2 Kings 4:1-7, Bring Your Empty Vessels To God

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from 2kings on Sunday, December 12, 2021.

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I did some math this morning. I've been teaching the Bible for about 27 years.

27 years of teaching the Bible and yet I stand before you this morning.

And truly can say I have nothing valuable to say to you this morning.

27 years I can study the Bible. I can read it. I can remember passages and remember cross references and yet at the same time.

I really have nothing of value to share with you that is.

That is a reality that I must continue to keep present in my mind that as I stand up here to share with you the word of God.

It's not my goal, it's not my objective to come up and share with you my thoughts.

My wisdom might insights, but my objective really, and what God has.

Called me to say stand up here and share with you the things that he has given for you.

And so I must always keep in mind.

I have nothing valuable to say.

But the Lord wants to speak to you, and he's chosen to use people to work in this way.

This morning as we look at Second Kings chapter four, I've titled The Message Bring Your Empty vessels to God.

Bring your empty vessels to God after 27 years it would be quite easy for me to sit down and just try to put together a teaching, a message of preaching or a Bible study based on what I have experienced. What I know, what I'm familiar with.

And yet what the Lord reminds me of in this passage, and I extend to you this morning, is that what I need to do is not to bring a full vessel a vessel full of ideas and full of thoughts and full of my own ways and and wisdoms.

But I need to come before the Lord with an empty vessel.

That he could fill that he could flow, that he could pour out what he desires.

To speak to me and to speak to you as we gather together.

And I extend that to you.

And I want to encourage you.

This morning to consider that.

That we need to bring empty vessels to God.

It's often been said that God is not looking for your abilities, but instead for your availability.

It's another way to say that that we can many times have this idea in our minds that that we need to come to God with a full vessel that is a.

Vessel full of good works.

And we can show this vessel of good works to God and say God.

Here's all the ways I've been trying so hard.

Here's all the good things that I've been doing here is, you know, all the steps that I have taken and and look at how far I've come and and we can desire to present a full vessel to the Lord in the idea that that.

He would be extra pleased or more pleased with us in that way.

But what the Lord desires?

From us is not so much our efforts.

Not saying that there's not a part that we have to play.

In our relationship with him but.

Our pleasing God doesn't come based on our efforts and our abilities to provide.

Our pleasing God comes from our ability to receive from him to believe him at his word and invite him to work in us, and this passage here in Second Kings chapter four really illustrates this point very well and encourages us in many ways, and so I want to walk you through some things here to help us.

Bring our empty vessels to God.

To help us come to God in a way that we come in humility, not in pride, not in self righteousness but in brokenness.

In our weakness coming to God that he would heal, that he would work and that he would fill.

And so the first thing to consider here is we look at this passage 2nd.

Kings chapter 4.

We're going to look at verses one and two for point number one and that.

Is acknowledge your own emptiness?

In order for us to bring empty vessels to God to bring ourselves as empty vessels to God, we we must first acknowledge the reality.

Of the emptiness that exists within us, we must acknowledge the weakness that we have, the humanity and frailty.

The issues, the problems, and the weakness of our own hearts.

Check out verse one and two.

It says a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying your servant, my husband is dead, and you know that your servants feared the Lord, and the creditor is coming to take my two sons.

To be his slaves.

So Elisha said to her, what shall I?

Do for you tell me.

What do you have in the house?

And she said, your meat servant has nothing.

Nothing in the house.

But a jar of oil.

Here in second kings four we find this widow that is in a desperate situation.

We've mentioned this many times as the Bible relates to and shares about widows we understand in their culture in their context that the widows had it incredibly difficult because there was not a lot of means and methods for them to obtain resources and finances.

There wasn't much occupations available.

For them in that culture, and in that context, and so they typically depended upon their family, they depended upon the generosity of others around them in order to maintain their existence.

And here we find a widow in an especially difficult position.

Her husband has died, leaving them.

With a debt that they cannot pay.

She still has two sons.

Sounds like their sons and they're not old enough to go and make a living.

They're not old enough really to carry on whatever family business there was there.

They're probably young boys.

She's trying to provide for them, but this debt that has been left to them is too great for them to handle.

On their own.

And so she is concerned now, because the creditors have come calling.

And according to the laws of the day, the sons could be taken into servitude to pay off the debt through their service.

And so she comes to Elisha and says, this is my predicament.

This is my situation.

My husband has died.

My sons are about to be taken away into servitude.

She's asking for help.

And now God is going to provide for her.

And God is going to work a miracle, but he's going to do it in a unique way and she is going to be part of the process.

But it begins here with her acknowledging her emptiness.

Elisha says.

I kind of sense that he's like talking out loud like he doesn't know exactly what's going to happen or how the Lord's going to provide as she first.

Approaches her, he says.

Well, what can I do for you?

Let me think what do you have?

In your house.

Maybe he's even initially just thinking very practically like.

Maybe you have an expensive bed or some furnishings or something that that you can sell and help cover the debt.

Like maybe you just.

Need some practical help thinking through you.

Know what what?

Can be done in this situation.

But she reveals I I have nothing.

All I have left.

Is a jar of oil.

The jar of oil would most likely be olive oil, probably cooking oil.

Some suggest it might be anointing oil, in which case it would be like a little jar, right?

Just like a tiny anointing oil jar that that she might have had left.

Or maybe it was just a little bit of cooking oil that she had in the cupboard and and that was.

That was it.

It seems likely that she had already attempted to sell everything that she had to do whatever she can to cover this debt, but she's tried and she's tried, and she's tried and and and she's still left empty, unable.

To meet this debt.

To protect our sons from being taken into service.

It is again a good example of what our realities are like.

We may not always recognize it or see it or acknowledge it.

But we can try and try and try to be pleasing to God.

We can try and try and try to be righteous before God.

We can make all of our efforts and you know, give everything that we have or sell everything that we have.

We can do our best and and the reality is that we still then stand before God as empty.

That that we cannot, in our own efforts, be filled or fulfilled.

We cannot have what we need through.

Our own resources.

And this is where she's at.

Standing before the prophet acknowledging.

I've lost my husband.

I'm about to lose my sons.

I have nothing left.

Except for a little jar.

Of oil now in considering this situation, you might be asking.

Wait a minute.

Her husband was a prophet.

Prophets have debts me.

Can't they see those debt?

You know, those creditors coming?

Can't they see that I shouldn't take out this loan because I'm not going to survive to pay it off like, can't profits see that it's important to note in this that God servants are not immune.

From practical or natural hardships.

God's servants experience life.

Like everyone else on this planet, in many ways.

God's servants can look to God for help in the midst of these situations, but by no means are we immune from them. And yes, sometimes prophets have debts.

Now we don't know the situation in the context here, but it would be quite normal for them to have debts in a society in that way that it wasn't necessarily foolishness that led to this indebtedness.

I mean, you can imagine in an agricultural environment that sometimes.

Weather strikes disaster hits.

Resources are wiped out and just to start over.

If you're going to replant again, sometimes there needs to be the borrowing ahead of time.

If you get 2 disasters back to back, it's.

Easy to understand the debts that could be there, so sometimes debts are.

Because of foolishness, sometimes debts are because of weakness, bad choices, mistakes, God, servants are not immune from weakness.

And sometimes God servants are foolish.

But also sometimes it's just a practical part of life.

It's a necessity.

And so whatever the case was, she points out to Elisha he he was a servant of the Lord.

And you know that he feared the Lord.

He he was faithful to God, and so she's coming with this issue, and she's essentially coming to God.

God, with the understanding that, well, there is this promise that God has given to those who entrust themselves to him.

Of care of provision.

And so here she comes to him acknowledging her need, acknowledging her emptiness.

Here's something else I would ask you to consider for this widow.

From before her husband died and now after her husband has died.

The reality behind the scenes is that nothing has really changed.

Yes, she's lost her husband, but she doesn't need God more now than she did before when her husband was alive.

She's just more aware of the need that that's always the case.

You know, sometimes we feel like we need God, especially right now, right?

But but the reality is, we always need God way more than we realize.

And sometimes we're.

More aware of.

It than others.

And so here's this widow and.

She's acknowledging her needs.

She's recognizing I need God.

She's always needed God.

But now she's looking and expressing and acknowledging this need in a way that.

Is going to give God an opportunity?

To meet this need.

The creditors would have been coming for her sons before her husband died.

They would have been coming for her husband first if he wasn't able to pay the debt right, but God was going to be providing for and meeting that debt and that that need in other ways.

And now he's going to do the same thing but just using different methods.

And so Elisha says, OK, how can we resolve this?

How come God work in this situation?

What do you have?

In your home.

Just a jar of oil, she says I don't have very much.

I've already sold everything trying to.

Fulfill this debt and satisfy this and prevent this from happening.

All they have left is a jar of oil.

And now God is going to take that little.

Contribution from this widow.

And miraculously provide for her the full payment of the debt and then some for her and her sons to live off of.

Jesus told a parable in Luke Chapter 18.

He tells us before the parable what the purpose of the parable is, and I love it when Jesus does that because it takes out all the variables of us trying to guess.

There's many parables where.

Scholars and Christians and teachers will just try to guess and try to discern from the the passage what the parable is really about, but here's one where Jesus says explicitly, this is what it's about.

Luke chapter 18 verse nine.

He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others.

In the parable he goes on to say two men went up to the temple to pray 1A. Pharisee and the.

Other a tax collector.

As Jesus goes on to give this parable, he describes the two of these.

These two guys praying before God, and the Pharisee, trusting in himself and thanking God that he is so religious and so faithful in all of his religion.

He's thanking God for how good he is and and about all the things that he does for God.

The tax collector tells us stands afar off.

He doesn't feel like he's done a lot for God, he just.

Beats his chest and says God be merciful to me a Sinner.

He won't even look up to heaven.

He doesn't feel worthy.

To look up to God to receive from him.

And in that, Jesus goes on to say this.

Tax collector, which they were known as the worst of the worst as far as sinners were concerned in Jesus Day.

He says this worst Sinner.

Went home justified.

Went home right with God.

Because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself.

Will be exalted.

The one who comes to God trusting in their righteousness, trusting in their goodness, trusting in their good works, trusting in their efforts.

Jesus is saying they will not receive from God what they're looking for.

They will not be justified before God.

They will not be right with God, they they will not receive from God in that way.

For those who come.

In humility.

Who acknowledge.

Their emptiness.

Those are the ones who receive from God.

So acknowledge your own.

Pastor Charles Spurgeon says a full Christ.

Is for empty sinners.

And for empty sinners only.

And as long as there is a really empty soul in a congregation, so long, will a blessing go forth with the word and no longer?

It is not our emptiness, but our fullness.

Which can hinder the outgoings of free grace.

That's something to meditate on.

It's not our emptiness that hinders the work of God.

The Grace of God.

The outpouring of God in our life.

It's not our emptiness that's the problem, it's our fullness.

Coming to God and our strengths coming to God with our boasts.

With our pride with the the works that we have and the goodness that we do.

And approaching God that way.

We're coming with a full vessel.

But what the Lord says is you need to come in humility.

Come with an empty vessel, acknowledge.

Your own emptiness.

Well, as we continue to consider this account in verses 3.

Through six we get point #2 and that is present many empty vessels to God. First of all, acknowledge your emptiness.

But now as we continue on in these risks, I want to encourage you to not just, generally speaking, acknowledge your emptiness.

Acknowledge our humanity.

Acknowledge your frailty.

That's good and we need to do that.

That's the beginning as we continue to or start to walk with God.

But there's also so much more that God wants to do, and so there's much opportunity for us to present empty vessels to God.

Check out verse 3.

Then he said go borrow vessels from everywhere from all your neighbors.

Empty vessels do not gather just a few.

Elisha says, here's what you need to do.

You're in this predicament.

You've got nothing left, but a little jar of oil.

So go borrow empty vessels, he says.

Go get as many as you can and notice what he says from everywhere, so he's really giving her instruction not to just go grab a couple.

To go, scrounge and find one or two 3-4 or five or six empty vessels.

But from everywhere he says from all your neighbors.

Don't just hit the neighbors.

On the four sides of you.

But go up and down the.

Block and around the corner.

Maybe in across the street a little bit and and go everywhere you can and get as many empty vessels as you can find.

And he is very explicit here in verse three.

Do not gather just a few.

Make sure that you don't just get a handful.

Don't just get a basket full, get more than you can carry in one trip.

Make multiple trips.

Involve your sons go.

You know bringing and gather as many vessels as you can.

He's he's very clearly telling her.

Just go get an abundance of empty jars.

Of empty vessels.

And and as you read through the account here, you see that.

She does that.

She goes and locks herself in the house as the Prophet instructed her.

And she begins to pour that little jar of oil that she had.

She begins to pour it into these empty vessels, and the sons are the the Gophers ones, bringing her an empty vessel, the other ones taking the full, went away and putting it in his place.

And and they're just going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Then she's continuing and and God is miraculously providing in the midst of this.

As oil just continues to pour out of this jar.

I think it's safe to imagine every single jar that she collected that was empty was larger than the initial jar of oil that she had right, like it's just.

A little bit.

Of oil that she has, but miraculously supernaturally, it's multiplying.

And jar after jar after jar.

They're being filled.

By this supply of oil from God, verse six tells us now it came to pass.

When the.

Vessels were full.

As she said to her son, bring me another vessel.

And he said to her, there is not another vessel.

So the oil ceased.

Think about this.

There was enough vessels, enough jars that she couldn't keep track of them.

She wasn't like OK.

14 all right, that's it.

Good day.

Everybody has good work.

Now she's pouring.

She's fine, she's lost track.

How many vessels I felt I don't know son bring me another one.

This one is almost full and the son says there is not another vessel.

She filled a multitude of vessels.

More than she could keep track of more than she could number.

And then notice at the end of her six it says so the oil ceased.

Followed the train of thought here, she's empty.

She has a little jar of oil.

Elisha says go get buckets and buckets and carts and carts full of empty jars.

And start filling those jars with that oil.

And that oil did not run out until the empty vessels ran out.

When the empty vessels ran out, then the oil stopped.

It says so the oil ceased.

The implication there is, if there was one more empty vessel.

The oil would have kept flowing, and if there was one more empty vessel after that, the oil would have kept flowing, and if there was.

Two more after.

That and 10 more after that the oil would have kept flowing that that there was.

This supernatural supply of oil that was exactly.

The right amount.

But not limited by the number of vessels.

And so there could have been more.

There could have been less.

It was all determined by.

How much did she believe?

What God was speaking through the Prophet Elisha.

How many vessels did she gather?

That was really the only question of how much oil would be provided is how much preparation did she do in advance?

Did she gather many jars?

Or few jars.

An abundance of jars or just a handful of jars.

It was her choice.

How much oil she received from the Lord.

By how much?

She presented to him.

Present many empty vessels to God.

I want to encourage you to think about this and by empty vessel.

Of course, I'm picturing different aspects of our life, different occasions, different moments, different days, different months, different years, that we would come before the Lord and present it to the Lord as a need as an empty vessel, saying God apart from you, I can do nothing, Lord.

Would you fill this moment?

Would you work in this situation?

Would you perform miracles?

In the difficulty in the problem in that situation, that's at hand.

Present many vessels.

To God, empty vessels, not full vessels can't expect full vessels to be filled.

When we present to God, look here.

God is my goodness, my life filled with all of my talents.

Here is all the things that I can contribute and all the things that I have.

And how amazing I am.

There's no room for God to fill those, but when we come to God.

Were prime candidates.

To receive a filling, a supernatural work of God in our lives.

Commentator FB Meyer puts it this way.

The question is never about the amount of oil, but of the empty vessels.

We fear that there will not be enough oil.

God is concerned lest we fail to bring sufficient vessels to hold all he wants to give.

The question is never about how much oil, how much from God can be provided?

The question is always how much will we present to God.

Inviting him.

To fill.

On Wednesday we looked at a similar passage in Chapter 3.

Talked about digging trenches.

There's a lot of parallels to these pictures here and.

We talked about.

In that the spiritual disciplines that we could consider in digging trenches.

The spiritual disciplines.

We're spending time in the word of God.

Spending time in prayer, fellowship, worship, serving God.

Asking God for healing.

Inviting God to work, endurance or patience in us.

Giving in these spiritual disciplines, we can present God, empty vessels that we can open up the word of God and say, Lord, I need you to speak to me.

Not OK.

I need to find something so that I can.

Tell someone or I can prove my point or I can agree you know that something is good like no.

I come Lord, to hear from you, not to give you my opinions and my answers and my thoughts, but to receive from you look what do you want to say?

What is it that you are seeking to reveal?

What is it that you desire to?

Establish in me.

Coming as an empty vessel in prayer, we come again, not with our suggestions.

Alright, God?

I've got it figured out.

There's big problems here in the world and in my family, but I know how to solve it.

So here's the the instructions for you to follow in in resolving this issue, right?

Like God doesn't need our instructions in prayer.

Not that we can't provide them.

But we need to be careful that we don't come full of all the answers full of ourselves, but that we come to God in prayer, recognizing only he knows what is best in the situation.

Now I don't want to relive all of Wednesday's service 'cause there's other things the Lord wants to speak to us about too, but but these spiritual disciplines, I would encourage you to consider that each one is an opportunity for us to present an empty vessel to God and say, God, I need you to fill.

Would you please work?

Would you please accomplish your purposes?

Not mine.

But another way we can present empty vessels to the Lord is in practical needs.

Just like this woman was in a bind and had some financial difficulties and some some more challenges coming down the path toward her in a similar way we all face difficulties and challenges and we have practical needs.

And we can all do our best to come up with solutions and to meet those practical needs that we have and come up with.

You know how it's going to be resolved?

We we all have.

The capacity to do that, the tendency to do that.

At the same time, we have the opportunity to present each one to God.

Each difficulty each issue, each problem is a opportunity for us to present an empty vessel to God and say.

God, here's a problem.

There's a situation I've got great difficulty and hurts or or pain in my life and.

I want to invite you to work.

What do you want to do in?

The midst of this situation.

Jesus taught us to pray this way in Matthew Chapter 6.

He says in this manner, therefore, pray here's how to pray, Jesus says.

Our father.

Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Your Kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day Our Daily Bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Jesus here gives us in this model prayer a couple empty vessels that we can present to God.

He indicates here this is a daily occurrence.

You have a daily practical need for food.

Give us this day Our Daily Bread.

Pray this prayer daily is essentially what.

Jesus is saying.

Now, does it have to be this prayer verbatim?

That's not the point, but but the idea here is present an empty vessel before God every day for your practical needs you have needs.

And you don't have to be missing bread in the cupboard in order to pray this prayer, right?

But it's acknowledging what I'm pretty sure I have bread in the cupboard, but I'm not trusting in my store.

I'm not trusting in my resources and what I've already provided, but I'm still looking to you.

And if I go to the cupboard and there's mold on the bread that I know you want to provide daily bread.

A different way.

Or if I go and there's bread there and it's good and I can eat it, well, then you've chosen to provide that way.

But but either way, I'm not relying upon what I've done.

I'm still looking to you daily.

For the bread that I need.

For what I need to survive the sustenance that I need?

And the forgiveness.

It's another empty vessel.

But I don't come to you.

With all of my righteousness I come to you with my debts with my weaknesses with my failures.

And saying I need your forgiveness, a fresh outpouring.

You can come to God and say, look, yeah, I made some mistakes, but I don't really need your forgiveness because there's good reasons why I did all those things.

That's a full vessel, but an empty vessel is.

But Lord, I've broken your word.

I've violated your law.

I've gone against what you desire.

Forgive me.

And so you can present.

A vessel of brokenness.

Seeking forgiveness, you can present a vessel of practical needs.

Every day before God.

In Second Kings Chapter 6, there's an account of Elisha doing a miracle as someone is.

Working out in the field or the forest using an axe, the axe head flies off and falls into a pool of water.

And the guy is torn up.

He's like Oh my goodness, what am I going to do?

The axe head flew off.

Oh, this is terrible.

This was borrowed and he calls to Elisha look.

I'm trying to do this work but the axe head flew off and I can't find it now.

And oh, it's so terrible, 'cause?

It was borrowed here the the.

Person doing the work is.

Saying I can't.

I don't have my own axe.

I can't afford an axe.

I borrowed it and now I've lost it.

I can't afford to pay them back.

This is.

This is really terrible.

Well, I said performs a miracle the axehead floats to the top of the water and the guys able to grab it and nothing is lost.

What an interesting miracle to consider.

But very practical, right?

I mean.

If you were the prophet Elisha.

Would you consider it worth it doing that miracle?

I mean, there's other miracles that are really fantastic that Elisha does.

Unheardof amazing the miracles that take place.

Floating in axehead so that something that some guy borrowed isn't lost and he's not in the bind on the hook for that indebtedness to his friend.

Is it worth doing that miracle?

Is it worth recording that miracle in the scriptures?

So that for thousands of years, people can read about this miracle is it?

Is it worth reading this miracle like?

God says yeah.

That's the kind of stuff I want to do in your life.

I want to meet those practical needs.

You lost something.

Yeah, oh somebody something that there is this situation I can work in that present the empty vessel to me.

Give me a chance you lost your keys.

You lost your friends wallet.

You know whatever, give me a chance.

Present that vessel to me.

You've got a chance to work now.

That doesn't mean that God is on the hook and we demand and he has to do everything that we ask, right?

We we understand that, but at the same time as James tells us, sometimes we don't have just because we don't ask because we haven't presented the empty vessel before him and said, well, I don't know how I'm going to make rent this month.

I'm presenting it to you.

What is there something you want to do?

How do you want to resolve?

How do you want to work in this situation?

And so there's practical needs.

But are empty vessels that we can present before the Lord.

There's spiritual disciplines that we can present as empty vessels before the Lord.

There's also.

Empty vessels of our own hearts that we can present before the Lord.

In John Chapter 7.

Jesus said, if anybody is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.

Related to John Chapter 4, where the woman at the Well Jesus tells her if you drink from this water, you'll thirst again.

But if you drink the water that I provide, you'll never thirst again.

He's not talking so much about the practical needs.

He's talking about.

The internal needs.

You know there is a lot that we need internally.

There's a lot within the takes that is empty apart from God.

We without without God have no real meaning or purpose in our lives.

Without God, we have no chance of righteousness or forgiveness or eternal life.

Without God, there is no real comfort.

There is no real truth.

There's no real power.

These are things that we all desire and and we search for as humanity.

Meaning and purpose and.

Relief from the guilt.

These are all empty vessels that we can present to God.

And sometimes we try to find meaning or make meaning or give our life purpose.

We're trying to fill the vessel ourselves.

And we'll always find it.

Well, it's not half full, so it must be half empty, right?

Like it's we're never quite satisfied when we're trying to figure out our own purpose trying to create our own meaning for life.

Trying to resolve the issues of our hearts and bring comfort to ourselves in our own resources and and throwing our own ideas and intellect.

Each one of these things?

Like these are.

Not struggles that are only out there that other people experience, but every one of you you struggle.

With issues within with with thirst for meaning, thirst for purpose, you struggle with hurts and pains and and you're you're looking for those to be healed and resolved.

Those issues of bitterness.

You're looking for truth.

You're trying to figure out how can I know and understand what is real?

What is true that these are thoughts that everyone has?

And Jesus says, look if you're thirsty come to me and drink.

Don't come to me with a full vessel of here's all my thoughts and here's God, no come to me with an empty vessel and acknowledge, Lord I.

I thirst for meaning.

I've been trying to find it.

I can only feel let's sync up halfway.

It's just the best I could do.

I'm still empty.

I'm looking for purpose.

Still hurting in and in pain after all this time.

Those internal needs.

The emotional aches.

The thirst within.

We can present to God.

What kind of roles do you play in your life?

You might be a husband.

An employee, an employer.

A brother.

An uncle.

Flip all those with all the other genders.

What kind of roles do you play?

You can present each one.

Lloyd as a husband.

I'm empty.

As a pastor, I'm empty.

As a teacher, I'm empty.

I need to be filled by you.

And inviting the Lord to work in our lives in each.

Of the ways that he's called us to live and.

Relate to others around us.

And so you can see many empty vessels.

We have many opportunities to bring empty vessels to God.

Every global pandemic is an empty vessel that God can fill every flat tire, every unforeseen situation or difficulty.

It's an empty vessel that you can present to God.

And yes, you can flip out and and get angry about the traffic.

Or you can present that.

As an empty vessel to God and say, God.

What do you want to do in this situation?

How do you want to work?

Remember, the oil only stopped when the vessels stopped being brought.

If you want to receive the work of God in your life, more and more and more, then continue to bring to him empty vessels.

Continue to present to him areas in your life.

That you are desiring for him to work where you don't have the answers.

You don't have the resources.

You don't have what you need, but he does and invite him to meet that need.

Commentator Adam Clarke says while there is a vessel to fill, there was oil sufficient.

And it only ceased to flow when there is no vessel to receive it.

This is a good emblem of the grace of God.

While there is an empty longing heart, there is a continual overflowing fountain.

If we find in any place or at any time that the.

Oil ceases to flow.

It is because there are no empty vessels there, no salt, no souls hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

When we stop presenting empty vessels or we only are presenting full vessels.

We'll notice less and less.

Of God's work in our life of that flow of grace, the flow of the work of God in us.

Because we've stopped presenting empty vessels to the Lord present many.

Empty vessels to God.

Well thirdly, still sticking around here in these same verses, verses 3 through 5.

Be open about your emptiness.

Again, verse three says, then he said go borrow vessels from everywhere from all your neighbors.

Empty vessels do not gather just a few.

Here Elisha is asking this woman to be humble.

In humility.

To go and talk to all of her neighbors.

Say hey, could I borrow you have any empty jars empty jars like don't you want full jars?

I can give you a full jar no no and I need some empty jars.

Why do you need empty jars?

Well, let me tell you the situation.

She is going to have to go from door to door to door house to house to house all about the town.

Saying I'm in need.

And God's giving me some promises. He's giving me some direction and and so.

I'm just trying.

To be faithful to follow what he said.

Is a great show of humility, humility.

Sometimes we think about it as like self deprecating, self despising self like low self esteem.

Humility is this.

It's an accurate view of yourself.

She is able.

To have an accurate view, this is the situation I'm in.

And perhaps she's embarrassed by it.

Perhaps this was difficult for her to admit.

Maybe she still wanted all her friends to think that she had it all together and everything was, you know happening well in her home.

Maybe the debt was her fault.

We blamed the guy earlier, right, but maybe it was her fault.

We don't know.

But here she has to go and just be a little bit transparent and.

Say you know what?

I really do have needs.

I'm in need of some help.

You have any empty vessels.

It's OK you.

Don't you don't have to fill my need.

She would say to.

The neighbors God gonna fill my need.

I just need the container to catch it.

And this is important to you, right, that the openness that we have about our empty.

This is not Harvey.

I'm weak and empty and you gotta satisfy that.

You gotta fix that you gotta tell.

Me how to fix it?

No, no no.

Harvey just give me a vessel by which I.

Can catch.

The resources from the Lord catch the word of the Lord.

Right, it's not.

Making everybody else supply the need.

The Lord is the one who supplies the need.

It's it's just helping the people around us to catch and receive what it is that God wants to do.

And so she has to be open about her emptiness.

The apostle Paul learned this in Second Corinthians, chapter 12.

He talks about the thorn in the flesh.

And he said, oh man, there is like these three really strong seasons in my life where I prayed, Lord, please let.

This depart from me.

God says hey.

My Grace is sufficient for you.

My strength is made perfect in weakness.

And so he.

Came to the.

Conclusion, I will boast in my infirmities.

That the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I'll take pleasure in my weaknesses, in my reproaches, in my needs, and my persecutions in my distresses, because when I'm weak then I am strong when I come to God empty that's when I'm full.

If I come to God full, I still am empty, but if I come to God.

He will fill me.

He will work in my life.

It's easy to imagine this woman thinking I don't want people to know that my husband had debts.

I don't want to be open about this.

But Alasia says you need to go humble yourself.

Be real.

And let people know.

I'm in a bad spot.

I really need some help.

Do you have any empty containers?

I could borrow.

I think it's also interesting that she didn't hide this from her sons.

She didn't try to protect them from knowing the situation.

They were involved in this as well.

They're part of collecting these.

They're part of the the pouring out.

You know, sometimes we.

Disclose information carefully to protect people in our lives.

And I'm not suggesting that that's wrong.

But I would suggest that we consider and allow the Lord to direct us in that because sometimes we in endeavoring to protect others around us, we hold back information thinking that we're protecting them.

Meanwhile, all we're doing is teaching them to do the same thing that we've done, and and repeat the mistakes.

That we've made.

Now, perhaps your children don't get to understand the miracle that God has done in providing, because you've kept from them.

You've hidden from them.

That need that was there, and so they don't know how to feel need express need come to God with need and then watch need be filled because they haven't been able to watch that happen in your life.

You haven't modeled that for them.

And so I would encourage you.

Seek the Lord on.

How much you disclose to others around you, specifically your family so that they can be part of the journey that they can be a a witness and a testimony of what God has done.

Now think about this afterwards, right?

It's a private miracle.

Go inside, lock the door, then pour out the oil.

It's not a public show.

This isn't all right.

Everybody come to the square at noon and we're going to watch this oil be multiplied is going to be amazing.

No, no this isn't about God putting on a show for people to applaud.

This is about him meeting someone with a very real need in a very private moment.

And so her and her sons.

They go privately.

They lock the door and their God meets their need personally.

Be open about your emptiness.

And then get alone with God.

So that he can meet that need.

But then imagine the testimony afterwards.

She goes at the end.

Well, let me read verse seven, it says then she came and told the Man of God.

And he said, go sell the oil.

And pay your debt and you and your sons live on the rest.

So after these vessels are all filled, she gets to go.

Sell the oil.

Now, it doesn't say this specifically, but here's what I suggest.

When she sells the oil, she's just selling the oil.

Because Elisha told her to borrow vessels.

The implication being she's gonna pour out the oil to those that she's selling it to then OK.

This empty jar that I just poured out and sold this is Susie.

Let me go back to Susie and I give it back to Susie, and Susie goes.

Oh, thanks for bringing this back.

How'd it go?

Oh my goodness, you wouldn't believe it.

God provided miraculously.

And testimony after testimony after test as she goes.

Back and gives back all.

Those vessels that she borrowed.

God is glorified and magnified because she was open about her emptiness.

God met her need and then used her to be a great testimony.

To the glory of God.

Well, the final point to consider in verse seven is live in the.

Fullness of God.

She came and told the Man of God, he said.

Go sell the oil pay.

Your debt and you and your sons.

Live on the.

Rest God didn't just supply what was.

Needed for the debt.

But he gave them some to.

Live off of as well.

Now, I don't think that this meant that she was set for life, but it was enough oil, enough money that she never had to be concerned about money or anything like that again.

There's going to be another need in.

The future and God is going to provide again.

As she continues to follow this pattern to present her need, her request or emptiness before the Lord.

We have this same opportunity.

Thinking about Jesus.

He died upon the cross for us.

Not just to pay the debt of our sin, that's part of it.

But he also said I came that you have may have life and life more abundant.

Not just the releasing of the debt, but the fullness of life.

Is what Jesus desires to give to us and to work in our lives, and we need both.

We need the releasing of.

The debt we can't minimize that.

But it's not just the debt that needs to be resolved.

If this woman paid off the debt, but then was left with nothing, she would immediately be in the situation where.

She had no resources again.

But God gave her something to live off of.

He gave her some direction forward and some ability.

To live for some time.

This is what the Lord wants to do in us.

Not just satisfy the debt, not just fix the wrecks that we've made.

But to give us a new set of wheels.

To scoot around town on.

I don't know why you phrased it that way, but.

That's how it came out, so that's how it is live.

In the fullness of God.

Pastor Alexander McLaren says you have God in the measure in which you desire him.

Only remember that the desire that brings God must be more than a feeble, fleeting wish.

Lazily wishing and strenuously desiring are two entirely different postures of mind.

The former gets nothing and the latter gets everything, gets God, and with God all that God can bring.

Lazily wishing.

It's not going to accomplish much.

But if you come to God in sincerity, genuinely.

Say God, I'm an empty vessel.

I've got lots of problems, lots of areas that need to be filled.

You come and present those to God being open and real and genuine about your situation.

In your plight.

You can trust.

God is going to fill.

It may happen instantly, like it did for this woman.

It may happen through a process and the work of time.

God knows what's best and he works those out in his purposes.

But we don't have to have all.

That figured out.

All we have to do is come to God empty and invite him to fill us.

And this is a great opportunity for us to partake of communion together.

And John, you can come up and get ready.

The Lord gave us communion as a reminder.

Of what he has done for us.

The blood that he shed for us, his body that was broken for us.

He said to do it regularly.

Do it frequently.

Come back with an empty vessel before.

Me Jesus would say and receive from me.

The Grace, the forgiveness, the mercy.

The Holy Spirit

And all that you need for life.

And so we want to.

Take some time this morning and.

Present God an empty vessel.

I would encourage.

You present this time of worship as an empty vessel before God.

You're not coming with your great.

Voice or singing talents?

You're coming.

With emptiness saying God, you're worthy.

And I'm I'm coming to you to worship you, to honor you.

And to glorify your name.

The communion elements are on the table there in the back.

For those who are here in the sanctuary outside, I think they're bringing the the elements to you now.

During the worship time at any time, go ahead and go and grab those elements and you can partake.

Go get your fill of the Lord.

But first, let's present ourselves as empty vessels.

That he might fill, that he might overflow that he might do the miraculous in our hearts, but we thank you for your word in these promises.

We pray God as we come to you now.

That you would fill us that you would.

Heel hurts resolve issues.

Provide direction.

Give us strength.

Give us hope.

Turn our lives around and transform us.

But as we acknowledge.

And testify of how much we need you pray this in Jesus name.

Hey man.