2 Kings 4

Prayer

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation (Psalm 68:4-5). Amen!

Today’s Hymn

Charles Wesley

Words: Charles Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739, alt. Music: Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn, in his cantata Festgesang an die Künstler, 1840 (second movement, Vaterland, in deinem Gauen); the cantata celebrated the 400th anniversary of Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press.

HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING
Click here for tune.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem!

Refrain
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Refrain

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Refrain

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

Refrain

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

Refrain

Thought Provoker

There are many unscrupulous people who are quick to take advantage of helpless orphans and widows. From its inception our nation has taken on its God-given role of protecting the helpless. President Abraham Lincoln expressed it well in his Second Inaugural Address,

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan…”.

As we will see in today’s chapter this charity has its roots in almighty God.

Dad’s Study

This chapter introduces a tragic story of an unnamed widow who was left in debt with two boys. Verse 1 gives a short legacy of her husband. He was a Godly man that feared the Lord. Apparently he was a prophet who served with Elijah. He was also a man that died in debt leaving his family in absolute poverty. We don’t know the reason for the debt but we do know a little about the heart of his creditor. Unable to collect the deceased father’s debt he was coming to take his sons as slaves (v. 1).

When the prophet Elijah arrived she had nothing in her cupboards except a pot of olive oil. The prophet told her to go to her neighbors and borrow as many empty containers as were available. If that didnít sound strange enough he further told her to return and start pouring her oil into the empty pots. What might sound foolish to us was a glorious opportunity to this poor widow. Read carefully verse 5. What does it tell you about this mother’s faith? From His gracious and merciful hand God miraculously poured out much blessing as this widow filled jar after jar with oil until there were no more jars. The Bible does not say how much oil God made but we do know it was just enough to sell the oil and pay her debt.

Click here for Matthew Henry’s Commentary.

Truth in Practice

Here are a few practical and encouraging truths we can learn from this familiar encounter:

1. Observe the folly of excessive indebtedness.
Indebtedness makes you a slave to your creditor. God saved me while attending law school. Upon graduation I wanted to vocationally serve the Lord. There was one major hurdle. My education indebtedness was so great I had to serve my debt before I could serve my Lord. Excessive indebtedness presumes on tomorrow. This prophet didn’t know he would die and strap his poor family with his debts. The average credit card debt in America is $8,650. When you add to this a car payment and other debts, many professing Christians are not free to pick up their cross and follow Christ. Remember when you buy before you can afford, the Master Card receives the glory. When you wait for God to meet your need the Master is glorified.

2. Observe God’s faithful care of this widow.
God is merciful in caring for the widows and orphans (Ex. 22:22; Deut. 10:18; 24:29). One of the central ministries of the New Testament was to care for the widows (Acts 6:1). James describes pure religion as visiting the orphans and widows (James 1:27). Are there single widows and single moms in your church? Are you aware of any unique needs they might have? Are you willing to go to them like Elijah with a heart of loving care willing to meet their needs?

3. Observe the widows faith.
God promises to meet the needs of those who seek first His kingdom and righteousness. This widow knew her God. She knew He was faithful and powerful. She knew that little in the hands of God was sufficient for her needs. This widow trusted God in the face of her neighbors ridicule and questioning. She didn’t hesitate to do that which God directed her. Here is an example to us all to go to the Word. Discover God’s directions for you and faithfully caring them out. Do not fear man fear God! This is the pathway to blessing.

Catechism

Question 36

Q. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at their death?

A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness (Heb. 12:23) and do immediately pass into glory (Php. 1:23; 2 Co 5:8; Luke 23:43), and their bodies, being still united to Christ (1 Th. 4:14) do rest in their graves (Isa. 57:2) till the resurrection (Job 19:26).