2 Kings Chapter 4:1-7

Filling Empty Vessels


We are presently taking an in-depth look here on Sunday mornings at the life of Elisha

A) Elijah’s Protιgι: His successor as God’s Prophet


B) Wed night: Survey study shared with you this quote- Gary Inrig:

When a leader is taken, we tend to look for a substitute, a replacement- someone to fill the position. But the Lord doesn’t recycle the past. Our need isn’t that person or another just like him, but the God of that person. The critical truth is this: When God’s leader is removed, everything of God remains. Transition times are times to refocus on the unchanging God.


C) Elisha understood that principle it was for that reason – He asked for a double portion of the same spirit that was on Elijah


D) We saw in our time together last time – how God prepares us to be empowered – 4 stops


The ministry of Elisha is remarkable for his miracles. 17 different miracles {Seen several

1) The parting of the Jordan (2:14)

2) The cleansing of the waters at Jericho (2:21)

3) The curse upon the youth & the two bears (2:24)

4) Water and victory in Moab (3:20)

Today consider his 5th miracle here in 2 Kings Ch.4: RD V.1-7


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 servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves."


2 So Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil."


3 Then he said, "Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors — empty vessels; do not gather just a few. 4 And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones."


5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. 6 Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel."


And he said to her, "There is not another vessel." So the oil ceased. 7 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 here we find Elisha encountering this woman who was in great need.

A) She was a widow – her husband was in the Prophetic Ministry. Sons of the prophets – School


B) Learned in 1 Kings that was a dangerous profession –

1) Queen Jezebel was out to kill all the prophets of God.


C) We are told her that her husband feared not the queen –but the Lord –

1) No doubt this woman felt the same – godly woman walking in the fear of God.


D) But now this good woman was going thru a great trial {Joseph tonight – God allows

1) The pit is the precursor to the Promise


So she was a godly woman – but she was also a woman with a great need

A) Widows in that day were always in a very vulnerable situation.


B) Their husbands being gone – how would they pay for their debts


C) This woman was in that situation. She was at risk of losing her two sons to slavery


D) See that was a normal way of paying off creditors in those days

1) Take your Children and make them work as slaves until the debt was paid.


E) So she comes to Elisha to seek his help concerning her problem.


Now I want you to take note of the question that he asked her v.2 What is in your house?

A) She responded: NOTHING – but a jar of oil.


B) Well Elisha tells her to go and borrow some empty vessels from her neighbors – as many as she can


C) When she gets those empty vessels she is to take the Jar of oil that she has and pour it into those empty vessels –


D) She was to do so believing that her oil would not run out!

1) that is exactly what happens – She has enough to pay her debt and to live on the rest.


This story illustrates several things for us.

#1 Illustration of PROVISION: how God can take a little to do a lot.


#2 Interesting Parallel of our lives!


#3 A wonderful Picture of Salvation.

#1 Illustration of PROVISION: how God can take a little to do a lot.

A) 5 loaves and 2 fish – feed a multitude


B) Little David takes a small sling and some rocks to slay the Giant.

1) Gideon takes a little army off into battle – they slay of Multitude of Mideonites


C) The Church in Philadelphia had a little strength – but God used them to create a big open door for missions.


D) The Lord takes 12 misfits – empowers them by his Spirit they turn the world right side up!


In every one of those situations as in this one – God’s instruction had to be met by faith.

A) Doubt would have said to this woman – this is stupid. Borrowing empty vessels – waste of time.


B) She had to borrow those empty vessels believing that God was going to fill them.

1) Elisha instructed Borrow many not just a few!


C) Her faith was going to be registered in how many pots she borrowed.

1) The degree to which her need was met was going to be measured in the same way.


“She was herself to measure out what she should have; and I believe that you and I, in the matter of spiritual blessings from God, have more to do with the measurement of our mercies than we think. We make our blessings little, because our prayers are little.”   

                       CH Spurgeon


So this story is a great illustration of God’s Provision

How God can take a little to do a lot.

A) What is in your house – God can take the little bit that we have to offer to do great things w/ it!


B) He loves to do that with us! –

1) Do big things with little people. / Great things thru those who are inadequate.


C) His glory is magnified!  

                                            1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NLT

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world; things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, 29 so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.


. 31 As the Scriptures say,

"The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done."   

So God takes the little bit that we have and He is able to big things with it!

A) What is in your house? –


B) Maybe at first you might say like this woman NOTHING – BUT ….  What gift?


1)   Music

2)   Sports

3)   Cars

4)   Time

5)   Understanding of the Word!


#2 A Parallel for our lives!

A) See oil in Scripture is symbolic of the HS.


B) God has placed the oil of his spirit into our lives.


2 Corinthians 4:5-7

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,


C) Earthen vessels = Clay pots- humbling – that is how God sees us – just a pot – clay pot – I am the potter – I am forming you


But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

C) God has caused the oil of His spirit to reside in these earthen vessels –

1) these clay pots that are our lives!


D) Of All the things and places in the universe for God to place His Spirit/ He put His spirit into us



Now God says take what I have poured into you and pour it into empty vessels

A) All around us there are empty vessels


B) Those who are empty because they don’t know Jesus – they don’t have the spirit


C) God says we are to pour into them – Share the love of Jesus with them

1) Allow His light to shine thru us


D) Love them – pursue them/  reach out to them!


Others are empty vessels in the sense that they are new believers – they just don’t know much

A) We who have been in the Lord a while need to pour into them – what we have


B) Discipleship – help them grow – help them mature

1) Help them come to that place of discovering Jesus

2) His love / His sufficiency for their lives



Some are empty because they are down and discouraged –

A) God brings a person like that into our lives – we are to pour into them


B) Here is what happens – As we allow God to pour us out to bless others – Share with others

1) The more we are filled


C) I experience this often – I show up here – Maybe I feel dry or tired – not much in the tank


D) Take the little bit that I have and share it with you – I allow myself to be poured out

1) And as I do – I am filled with more



Last week many of you came up for prayer seeking to be empowered by the Spirit

A) Note this that empowering is primarily to serve


B) God wanting to fill you up – so that He can pour you out –

1) But as He pours you out – into empty vessels – you just keep getting filled up


C) On New Years Day – I challenged you to pray that you might lead one person to Christ this year

1) God would use you to take an empty vessel – share the love of Jesus – See that person become filled


D) And then take that person and disciple them – pour into for 6 months – watch them grow

1) You know who else is going to grow? You are


E) You take the little God has given to you and allow God to use it for His glory – Pour you out

1) You are going to be more blessed and full and filled beyond measure


So this story is an illustration of God’s Provision

An Interesting Parallel for our lives

            #3 Picture of Salvation:

A) This woman was in great debt – She had a debt – that she couldn’t pay


B) Her sons were about to become slaves.


B) So God used Elisha whose name means God is savior to pay her debt in full –

1) so that she could be saved


C) How was she saved? By acting in faith upon the word of God!


Picture of the ministry of Jesus

A) We were in debt because of our sins.


B) Sins separated us from God –

1) Slaves to sin and to our flesh … Passions & lust and selfishness

C) It was a debt that we couldn’t pay.

1) Nothing that we could do that could change our standing with God.


D) Jesus came and paid the debt for us!

1) Paid it in Full


Now He gives us what we need to live life for Him

A) Life that pleases God – Life that has control over the flesh.


B) Not driven by lust/ not driven by passions/ not driven by selfish pursuits


C) How did we come into this grace? – Thru Faith


Ephesians 2:8-10

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”


D) When an empty vessel believes in the finished work of Jesus on the Cross was for them

1) God fills them up with His spirit


E) The wonderful truth is this – there is a full Christ for empty sinners.


First a sinner needs to realize they are empty

A) They are spiritually bankrupt – Nothing in them to pay the debt.


B) No amount of Good works – kind deeds – religious pursuits.


C) That is the problem with some today – why they are still empty –



D) Although there is a full Christ for empty sinners –but none for those who are full of themselves

1) First need to be emptied


In order for the vessel to be filled it has to first be emptied –

A) End of yourself – beginning of God.


B) Some people are full of themselves in the sense that they think – I am a great person

1) I am good and honest – my good out weighs my bad


C) If that was the Criteria for getting into heaven – then Jesus wouldn’t have needed to die on the cross






Others are full of Religion –

A) Church attendance – rituals


B) But they have no relationship with God


C) Again if attending Church could cover your debt Jesus wouldn’t have needed to die


D) Not goodness / Religion / It is the Blood of Jesus that covers the debt


I was sharing with a guy once in Oregon – friends golfed – He was too full for Jesus

A) I believe what you are saying – but I just don’t need Jesus right now.


B) People come to Jesus when their live is falling apart – my life is great

1) Great Job – lots of money

2) Great house

3) Great girlfriend

4) Great friends


C) Here is what He didn’t have:

1) Peace – Kept pursuing more


D) Freedom from Guilt – deep down he knew he was a sinner – {Broke God’s law


E) Assurance of Heaven – when he died


One step from death!

A) Greg M -59

    Mike M – 21


B) Not meant to be a scare tactic – but it is a reality

1) You could die today.


C) Are you ready to stand before God –?

1) Why should I let you into heaven?  Good person


D) All he would have to do is show the video

1) Sins – the 1000’s of times in your life broke his commandments – Lie / lust / anger


E) Religion: Countless lives lost – who trusted in religion


F) He would say: Sorrow – You are an empty vessel

1) Opportunity to receive Jesus -   YOU PASSED