Sunday, April 14, 2013

Three Jars of Blessing

Three Jars of Blessing
April 15, 2013
2 Kings 4:6   "'When all the jars were full, she said to her son, 'Bring me another one.'  But he replied, 'There is not a jar left.' Then the oil stopped flowing.'"

In the Bible, oil was used to describe healing and blessing.  Oil was a luxury item, expensive.  Sure, it was accessible to anyone, but in small amounts.  A large amount of oil, a full jar, would be worth a lot of money.  Remember the woman who poured a full jar of oil (with perfume in it) on the feet of Jesus; it was worth a year's wages.  If you had a few large jars of oil sitting around, you'd be considered rich.  Oil was used as a trading commodity or type of currency, too.  In short, you wanted to have oil.

In the Old Testament, there was a widow whose late husband left her with a great deal of debt, not oil.  The woman didn't enter into the debt, her late husband did.  Despite her husband being described as "from the company of the prophets," he still had foolish debt.  If she didn't pay off the debt, however, her two boys were going to be taken as slaves.  It was a dire situation forced upon her, so she inquired of the prophet Elisha to see if he would speak to the Lord on her behalf.  The prophet told her to ask for jars from her neighbors, empty jars.  He was very specific that she should ask to borrow many years, not just a few.  So she did.  Then Elisha instructed her to start pouring oil into the jars, from the small amount of oil she already had.  She did and the oil kept flowing.  She started with a small amount of oil and poured until all the jars were full.  The oil just kept flowing; it was a miracle.  She asked her son to hand her another jar to continue, but when all the jars were full, the miracle oil stopped flowing.

The prophet told her to sell the oil to pay off her husband's debts, then live off the proceeds from any oil that remained.  Wow, she had enough oil to pay off a great amount of debt and then retire off the rest.  THAT was a lot of oil.  There are a few fantastic points to glean from this story of blessing.  The widow obeyed the word of the Lord and didn't question.  She obeyed it fully even though she had no idea why she was collecting jars.  She didn't know what miracle to expect but she walked in obedience.  Had she not walked fully in obedience, and only collected three empty jars from her neighbors, she would have only ended up with three jars of blessing.  Three jars was a small amount of blessing in comparison to what the Lord did for her.  When all the jars she collected were full, the blessing stopped.  Had she a few more jars than she originally collected, she would have been able to continue pouring the oil.  She would have had even MORE blessing.

The Lord blessed her in accordance with what she could manage.  She could manage exactly enough oil to fill exactly the jars she had collected, no more and no less.  In life, the Lord certainly does want to bless us but will not give us more blessing than we can manage.  This is why many of you don't have that suitcase of money show up on your front door step.  If you had a miracle amount of money, you might not be able to manage the blessing.  If you can't manage the blessing, He isn't going to give it to you.  He is not interested in a blessing leading toward your demise.  He wants you to be blessed from the blessing, but it requires obedience.

Many of us don't have blessings from the Lord because we don't always walk in full obedience to Him, despite the clarity of the instruction.  We might listen a little, but not always fully.  I wonder if you had been instructed to borrow empty jars from your neighbors, how many would you collect?  If you didn't know what was coming, would you collect three jars or 103 jars?  I'd like to think I would collected hundreds of jars, but in reality I would probably stop at five or six.  This is true of many of us; we receive much less of the Lord's blessing than He is willing and able to give.  While you might suggest you could handle more blessing, I'd suggest you can't.  Otherwise, you'd have it.
Don't take my word for it; look it up: Deut 28:1, 2 Chron 7:14, 2 Kings 4:1-7, James 4:3

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