See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way
in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
The flask of oil...
I was listening to an excerpt from Pastor John Gray’s sermon, “All Access.” It was based on the story in the Old Testament about the woman whose husband had died and now she was in debt and in danger of losing her two sons to help pay that debt. What catches my attention is the fact that when the widow was asked: “What do you have in the house?” she said: “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil” (2 Kings 4:2 NLT).
You see, to her the flask of oil was insignificant, inconsequential, unimportant. She couldn’t see how that could possibly be of any use to her especially considering the size of her debt. After all, the creditor had come to take her two sons and make them slaves in order to pay off the debt. And so, when she said, “Nothing at all…” that flask of oil was in her mind “nothing.” This also reminds me of the story of the talents in the New Testament. The man with the one talent was lazy and clearly didn’t think that his one talent was important enough to invest in. To him his one talent may have also been “nothing” and so not worth the effort.
God has deposited so much in each of us but how many of us treat His deposits in us as “nothing”, as insignificant, not important enough to even make an investment in. Maybe that’s the reason why we are where we are . . . stuck. We are capable of doing so much more for God but we are stuck in a quagmire of mediocrity. There is so much potential in us but it is all hidden because we can’t see what God has deposited in us as important.
God doesn’t make junk … or mistakes. Whatever He has put in you is for purpose, it is not a waste, it is not inconsequential, it is there for a reason and speaks of all that beautiful potential inside of you. Sometimes we are too focused on everyone else’s potential that we can’t even see the precious deposits in us, deposits that are fit for the Master’s use and for His honour and glory. Stop selling yourself short. Stop seeing yourself as just a flask of oil, unimportant and insignificant. You are so much more than that. And when you surrender to God all that you have and all that you are - no matter how little and useless it may seem to you – God will do great and marvelous things in and through you but you have to surrender it all to Him. It was only when the widow surrendered that flask of oil to the prophet and obeyed his instructions for it that the answer to her problem was realized.
What do you have that God can use? What has He put in you that will bring honour and glory to His name? God doesn’t see your potential through your eyes, He sees your potential through His. And what He sees is far greater than anything your finite mind can dream or imagine. Think about it. What if the widow had kept that oil to herself and not surrendered it to be used according to the prophet’s instructions? Similarly, don’t keep your “oil” to yourself. Surrender it to the Master’s use and His will and watch and see how He will multiply it and do great and mighty things through it!!!
The story of the Red Sea has been playing through my mind in recent times. I know the story well just as many of us and we are encouraged because God made an impossible way for His people, the Israelites, to get to the other side. But one part of this story has caught my attention and I have been musing over it ever so often. When the Israelites got caught between a rock and a hard place, so to speak, the Egyptians were behind them and the massive and impassable Red Sea in front, they of course felt trapped, boxed in. They couldn't turn back because they had no weapons with which to fight their enemies, besides which there were women and children with them. They couldn't go forward because a massive body of water was in front of them. Yet God gave this instruction through Moses: "Tell the children of Israel to go forward" (Exodus 14:15b). That instruction caught my attention because it begs the question: "Go forward where?" He didn't tell them to go back because that would mean going back to their past and to certain bondage, even death. But He told them to go forward. Why? Their future was ahead. The promise of His blessings lay ahead of them not behind. Yet the obstacle that lay ahead was even more insurmountable than the obstacle behind. They could at least try to fight their enemies and maybe gain a little leeway but nature??? That was a whole different thing!
Sometimes, in order to reach for what God has planned for us we have to go through an absolutely impossible situation. It's not always the kind that you can fight your way through or even find a way around. It's many times the kind that seems to put a complete stop to any hopes and dreams you may have. It's the "NO" of all "no's". It's not an if, or a maybe but an absolute "NO!!!" It's the bank turning you down and that hope of owning your own business or even your own home seems lost. It's the kind of "No" where the doctor says that there is no hope, there's nothing more that they can do, so basically put your house in order because it's time to die. It's the kind of "No" where you lose your job or the promotion you were expecting to get and that you deserve, goes to someone else. That "No" can come in any form or fashion. You know what your "No" looks like. Yet when God steps in His simple instruction to you is: "Go forward." At this point you are wondering "Go forward where? How? Why?" And yet God sees past that "NO." Where we would STOP at that "No" God prompts us to keep going, keep moving forward.
This is the point where it is out of our reach, it's outside of our ability and now we have no choice but to let God finally step in and do what He does best . . . the IMPOSSIBLE!!! When the children of Israel decided to obey God, He did the impossible. He did something that had never been done before ... He caused that massive body of water to stand up on either side like a wall and a clear dry path was made for His people to walk through. God did not do it the way they expected but He did it.
What lies beyond your "No?" Yes, sometimes "No" means "No" but sometimes God is saying, "It''s not over, keep moving forward, keep going. My best for you lies beyond that "No" all you have to do is keep going." So my encouragement to you is to keep going. Don't give up, don't stop, unless God says to stop. Sometimes we miss God's best, we miss the opportunity to fulfil our hopes and dreams because we stopped at "No." Sometimes "No" doesn't mean STOP, it just means, "Keep going!" and watch God do the impossible!!!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.