Today’s AMI Quiet Time Devotional by Tina Hsu was originally posted on August 3, 2015.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Two Prerequisites to Experience God’s Miracle: Faith and Obedience”
2 Kings 4:1-7 (NASB)
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “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.” 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 except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few. And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sins, and pour out into all these vessels, and you shall set aside what is full.”…When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is no one vessel more.” And the oil stopped.
In this story, we meet a widow in great distress. Her husband is dead and she is not able to pay off her family’s financial debt. Her creditor threatens to take her two sons as slaves. In the ancient world, a widow is vulnerable to poverty and social alienation. After her husband’s death, a widow’s security is her son’s ability to provide for her. To lose her sons to the creditor would be a tragic loss for her. Here, she cries out to Elisha for survival and protection.
By obeying Elisha’s instructions regarding her small jar of oil, the widow and her sons experience God’s miracle. God takes her small amount of oil and multiplies it to fill several large empty vessels!
We can learn from this story that the experience of God’s miracles is directly related to our faith and obedience. We can’t work for or earn God’s miracles. However, as children of God, we are called to position ourselves to trust God and to readily receive His provision. The widow shamelessly asks her neighbors for vessels, shuts the door of her house, and begins to pour oil. She positioned herself to experience God’s miracle. Her neighbors might have wondered, “Why do you need all my jugs, buckets, and jars? Where will the oil come from?” By her obedience, she demonstrated her faith in what only God could do.
Second, in our distress, God invites us to offer to Him our “little jar of oil” or “empty vessels.” This is an act of trust, which demonstrates our belief that nothing is too hard for God. Surely, God will provide in His way!
I am encouraged by the widow’s faith and desire to see my anxious thoughts as an opportunity to believe in God’s miracle. Is there anything causing you distress today? What is the “little jar of oil” or “empty vessel” you can entrust to God? Be encouraged by Psalm 50:15, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
Prayer: Dear God, I confess to You my fears, distress, and anxieties today. Help me to trust in You and Your ability to provide abundantly. Give me the courage to believe in Your miraculous power, and help me to honor You through steps of faith and obedience.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 28
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (NASB):
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.”
Questions to Consider
- How did the apostle Paul respond to the affliction he faced?
- How did the apostle Paul encounter God in and through his suffering?
- In light of this, what does it look like to set your hope in God? How are you doing in trusting God as your hope?
- The apostle Paul, speaking about Timothy and himself, acknowledged that the affliction they faced in Asia was beyond their strength. They saw clearly that they had no control of their own lives. They saw the purpose of suffering as an opportunity to trust not in themselves, but in God, who is their deliverer and hope.
- Through his experience of suffering, he personally encountered God as the one who raises the dead. His encounter of God as deliverer enables him to declare in faith that God will continue to deliver him.
- Personal Response
Did you recognize any fears, doubts or unbelief in your heart today? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you confess the distress in your heart and to fully set your hope in God. What characteristic or attribute of God do you think He wants to reveal to you through your current circumstances?