2 Kings 18:31-32 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; ‘until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.”
This is so typical of demonic schemes against the people of God. Although a battle is engaged and the enemy has drawn near, he attempts to lull the people into complacency, convincing them to ignore his attack and to just enjoy the good things of life (or alternatively to settle into our current trouble as an inescapable trial) and all the while his intent is to come and snatch us up and make us his captives. He doesn’t want a people to trust God. He doesn’t want a people to fight against him. He relies upon our desire for a peaceful existence to keep us settled in the land until his time is ready. This is a picture of the church that has forgotten how to fight, or has become too comfortable to fight. We have our buildings and programs. We have our material things, our homes, cars and iPhones.
For many, complacency is the default mode. But in the kingdom we are called to warfare and a radical trust in a God who defends and preserves us.
Song of Songs 1:6 Do not look upon me, because I am dark, Because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.
These were not father’s sons, but the mother’s sons. They aren’t the Spirit born, they are sons of this world. They pursue wealth and success, fame and pleasure, and believe everyone else should too. Those who let them have influence over their lives and decisions will find themselves losing the purity of their walk with God and their spiritual life darkened by their pursuit of other things. The mother’s sons want you to work hard within their system (vineyard) even at the expense of your own spiritual priorities. Be sure that you will incur their ire if you don’t walk in step with their agenda…but you have a vineyard to tend.
The Father’s sons will always point you to your vineyard – kingdom living. They will encourage you to focus your life, in every way, upon the King. They will run beside you as you run this race, encouraging you when you become weary. “Keep going! The finish line is in sight”
Surround yourself with the Father’s sons for you have need of them. And they have need of you.
2 Kings 4:3-4 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors–empty vessels; do not gather just a few. “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.”
My attention was arrested by these words – “shut your door”. It reminded me of this New Testament verse:
Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
This woman had a bit of oil, but it wasn’t enough to sustain life. She needed more in order for it to be useful to herself and others. She didn’t just sit in her house lamenting her lack, she went to someone that could help her. The answer came in as much abundance as she had the faith to receive and she was able to trade with the oil. The flow of oil was only limited by the lack of something empty for it to be poured into.
I am reminded of how we can often be – stagnant, the life of God shut up in our earthen vessels. We have some bit of oil, but we sense our lack. We are receiving nothing of heaven into our life adding to our meager supply of oil and thus we have nothing to give out. Would to God that we would see this as a problem and call out for help. If Elisha was willing to help the poor widow, how much more will our Father be willing to help His own children that cry to Him. But we must bring emptiness to Him-not lives crammed full of other things that we’ve used as a substitute for the life of God. Discard all of that…let yourself feel the ache of your empty life…and then come to Him and receive the oil. Shut the door behind you because this is a holy moment, it is an intimate moment, this is the secret place. Let Him fill you with as much as you can contain. Then when you are full, bring what you have to those who need it.
There has never been a shortage of oil – just of empty vessels willing to receive it.