2 Kings 4:1-7 part of Friday’s Bible study by Pastor Don.
Pastor Don taught more on these verses last night. Because he added extra information, I am bringing up this post and adding the new information in blue. I am constantly amazed at how rich the scriptures are!
I am going to ask Pastor Don how he goes about researching his Bible studies because he always “wows” me with his insights and I want to learn how to study the Bible like that! Prepare to be blessed.
Pastor Don began by recounting a few salient facts. Elijah mentored Elisha. There was a physical mantle that was passed down and Elisha stepped into the prophetic anointing given to him by Elijah. During one time when Elisha was consulted, he asked for the musicians to play 2 Kings 3:15 But now bring me a musician.” Then it happened, when the musician played that the hand of the LORD came upon him. Pastor Don reminded us that we have to learn what it is that we need to help us get into the presence of God. For some it could be music, others prayer, others a walk or a drive. Whatever it is that quiets our mind so that we are receptive to God’s Words. Pastor Don said that it is like putting our cars in idle, so that our mind is not running, and the Spirit then can come forth. We tend to be very busy in our lives and the devil knows that if we keep busy we will not quiet our minds to hear from God.
Pastor Don also reminded us that what God means for good, satan imitates for bad, and that also relates to music, which is why so much of our daily music is displeasing to God, for satan wants to replace praise and worship with something unholy. Someone asked Pastor Don about satan, and he brought us to these verses. Before he was cast down, satan used to be a “music minister” in heaven.
Ezekiel 28:13-15, 17 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering; the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you……(17) Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.
satan was blessed by God, made beautiful. He was a musician, but pride, the same pride satan tempts us with, caused him to be cast down.
Isaiah 14:11-18 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol (hell) and the sound of your stringed instruments; the maggot is spread under you, and worms cover you. How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart; I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ All the kings of the nations, all of them, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house.
Notice that lucifer says that he will be like the Most High. There can only be one MOST high.
Elisha, when acting as the prophet, used music to get himself into the presence of God.
Then we moved on to 2 Kings 4
2 Kings 4:1 A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “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 slaves.”
Pastor Don asked us how she knew Elisha and how Elisha might have known her. Chapter 2:3, 5 mentions the sons of the prophets. That there were different schools of prophecy, official organizations that followed the prophets around to learn from them. People were drawn to a particular prophet and chose him as a mentor. The mentee sees the one he wants to emulate. They would travel as a group, Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho, Jordan, etc. Those who identified with the particular prophet would follow him. They would come down at times to learn from their teacher, then go back to their homes and do the work around their property.
Jesus also had a circle of followers. His disciples and others, that were not as close as the 12. Not all choose to follow the mentor, remember the rich young ruler? Pastor Don then asked why John was not fearful of being arrested when he watched the unfolding of the trial of Jesus before the crucifixion. It was because John was known to be one of John the Baptist’s disciples in that school of prophecy. He and James later became Jesus’ disciples. But the people knew John as a disciple of John the Baptizer. This gave him access to areas the other disciples of Jesus could not enter, and then we were able to get an eyewitness account of what went on in the trial of Jesus.
2 Kings 4:1 the widow’s husband was a follower of Elijah and Elisha’s ministry. She is known to them, and it is known that she and her husband feared the LORD.
We have a basis on which to call on the mercy of God. Pastor Don told us that God will not be our partner in crime, his mercy will come on the basis of do you qualify. He then explained that if you are an employer and consistently pay your employees far less than they are worth so that you pocket money that rightly belongs to them, God can’t cause your business to prosper. Remember Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax collector, who after Jesus spent time in his house, promised to pay back taxes that were unjustly taken, and pay what he owed others. Then Jesus blessed him. If we are in sin in any area of our lives, we need to ask God’s forgiveness, make restitution as much as possible, and then God is free to let His blessings flow. (Heather’s note, God in His sovereignty knows how best to deal with our situation).
The widow in this chapter came upon hard times. Her husband may not have left enough money behind to help her and her sons. She may not have done her due diligence once he died. She did not have a plan for shortfalls. Her only plan, now is to sell her children. Unlike today, the widow did not have insurance, and if her husband did not leave her a sum of money she would be facing tough times. In those days families were large. Girls married and the sons-in-law would help the widow, as would the sons. Pastor Don pointed out that if Jesus had not spoken those words to John about taking care of his mother (He couldn’t leave her in the care of James his brother at the time, because James was not saved, so Jesus told John to take care of His mother) then he would have been in sin for breaking the commandment that required that children honor their mother and their father.
Someone asked about corban – and Pastor Don pointed out that that was a tradition of men, that a person who did not want to support their parents in their old age would give the money to the temple, and the priest would absolve the person from taking care of the parents. It meant that the parents would be leading hard, poor lives. This was definitely not what God had in mind, and Jesus was displeased with those who practiced corban.
The widow reminded Elisha why her husband was holy. 1. He was a faithful servant and 2. he feared the Lord (which we know is the beginning of wisdom).
2 Kings 4:2 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.”
Elisha wanted her to look at her assets. What’s available, to add up our gifts, talents and ability, our own assets before asking for help. Everyone has something, she had a jar of oil. In Hebrew, this jar was anointing oil, in those days oil was liberally poured on the head of a person, not just a tiny drop from a little vial. Pastor Don pointed out that God would never ask us for what we do not have. If we take the small amount we have and give it to Him, He will build a ministry on it. In one sense this widow lied, for she told Elisha that she had nothing – she redeemed that lie by mentioning the jar of oil. We all have something, and often when we focus on our lack we overlook what we do have.
Pastor Don then (as he said, laid a bombshell on us), saying that if we look at what we do have we will begin to see that what we don’t have is inconsequential. We need to take what we do have and multiply and build on that. Do your thing with confidence.
Another bombshell: Instead of thinking in terms of our limitations, think in terms of our expectations, how big can we think? Be grateful for what you do have. Pastor Don pointed out that yard sales have taught people that there are treasures in our junk.
Watch what God does if you give Him what you have!
2 Kings 4:3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors–empty vessels; do not gather just a few.
First Elisha had her take an inventory, then he asked her to gather empty vessels from neighbors. God shows up bigger than we think. Notice that in this case Elisha did not send for minstrels, there was not a need. This is a principle of God, that God will bless you if you are willing to give to God what you have, if you are willing to use a seed, and then He will bless you. God wants you to start with what you have and then He multiplies. Examples are Jesus and the loaves and fishes – a child gave him the loaves and fishes and they were multiplied to feed thousands. She had to gather the empty vessels. (Heather’s note, remember, it is all God’s anyway, we are not giving Him what is not already His, He wants to make sure that we are not owned by what we have, but rather that what we have can be used for the Kingdom).
2 Kings 4:4 And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.
She had to shut out the world. (Heather’s note, so often the world can spread doubt and derision and interfere with our faith. there are times when we need to shut out the world to make sure our focus is on God and that our thoughts are those of faith. I noticed that Elisha also told her to set aside the full vessels – so he is speaking into existence full vessels from that tiny seed of oil. One of our members pointed out that oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and that we are empty vessels that the oil can be poured into, and that when the Holy Spirit is poured into us, we pour the Holy Spirit into other’s lives.)
In this case the widow had to act in faith, she had to do what the prophet told her to do. So often today, when people are prophesied over they take the information and file it, they do not act on what the prophet said. The proof of the prophet is if you listen to the prophet and what He says occurs when you do your due diligence.
2 Chronicles 20:20 ….Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.
Pastor Don then talked about get rich schemes, etc. He points out that they work because the people take Biblical principles, and they sell those. Often with God removed from the mix. He gave as an example some of the infomercials where a real estate agent gets on and talks about how he got rich on real estate, and offers to sell the facts for $300 or more. Often that person is no longer selling real estate for he has realized that there is greater wealth in selling schemes about how to get rich off of real estate.
Pastor Don reminded us that there are many people in our church who are talented in areas we might need help in. That we have people who speak numerous languages, that have skill in business, and can help with advice. Pastor Don points out that he gives out financial counseling for free. And he also pointed out that libraries can help you get the information you need for free.
He then talked about the two types of wisdom that prophets give, The Word of Wisdom for the future and the Word of Wisdom for current situations. That we need to believe the prophet, prove him, and then we can prosper. If we don’t do what the prophet says, we won’t prosper. (Heather’s note: We have also been taught in the past that discernment is also vital, that we don’t act on a Word of Wisdom without checking that it agrees with the Bible, that it is something that God has already given us clues about, and that we are also doing things in God’s timing. What is also important is making sure who gets the glory, does the prophet claim glory for him/herself or does God get the glory.) Fear can kill the blessing as can embarrassment (which stems from fear). We need to trust God and obey God, even if it doesn’t always make sense in our “logical” minds.
2 Kings 4:5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out.
From an economic standpoint, when we are developing something, sometimes we close the door so that we don’t talk about what we are developing until we have it in final form. And this demonstrates God’s provision privately to this widow. What God wants to do, sometimes He has us do in private, then we can go public with the praise report.
2 Kings 4:6 Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased.
She could have kept pouring oil had she had more vessels. This is a good reminder about who is our neighbor, just next door, around the block, the next city, the world? When she used up all the empty vessels, the oil stopped. There is another Bible story where Elisha tells Joash to open a window and shoot an arrow (2 Kings 13:14-21) Joash shoots an arrow, then he is told to strike the ground with the arrows. He struck the ground three times and Elisha tells him he should have struck the ground five or six times, and then he could have struck Syria and destroyed it, but now he can only strike Syria three times.
God will give provision to us for as long as we are ready to receive, and he gives excess, beyond what we think He can handle. We are small in our own minds. So often we forget how BIG our God is. We need to always complete what it is God puts on our hearts to do.
2 Kings 4:7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”
This is an example of God giving in abundance, for she came to Elisha (verse 1) and asked only to pay her creditors, but God gave her not only that, but enough to live on. Pastor Don pointed out that we should not let people get us believing that we have to live on “just enough to get by.” He wants us in overflow, there is a seed time and a harvest. Sometimes God gives us what we need, but He also hears our wants. When the time is right, He delights in giving us our wants too, but it again has to do with God’s timing. He knows what we need and when we need it.
Another bombshell: Everyone can’t go with you where God takes you. You have to go forward and not everyone wants to go forward with you. Some are detrimental to you. If you decide you want to live clean and leave the crud, those who you hung out in the crud with will not want you free from the crud. If they went where you are going – to the clean – then they would have to be changed, and some don’t want to leave the crud. You can’t drag people along with you, you can bless them and pray for them and be there when they decide to leave the crud.
We continued on with this incredible study for the rest of 2 Kings 4, which I will share with you tomorrow. Including new stuff. We do serve an awesome God. I pray you are blessed today, blessed and highly favored.
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