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2 Kings 4:1-7

Beneficiary

Widowed, childless, and past 80 years of age, Bill Cruxton wanted his $500,000 fortune to make a difference in someone’s life. A 17-year-old waitress who had been kind to him seemed the perfect choice. So when Cruxton died on November 9, 1992 he left the bulk of his estate to Cara Wood, a high school senior who befriended him during the 13 months she worked part-time at a restaurant. Even after she quit her job, Cara kept in touch with Cruxton, running errands for him and helping him around the house. Because of his poor eyesight, she often helped

him read his mail and pay his bills.

Like Cara Wood, the widow in today’s story became the recipient of another’s wealth. But the riches she received came from the hand of God. The woman had known great heartache. She had lost her husband, who was of the men from the “company of the prophets.” Soon she would lose her sons as well, since they were about to become slaves. The Mosaic Law gave a creditor the right to claim the person and children of a debtor who was unable to pay. They were obliged to serve as the creditor’s hired workers until the year of Jubilee, when they were set free (Lev. 25:39-41).

It was not a happy prospect, and the prophet Elisha, who knew her husband’s devotion to the Lord, wanted to help this desperate widow. When he learned that she had nothing in her house but a small flask of oil, he told her to collect from her neighbors as many empty jars as she could—leaving the number of jars, and the size of her faith, up to her. The woman was to shut herself and her sons inside the house and pour from her flask until all of the jars were full. Nobody else was to see or know about the miracle. Nobody needed to know about it, or Elisha would surely have been swamped with “business offers.”

The woman did as Elisha instructed, and had enough oil to pay her debts and live off the rest. God’s prophets were not only messengers of His judgment, but instruments of His miraculous provision for His people.

Today in the Word, May 12, 1993