2 Kings 4:3-7 Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side." She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one." But he replied, "There is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left."
2 Kings 4:15-17 Then Elisha said, "Call her." So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. "About this time next year," Elisha said, "you will hold a son in your arms." "No, my lord," she objected. "Don't mislead your servant, O man of God!" But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.
2 Kings 4:32-35 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. Then he got on the bed and lay upon the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out upon him, the boy's body grew warm. Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out upon him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.
2 Kings 4:41 Elisha said, "Get some flour." He put it into the pot and said, "Serve it to the people to eat." And there was nothing harmful in the pot.
2 Kings 5:13-14 Naaman's servants went to him and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed'!" So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
In 2 Kings 4-5, we read of Elisha responding to bread-and-butter needs and God answered these needs in miraculous ways:
- Debts: The first case was a widow with two sons. She inherited a huge debt from her late husband and now the creditor was coming after her for the money. Elisha asked her to collect all the empty jars from her neighbours and pour the remaining oil she had into these jars. And when she obeyed, the jars all filled up until the last bottle--and the oil ran out. As long as the sons were bringing in more jars, the oil continued to flow. God is no debtor of men--when we trust Him, He provides!
- Children: The second case was a wealthy woman who was barren. She treated Elisha well and Elisha asked if he could do anything for her. She didn't need anything from Elisha but she had a secret longing for a child. Elisha prophesied over her and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. However, the son became ill and died. Elisha came back to her house and raised the dead son back to life. Here was a wealthy woman who had no material needs, but she had an unspoken need--and God granted her the desire of her heart!
- Food: When the prophets found that the food they were eating was contaminated with toxic plants, Elisha threw in some flour, and the toxins were neutralised. Here a little science may be involved as it is known that certain flour can act as a detoxifying agent. Whether by natural or supernatural processes, God gave Elisha wisdom and revelation to remove the toxins in the food! A miraculous bonus came for the prophets when a man from Baal-shalishah with twenty loaves of bread was able to feed the 100 prophets.
- Leprosy: Even incurable disease can be healed when we look to God. So Naaman, the Syrian commander found out. But he had to humble himself to dip into the dirty water of Jordan before the healing could take place. Again, it is obedience to the prophetic word (not the "holy water" of Jordan) that produced the miracle of restoration of his flesh. If we hear a prophetic word and respond to it in obedience (even with a tiny mustard seed faith), God's power can be released to bring about a miracle.
The key to all these miracles is Elisha's sensitivity to the Spirit's revelation: "Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me" (2 Kings 4:27). Every instruction that Elisha gave was from the Lord. Elisha was not the miracle-worker -- he simply gave the prophetic word and those who acted on the word received the miracle. Hearing God's voice is the key to miracles in our own lives too.
Father, You are so willing to meet our bread-and-butter needs when we seek You first in order to hear Your voice and to obey. May You cause us to hear Your voice clearly so that miracles may happen too in our lives. Amen.