I had a discussion with a friend the other day about the widow in 2 Kings 4, who was about to lose her two sons to slavery because her dead husband was in debt before he passed on. She ran to Prophet Elisha who opened her eyes to the value of the oil in her house which she never reckoned with. Following the encounter with the Seer, she turned into an oil merchant and was able to pay off the debt and more. Surprising thing was that her husband was also a prophet.
How could a prophet have died so broke that all he had was in the process of being liquidated, down to his sons? That question drowned my soul in waves of agitation. It got me so riled because prophets are supposed to be problem solvers. In the bible, they were the ones that provided prosperity in dire times of austerity. They were men of vision and direction. They fished out pearls of illumination for the perplexed from the murky oceans of bewilderment.
However, in this case, the supposed light provider was blinded by the darkness of indigence.
While worrying the bone of this difficult query like a voracious pup, some light bulbs popped up in my mind. In the next few (I hope) lines I am going to shed the light of these bulbs into the shadows of the above conundrum.
- He had qualification but not ability! He was a prophet by name but lacked the ability to solve problems that should come with the qualification. This makes a lot of sense in Africa where leaders buy and cook up degrees (a number of Nigerian leaders have been indicted for this) but lack the aptitude to even lead their own shadows. Is it a surprise that the continent is broke like the Prophet? Is it not amazing that some of the most famous musicians and actors are people who did not attend musical or acting schools? While we never get to hear of some people that have PhD’s in such fields. It is ability that gives any qualification or appellation credibility.
- He was not a good learner! It is usually a misfortune not to learn all one can from a mentor. The prophet served the man who solved the financial issue of his family after he had died in penury. He followed a man who had power to resolve financial difficulties for nations but he never learnt how to do same. He was content in his ignorance. Sad!!! One is supposed to surpass one’s mentors. David said he knew more that his teachers. Jesus said His disciples would do greater things than He did. Elisha got Elijah’s double anointing. The glory of the latter house should surpass the former.
- He was not given to study or studied but never understood or took what he read seriously! He was a hearer but not a doer. Prophets are given to deep studies of the words of the law and the wisdom therein. In his day, it had not been written that he that cannot provide for his family is worse than an infidel and one should not owe another anything but love. However King Solomon had spoken the eternal words which say the borrower is slave to the lender.
- He had no vision! The pages of life have it that where there is no vision, the people perish. There was oil in the Prophet’s house and he was oblivious to its power to save his family from poverty. He lacked vision and perspective. An attitude he even passed on to his wife until Elisha made her see things differently. A seer who could not see?? Calamitous!
5. He was not cognizant of the resources at his disposal! Know what you have! Everyone has a little oil at their disposal but deliverance lies in recognizing this truth. Your little oil might be anything, a gift, a talent, a skill, a seed, revelation, the list is endless. Oil is also a symbol of the power of God! However for the power to work, you need to fill vessels with it. Human beings in the bible are typified as vessels. This means that people need to be filled with your oil, graced with your gifts and impacted by your impartation for abundance to manifest. I especially like the way King James Version put it, it said “go borrow vessels abroad”. Look beyond your confines; be international in intent and global in orientation. Being a local champion will never cut it! The Prophet looked down on his oil and kept it in a corner. There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
6.He kept mum about his issues! In life, one needs to cry out in times of need. For pride or shame, the Prophet did not open up to his master that he was in a jam but his wife was smart enough to do that. In the multitude of counsellors, there is safety. If you are in a ditch, don’t keep quiet, cry out to someone, pray to God! The scriptures said that God heard the cry of the children of Israel and had respect unto them.
7. He had a form of religion but denied the power thereof! The Prophet’s attitude is typical of many Christians. For example, lots of us would say we believe God heals but go about with all sorts of analgesics in our bags. We have never stood in faith and believed God even once for a tiny scratch and when weightier matters that those drugs can’t handle show up, the tendency is to crash like the Prophet. He was going through the motions of service but did not have the kind of fellowship his master had with the All-Knowing One! He was encumbered with the too many things of service and forgot the most needful things that a Prophet needed to succeed. He served a God of power but that power was lost on him. Dreadful!!!
8. He was not a man of sacrifice! Elisha was a man who sacrificed everything to know the God of Elijah. Nothing could hold him back! However his mentee did not make sacrifices to know the God of Elisha. Most times we leave the sacrifices of knowing God to our General Overseers and Pastors. This is also why we are never able to deal with issues the way they do. We do not see the way they see or hear the way they hear.
The consequences of living like this Prophet actually made me shudder, the fact that one can die like a beggar in the midst of a wealth of possibilities makes me break out in goose bumps. The good thing though is that it has made me more aware of the importance of the destiny preserving prayer Paul prayed for the Ephesian church….
I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working * of his mighty power….
© 2014 Ekpo Ezechinyere