and the priest, to guard the nation and to proclaim and protect the God ordered rules of life and reward. Schools were established at Ramah, Bethel, Gibeah, Gilgal and Jericho. Before Elijah’s final departure he found it desirous to visit these schools and give parting instruction to the young prophets.

* In answer to the call of God, she and her husband had relegated their lives and futures to a meager existence. In these times of spiritual drought for the masses of people, without a secure job and secular occupation, those who had dedicated their lives to serving God could not expect income as it was almost non-existent and certainly undependable.

* Perhaps it is because she had learned the value of a Godly man’s counsel from having a husband so committed to God. Now in her desperate moment she seeks out the advice of one she trusts as a true servant of the Lord.

saying, Thy servant my husband is dead;

* This evidently was a sudden and unexpected death that had not been prepared for. As often does, sudden departures, even of servants of the Lord, can cause great and continuing hardship on those left behind to manage the affairs of life.

* Since Elisha is Elijah’s recognized successor and chosen replacement, 2 Kings 2:15, it seems reasonable that this widow would go to Elisha for assistance in solving her problem. Thus she continues:

and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD:

* The widow establishes that her late husband was not a careless nor reckless man who did not pay attention to his affairs but rather this statement lends credibility to the thought that he died suddenly and without fair notice or opportunity to make arrangements himself for the payment of his debt and provision for his family after his death.

* The widow is saying to Elisha that he too was personally familiar with her husband’s service to God and spiritual credibility.

and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.

* The husband has left family debt that the widow and surviving sons cannot pay.

* Even though they have faithfully and fearfully served the Lord and been employed by choice and at personal cost in the spiritual service of God’s Kingdom, nonetheless, the current laws of the land apply to them. One cannot claim to be exempt nor excused from the laws governing others just because they have given their all in service to God. Even Jesus paid taxes, rendering custom to whom custom is due. (Luke 20:25) The Apostle Peter encourages saints to obey every ordinance of man while the Apostle Paul encourages us to submit to the magistrates in place. (1 Peter 2:13 & Romans 13)

* The two sons, regardless of age, must by law fulfill the contract of payment either by monetarily satisfying their father’s debt or by serving out the debt as slaves until the year of Jubilee does set them free again.

* This woman’s cry was for the freedom of her sons. She no doubt is crying, as well, for her own recent loss and fearing the added loss of her only two sons, which seems an unbearable event.

2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee?

* It is unclear from which frame of mind Elisha ask this question. Whether he is truly wondering or from an attitude of despair as to what to do. Even seasoned men of God can and do feel both when faced with solving others’ problems in the visible place of God. The Apostle Paul rehearsed that daily there came upon him the care of all of the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28) and he wondered at times if he had actually run and sown and laboured in vain. (Galatians 4:11) No matter, genuine care and dedication was present in the prophet’s life and actions.

* It is perhaps certain that Elisha knew that there was nothing which he, of himself, could do. This would require a miracle and thus he needed to move this woman into a position to receive from God. In order for a person such as this to receive a miracle they must:

> first be motivated to depend on God and not the arm of man;

> next they need offer what they have to God for His touch;

> then they must obediently follow the prescribed course of action required for God’s intervention: (this can be anything from dipping in the river Jordan seven times, to walking the isle at a church and humbly submitting to the laying on of hands for help); and

> finally they should use the blessings and benefits received for that which God intended when He thus blessed them.

*Perhaps Elisha is using this interim time to think of a way to move this woman into faith filled action or maybe he is waiting to receive divine direction from God. At any rate there seems appropriate to the moment a certain pause after this question and before the next one.

tell me, what hast thou in the house?

* It might seem to some that a true prophet of the stature of Elisha could have already discerned what it was that the woman had in her house. This brings to mind two possibilities of which both are, at times, true.

> First: Even true and gifted men of God do not always know everything, even about the works and miracles they themselves are involved in. (such as the Prophet Nathan: 2 Samuel 7)

> Next: Often men of God, though they know, they await others to come to the knowledge as though arriving at it by themselves. People guided to truth who uncover it often feel more joined to it since they feel they discovered it.

* Note the prophet is going to identify something personal and costly to the widow … something in her house. Even though she has recently lost much, still the road to her salvation is to offer yet more of what she has. Much like the widow of 1 Kings 17, this woman must act in faith for her miracle. Trusting God is often easier when it is out of one’s abundance, however, seldom does that type of action produce miracles for the ones who supply even though it often is a miracle for those who receive.

And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house,

* She evidently did not go immediately running to Elisha, but rather had waited, most likely trying every other natural means to supply. Now, only when she possesses nothing, do her creditors come as vultures, in their right advance, to lay claim to her most prized possessions. It can seem like when all else has left you and there is no ability in reserve, that the problems of life unfairly pile onto the shoulders of God’s people. Through necessity many finally despair of any other way and turn to the way, Jesus.

save a pot of oil.

* The things we so lightly esteem are often raised to become our salvation. God chooses the simple things of this world and the things which are nothing to bring about great things. (1 Corinthians 1:28) Little David, from the backside of the desert, tending a few sheep, was brought from obscurity to greatness in the hand of the Lord. (1 Samuel 16:11 & 17:28) God has decided to place more of His honour on the unseemly. (1 Corinthians 12:23) In our humility we are exalted and in His gentleness are we made great. (1 Peter 5:6 & Psalms 18:35) It is in the weak of this world that God chose to place His greatest treasure. (2 Corinthians 12:10) These ignorant and unlearned men, earthen vessels or clay, just because they had been with Jesus were elevated to eternal recognition as their names are written on foundation stones of our new Jerusalem, the holy city ascending down from God. (Acts 4:13; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Revelation 21:14) As then, so now, the stone that the builders rejected becomes the head of the corner. (Matthew 21:42)

* how appropriate to have only a little oil become much more than was enough. Oil is representative of the Holy Spirit in the house. At one time there was most likely much more in abundance and in reserve. Probably there was a plentiful supply for the daily needs of the home and family, any unexpected visitors and even enough to share with others in need. Now, with the loss of the spiritual head of the house, the oil had dwindled. However, the great truth is seen in that only a little of the Spirit of God is enough when given proper attention, miraculous opportunity and first place in the home. It is enough to meet any need and solve any problem and last for the season to come.

* What grace can pour from an earthen vessel containing oil in the hand of God.