Bible study, Encouragement/Devotional, Faith, Financial Health, Growth, Lifestyle, Purpose

[Biblical Women’s History Month] Nothing except a flask of oil: An unnamed widow

Here we are again, for the second year in a row, celebrating women in the Bible for Women’s History month. Each week I will be featuring women from the Bible that may not be well known or highlighted often and see how they made an eternal impact in the Kingdom.

Well known pastor, author, and teacher, Dr. Tony Evans often says:

 If all you see is what you see, you will never see all there is to be seen. 

Dr. Tony Evans

Crisis has a way of affecting our vision. We need not look too far to see all the crisis that has affected our world on a global level just in the last year with COVID-19. And that’s not even taking into account the personal crises you may have taking place right now in your own life. It’s so easy to focus on all we think we have lost, what we don’t have or what we can’t do. We can easily miss what God may be trying to get us to see. Today, I want to challenge you to look again, in the midst of the crisis you may be facing, and think about this question as we learn from a widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7.

What DO you have? What is your “flask of oil” that you may be discounting as not enough?

This question provides an opportunity to take inventory, to pause, to appreciate, to look again, and to see differently. It is a question that was posed to a woman in crisis who we meet in 2 Kings 4. We are introduced to this unnamed widow who was in a crisis, in 3 different areas to be exact–emotionally, relationally and financially. It says she cried out to Elisha, the prophet, because her husband had died and was now faced with the possibility of losing her two sons to slavery because of her husband’s debt. She was now also a single mother and a widow. In these biblical times, widows in Israel were seen outside of the normal social structure of the community and could be a target for victimization and become destitute (poor, poverty stricken). Since she no longer had male protection with her husband’s passing, it was difficult to survive and she was considered inferior. If that wasn’t enough, she was in debt because of her husband and unable to pay. A creditor in these times was well within rights to seize property and/or take children as payment in these cases. (Job 24:9).

Now I don’t know about you all, but after pouring my heart out to a man of God, clearly explaining the dire situation that I am in with no hope in sight of how I am going to get through the crisis, I don’t want to be asked, “What do you have?”

This widow was sharing what she saw, the reality of her situation, and the prophet, by asking this question, caused her to pause and take inventory. Have you ever poured out your heart to God, told Him everything that is going on in your life, what you are frustrated about and how He needs to help you and then He answers you with a question? Am I the only one?! It’s frustrating, but purposeful.

In our inability to see, sometimes, in crisis, it will show up in our speech and what we say. Your speech is indicative of what you see or don’t see, your perspective and your faith. It shows you where you truly are. The widow’s response is indicative of where she was because she spoke out of the vision of the reality of her situation.

Nothing at all, except…a jar of oil.

2 Kings 4:2, NLT

What she saw was just one jar of oil (which happened to be in her house), but what she had represented so much more. In those times, oil was a major resource and provision and its production made up most of the economic prosperity of a region. She had something of value and didn’t even realize it.

Oil also represents the power and presence of the Spirit of God, the anointing (Exodus 29:7, 1 Samuel 10:1), was used to light lamps and provide vision (Psalm 119:105) and consecration, just to name a few. As you read through the rest of the story, Elisha gives her very specific instructions, which I unpack further in our online Bible study, but I want you to take note of this. She had enough vision to know what was in her house, what she had that may be of value, even if she didn’t have the faith to see all there was to see just yet. She did what the prophet said and followed his instructions. Her nothing except…one flask of oil turned into jars! Why and how? The widow was obedient and because she was God was able to multiply what she had. She literally went from nothing (limited vision) to except (some vision) to full to the brim!

Your “except”, that is, your jar of oil, can become a source of provision and a solution to the problem or crisis as well as sustenance to meet your needs.

So I ask you again:

  • What do you have?
  • What are you discounting as “nothing except a jar of oil”?
  • In what ways is God calling you to see differently in this season, to focus not on what you don’t have but what you do have?

As you are obedient with your flask of oil, watch Him multiply it into jars, that just may not only provide for you in your crisis, but solve the crisis altogether.

But before you go…

***Tomorrow is not promised. Today is all we have. If you are reading this and haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as Your Lord and Savior, would you consider doing so right now? Jesus died so He could have a personal relationship with you and so that one day, when you leave this earth, you can spend eternity with Him. You can say a prayer similar to this:

Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. You showed Your great love for me, while I was in my sinful state, by sending Jesus Christ to die for me. Today, right now, I declare that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. Please enter into my heart, Lord Jesus, forgive me of all of my sins, and seal me with Your Holy Spirit. I choose this day to live for You, all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you said this prayer (or something similar) and you truly meant it, welcome to the family of God! Angels in heaven are rejoicing with you on the best decision you will ever make in life, and so am I! Please send me an email ( or respond to this post so I can celebrate with you!

Then the Lord God made a woman

Genesis 2:22, NLT

Scripture references: The Holy Bible (NLT)

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Photo credit:, Photo by Roberta Sorge on Unsplash

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YouTube channel: LadyinWaiting 222

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