Oil is a pretty important part of our world these days, it makes our cars run, it’s used in skin care products and pharmaceuticals are made from it and it is what we use in cooking a million and one meals.
Even though we use it for many new things today, oil has been an important part of life for several millennia. Primarily for it’s culinary uses and the ability to fuel light. The latter is one of the reasons we see it being used in the Bible as a symbol of the Holy Spirit (Compare the Anointing of David and that of Jesus, 1 Sam 16:13 and Luke 4:18-19 also see the Parable of the 10 Virgins in Matt 25:1-13).
Now that we have this in mind I want to take you back to a story in the Old Testament about a widow who was so poor, a creditor of her late husband was coming to take her children away to be slaves to pay the debt.
You can read the whole story in 2 Kings 4:1-7 but when she asks Elisha, the Prophet of God for help, he starts by asking her what she has available that is of any value. The only thing she has is a jar of oil. This was the firing pin for a very interesting thought.
Like the wise virgins from Matt 25:1-13 She knew that oil was precious, so precious it was the only thing left she had not sold.
God then (through Elisha) worked a miracle…
3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbours—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. 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.”
Worth noting is that, the blessing would be according to their faith. Their faith was shown by how many vessels they collected, and it sounds like they collected every one that was available, showing great faith.
Also, this was not to be showy or made available for the scrutiny of others, the door was securely shut. This also makes it abundantly clear that God did the miracle and there was no other intervention.
Now for the miracle
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. 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. 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.”
The oil lasted as long as it had empty vessels to fill, and when they were full, the supply dried up.
What about us
As the end times approach, the final outpouring of the Spirit will power the final witness to the world, and sustain the ransomed children of God. Like this woman in the story, the oil (Holy Spirit) will not fail while there are still empty vessels to fill.
It is up to us to ensure that we are empty of ourselves and ready to be filled with the Spirit and, like the virgins, be ready for the bridegroom when he comes to take us home.