The Poor Widow’s Oil

A poor widow came to Elisha after her husband died. She was in desperate need of any help the prophet could give her. She cried out to him, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves” (2 Kings 4:1).

Before we look at some lessons from the help that Elisha gave this widow, it is important to first notice a couple of facts about her deceased husband. The text states that he was one of the “sons of the prophets,” a servant to Elisha. Furthermore, his widow testified that he “feared the Lord” (2 Kings 4:1). This was not a worthless or wicked individual. He was a faithful servant of God and His prophet.

As we read the account of Elisha helping this poor widow, we see that God made provision for her – she was miraculously given enough oil to fill every container she was able to borrow from her neighbors. She was then able to sell the oil, solving her great financial dilemma (2 Kings 4:2-7).

Now, let us notice a few lessons from this story.
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“No Lack of Gain”

[This article was written by Bryan Dockens.]

The virtuous wife” brings her husband “no lack of gain” (Proverbs 31:10-11).

While maintaining a reasonable effort to keep her husband attracted (Proverbs 5:19; Song of Songs 7:1-9), the woman of valor acknowledges the fleeting nature of outward glamour (Proverbs 31:30). Instead, she chooses to emphasize inward beauty (1st Peter 3:3-4; 1st Timothy 2:9-10) and is therefore not one to waste the family’s hard-earned income on expensive clothing, fashion accessories, or cosmetics for herself. Similarly, gym memberships and exercise equipment are not considered priority expenses (1st Timothy 4:8).
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Leaving an Inheritance to One’s Grandchildren

Grandparent

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (Proverbs 13:22).

In this passage, the Proverb writer indicated that one of the marks of a good man is that he leaves an inheritance for his grandchildren.

Of course, when we study the Proverbs, it is important to remember that many of the statements are generalizations. One may be a good man and have no grandchildren to whom he can leave an inheritance. There may be financial circumstances in one’s life beyond his control that would prevent him from doing this. But in considering this passage, we should ask the question: What would it take for one to be able to leave an inheritance to his grandchildren?
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Know Well the Condition of Your Flocks

Sheep at sunset

Our country is in the midst of a recession. The economic outlook for the future is uncertain. Unemployment continues to rise. The national debt is ballooning at an astronomical rate. Naturally, people are worried about their financial situation, both for the present and the future.

Despite all of this, we have the responsibility to provide for ourselves (2 Thessalonians 3:10), our families (1 Timothy 5:8), and be able to help those in need (Ephesians 4:28). Paul told us of the importance of working hard so as to not be a burden to anyone (1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8). But how can we do this if the economy collapses?

Christians ought to first consult the Bible to see what instructions are contained there that would relate to this economic crisis. The proverb writer has a very important reminder for us that we should notice, particularly with the current progression we are seeing in this country.
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How to Handle a Recession

Recession

Many people in the United States are anxious about the country’s economy. This is understandable with all of the job losses, home foreclosures, and falling value of investments. These things do not just face this country, but many places in the world are also facing economic turmoil.

The book of Revelation warned of the fall of the Roman empire that was to come. Naturally, when the empire fell, the global economy suffered. Under Roman rule “the merchants of the earth [had] become rich” (Revelation 18:3). When Rome fell, the merchants would “weep and mourn over her, because no one [would buy] their cargoes anymore” (Revelation 18:11). “And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning” (Revelation 18:19). But the Christians in that day were to have a different perspective: “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her” (Revelation 18:20). While the merchants were mourning, Christians were rejoicing.

We should understand that the collapse of the American economy is not exactly parallel with the fall of Rome. Rome was punished by God for sin (Revelation 18:4-8). The United States suffers because of irresponsibility and other factors. But like the Christians in the early church, our perspective about these things should naturally be different from that of the people of the world. So let us look and see what principles we find in the Bible to help us handle our current economic hardships.
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Money Matters

Money in Pocket

Money is a matter of priority to many people in our society. As the economy is a concern in many places around the country, there is a tendency to worry about financial matters. As Christians, we must take heed to what God has instructed with regard to money. The Bible actually has quite a bit to say about the subject. We will consider some of God’s instruction that relates to our finances in this article.
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Contentment

Man looking out over the ocean

It is easy to get caught up in accumulating wealth and possessions in this life. We see people around us who are prosperous and have many of the things that we would like to have. So we are tempted to pursue those things. There is nothing wrong with possessing some of this world’s goods; but if that is our aim, we will be as unfruitful as the thorny ground in the parable of the sower. The “worries and riches and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:13) will choke out the word and leave us in a sad condition before the Lord.
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