Category Archives: People in Old Testament

Jonah and the Great Fish

Text: Jonah 1:17-2:1,10; Matthew 12:39,40

Props: a pair of dice or a poster of Jonah and the great fish

Summary: The story of Jonah demonstrates God’s love for people of all lands. Jesus compared his three days in the earth to Jonah’s three days in the great fish.

Today I want to talk to you about foreign missions. A foreign mission is when God gets someone to go to a different country to tell others about Jesus. The Bible has a story about foreign missions called the Book of Jonah. Jonah was called by God to be a foreign missionary. Jonah reacted with disbelief. Instead of going to Nineveh to preach to the sinners there, he ignored God and went in the opposite direction to a coastal town called Joppa. He must have felt he needed a vacation because he decided to take a cruise to Tarshish, a resort town on the Mediterranean Sea. He may have figured “out of sight, out of mind” and a little rest and relaxation would take his mind off God’s call to mission work. But God had other plans for Jonah.

Shortly after setting sail, a storm arose. The wind was blowing waves into the ship and the crew feared for their lives. They knew it was the handiwork of God. All cruise ships have dice, so they threw dice (cast lots) and decided that Jonah was to blame for their troubles. Jonah confessed that he had fled from the presence of the Lord and told them they would be alright if they threw him overboard. So they did. One thing we can tell right here is that we can never run away from God or his calling on our lives because God is everywhere. As soon as they threw him out of the ship the sea became calm again. This was a great witness to the men on board because the Bible says the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows. 

Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly… And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

Can you imagine that? God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. Some people think the great fish could have been a whale. It didn’t chew up Jonah because God had him swallow him whole. Jonah must have been scared out of his wits. The belly of a fish didn’t have a luxury cabin that Jonah had been hoping to find on board the ship.

Water was sloshing around everywhere and seaweed was wrapped around his head. Maybe Jonah ate the seaweed? Yuck! There were no lights down in the tummy of the fish. It was cold, dark, and scary. So Jonah did what most folks do when they are scared: he prayed to God. Jonah didn’t give up. God heard Jonah’s prayer and after three days the fish coughed up Jonah on to the dry land.

Jonah was tired and smelly. And then God spoke to him again and said Arise, go to Nineveh. God cares about all people from every land. He wants everyone to know about Him. By this time Jonah had learned a hard lesson and he obeyed God. Jonah didn’t really care about the people he was sent to save, but God did. The king of Nineveh heard the message to repent and told everyone to pray to God for forgiveness. So God spared the people of Nineveh.

Jesus spoke of Jonah as a historically accurate account. Jesus told the people of his day they were given the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Jesus was telling the people that he would die and be three days in the grave, and then he would rise from the dead. We can be thankful that God still calls us to be missionaries. He loves all people and wants everyone to come to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Chariot of Fire

Text: 2 Kings 2:7-12

Prop: A poster of Elijah and Elisha or a runner’s baton

Summary: The story of Elijah passing his mantle to Elisha. Before God took Elijah to heaven in a chariot of fire, he prepared his follower to continue the Lord’s work.

Have you ever watched the Olympics on TV? When runners are in a relay race, each runner goes all the way around the track and then hands off a stick (or baton) to the next runner. Then that runner takes it on the next part of the race and hands it off again. Life in God’s kingdom is like a relay race. We are each responsible for running our part of the race, and then handing off, or passing on our faith, to the next generation of children that follow us.

I want to tell you a story about the day the great prophet Elijah did this with the man he had trained to follow in his footsteps: Elisha. They weren’t running in a race. The prophets in those days wore something called a mantle. It was like a cloak, or overcoat. It was a symbol of their authority from God to be a prophet.

Now Elijah had performed many great miracles in his day. He predicted a drought and lived through it. He overthrew the false prophets of Baal when God sent fire down from heaven and consumed a water-drenched sacrifice. He trained and anointed Elisha to succeed him, or to take over when he was old. Elijah knew that the time had come to pass the mantle on to Elisha. What Elisha didn’t know was that God was sending a heavenly taxi to pick up Elijah before he died.

Elijah wanted to do this alone, but Elisha begged him to let him come along. Elisha loved Elijah and he wanted to be with him no matter what happened. Elijah wrapped his mantle together and struck the waters of the Jordan River and they parted, and then they walked over on dry ground. Fifty sons of the prophets were standing afar off and saw this happen.

(Read 2 Kings 2:9) Elisha asked for a special blessing. He wanted to be twice the man of God that Elijah had been. Elijah told him that if he saw God take him then he would get his wish.

(Read 2 Kings 2:11-12)

Elisha was astonished at what he saw happen next. He saw horses of fire and a chariot of fire come down from the sky in a whirlwind. It passed between them and took Elijah off to heaven! Wow! Can you imagine seeing the wind rushing around and a heavenly horse and chariot that was so shiny it sparkled like fire? It didn’t burn Elijah. It came to pick him up and Elijah dropped his mantle as he was whisked away up in the air. Elisha picked it up and became the next great prophet of Israel. We don’t see Elijah any more again until he appears with Moses beside the transfigured Jesus in all his glory. (Mark 9:4)

Elisha went on to perform many mighty miracles also. He used the mantle to cross back over the Jordan River on dry ground. He saved a poor widow by multiplying the oil in her jar. He raised a child from the dead! He saved a school of prophets from death during a famine when they ate poisonous vegetables. He healed the Syrian captain Naaman of leprosy. This gave Elisha a good influence with the Syrian king that later helped Israel (Luke 4:27).

The adults here today have a duty from God to train you, the children, to grow up with a strong faith in Jesus. May we learn from this story to train up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6), so we may see many of you come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Burning Bush

Text: Exodus 3:1-6, 14

Summary: God called Moses to service at the “burning bush.” Jesus is the great I AM. Jesus is who appeared to Moses as “the angel of the Lord.”

Have you heard about Moses and the burning bush? That is a story in the Bible from the Book of Exodus. Moses had grown up in Egypt in the palace of the Pharaoh. When he was about 40 years old, he ran away from Egypt because he killed an Egyptian that was beating up a Hebrew. Moses spent another 40 years in the backside of the desert with the Midianites. It was here that God worked on Moses and taught him what he would need to know to be a leader, a leader to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

Moses and the burning bush

Moses and the Burning Bush by Arnold Friberg is provided courtesy of Christ-Centered Art.

One day Moses saw something very unusual. He saw a bush that appeared to be on fire, but it wasn’t burning down. It was the angel of the Lord. This was a name for God. It was actually Jesus (before he ever came to earth, he has been alive forever) who called to Moses. Moses answered, Here am I.

(Read Exodus 3:5-6)

Moses was afraid because he realized it was God speaking to him. God was calling him to service. He wanted Moses to be the leader of the Israelites and take them away from being slaves in Egypt to serve God in the Promised Land. Moses made excuses but finally he realized he could not turn down God’s call to serve him. As one last effort to make an excuse, he asked God what his name was so he could tell the children of Israel who it was that called him. God answered with a word we now call Jehovah (from YAHWEH), which means I AM THAT I AM. This name means that God has lived forever; he is God because he is God and that’s it. Jesus is the great I AM that spoke to Moses at the burning bush.

As Christians we are called to serve God also. We can make excuses and disappoint God, or we can do all we can to serve Him. Some Christians are called into special areas of work for God and become pastors or missionaries. But what I’m speaking about right now is not that. I’m speaking about EVERY Christian. Every Christian is called by God to serve him at school, work, or play. We can serve God no matter where he places us.

©1999 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Isaac and Rebekah

The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. – Abraham speaking to his servant, Genesis 24:7

Text: Genesis 24:14, 34-67

Prop: a gold bracelet or a poster of camels

Summary: The story of how Rebekah became Isaac’s wife. We learn to trust Jesus by trusting our parents when they make decisions for us.

Today I want to tell you the Bible story of Isaac and Rebekah. It is a love story of promises made and promises kept, a story of trust and patience, and a story of how Jesus works in your life in ways you may not realize. Sometimes your parents make decisions for you. If you go to buy clothes, they help you choose the right clothes to wear. If you need to be in bed at a certain time, they decide what time is best. You may not always agree with their decision, but they love you and try to do what is best for you. You show Jesus that you love him when you obey your parents. You learn to trust Jesus by trusting your parents when they make decisions for you. But what if your parents decided whom you would marry? Would you trust them for that? Today young men and women choose whom they will marry. A long time ago that was not how it was done. The parents would choose for them. That doesn’t sound very romantic, does it?

A very long time ago, God made a promise to Abraham. God kept his promise by giving Abraham a son named Isaac. When Isaac was forty years old, Abraham decided it was time for Isaac to marry. Abraham kept Isaac at home and sent his oldest servant to find a wife for Isaac and bring her back. He wanted a wife for Isaac that knew the true God, that was from his own people. The servant left Hebron and traveled over 500 miles to Abraham’s home city of Nahor. He took ten camels and everything he needed for the long journey. It probably took two months to get there. When he arrived it was late in the day. He stopped at a well just outside the city. He prayed and asked God to show him whom to choose. (Read Genesis 24:14.)

Abraham’s servant had not even finished praying when a beautiful young woman named Rebekah came to the well. Rebekah gave him water to drink after he asked. Then she offered to fill the trough with water for his camels. Whew! Rebekah was not only kind but also a hard worker because ten camels can drink a lot of water! God had prepared her heart for this day. She had no way of knowing that she was an answer to prayer. Then the servant gave her a gold nose ring and two gold arm bracelets for her kindness and asked for a place to stay the night. (Show children the gold bracelet. Explain that women wore nose rings instead of earrings and gold bands on their arms.) Rebekah ran home and got her brother Laban to come back with her to the well. Then they invited Abraham’s servant home to meet her father Bethuel. They all sat down to eat and the servant told what happened and how God answered his prayer (see Genesis 24:34-49).

Rebekah listened as Abraham’s servant explained he was on a mission to find a wife for his master’s son, who was a wealthy man, blessed by God. He asked Rebekah’s father and brother for permission for Isaac to marry Rebekah. By the way, Rebekah and Isaac had never even seen each other!* Bethuel and Laban said the thing proceedeth from the Lord and gave their approval. Then the servant gave Rebekah gold jewelry, silver jewelry, and expensive clothes; he also gave her brother and mother precious things. In those days it was a custom for the father of the groom to give presents to the bride’s family. It took a lot of faith for both Rebekah and Isaac to trust their parents to make this decision. The next day Rebekah left to return with the servant and meet the man she would marry.

A few months later back in Hebron, Isaac was in the field at sunset spending some quiet time with God. He had waited patiently for nearly four months while the servant was gone. He must have been happy to see the caravan of camels coming home, hoping to meet his bride! Rebekah saw a man waiting across the field. She was so excited that she slid down off her camel. Somehow I think she knew it was Isaac even before she asked who it was. She covered her face with a veil so he would be surprised how pretty she was later on their wedding day. That is how God brought them together in an amazing way, even though they grew up miles apart. They fell in love and lived happily ever after.

This story has some similarities in how God works in our lives today. The descendant of Isaac was our Lord Jesus. God the Father sends the Holy Spirit, asking us to accept Jesus as Lord, and become the bride of Christ. When he finds us he asks us to leave behind our old life and come join him in a new life as a Christian. We have to decide if we will follow him or not. It is our choice.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. Help me to trust my parents when they decide things for me. Help me to trust you more each day. Amen.

* Although Rebekah was a granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, she may have been close in age to Isaac because he was born when Abraham was 100 years old.

©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Look Inside

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. – Matthew 12:35

Text: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Prop: a cantaloupe or melon

Summary: The Lord does not judge by outward appearance, but by the character and thoughts of a person.

Some things are hard to figure out until you take a look inside. Most car buyers look under the hood to see the condition of the engine and parts before buying a car. But what if you cannot see what is inside? Take a look at this melon. (Show the cantaloupe or melon.) I would not be allowed to cut it in half before I buy it. How can I tell if it is ripe and ready to eat? There is an old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” That means the content of a book may be better than the book cover suggests. You would have to take a look inside and read some of it to find out. All of these things remind me of a story in the Bible about the young boy David.

Do you remember the story of David and Goliath? Well, before that story in the Bible we find out that God chose David to be the next king of God’s people. God told the prophet Samuel that it was time to select the next king. He told Samuel to stop being sad that King Saul would not be the king much longer. God sent Samuel to the home of a man named Jesse in the little town of Bethlehem. (Yes, the same town where Jesus was born many years later.)

Then Samuel prepared a sacrifice to God and invited Jesse and his sons. Jesse had eight sons. David, being the youngest, was left in the field to tend the sheep. Then Samuel began to look at the sons of Jesse, beginning with Eliab. Samuel thought that Eliab was the one God would choose to be king.

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. – 1 Samuel 16:7

Jesse called his sons one at a time, until Samuel had seen seven sons, but the one the Lord had chosen to be king was not among them. Then Samuel asked if this was all, and Jesse told him that the youngest son was watching over the sheep. David was brought in from the field to stand before Samuel. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. (verse 12) So it was that the last of Jesse’s sons was to be the next king of Israel. God looked at David’s heart, his inward thoughts and his character, and judged him to be fit to rule the people.

We are unable to look inside a person like God and to know what to think of them. So we should not judge them at all. We can tell what sort of person someone is by their actions. The Lord Jesus says the tree is known by his fruit. (Matthew 12:33) Jesus says a good person with good thoughts will do good things, but a bad person with bad thoughts will do bad things. (verse 35) Let’s decide today that we will be like Jesus and do good things.

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, help me to have good thoughts and teach me to do good things. Amen.

©2005 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Samson

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord.” – Romans 12:19 (reference Deuteronomy 32:35)

Text: Judges 13:1-16:31

Prop: a bottle of vitamins (or alternate, picture of former Twin Towers in New York City or poster of The Bondage Breaker)

Summary: Samson was a hero of faith. God gave Samson the strength to fight his enemies.

Today I brought some vitamins. (Show bottle of vitamins.) Vitamins are in the food you eat. Some people take these vitamins to help them stay healthy. It is said that a multi-vitamin with the mineral iron will make you strong. Have you ever seen a really strong person? When I think of someone strong, I think of a big man with lots of muscles. I think of body builders and wrestlers like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hulk Hogan, and The Rock. The Bible tells of a strong man that lived about 3,100 years ago (1100 B.C.). His name was Samson.

Samson was the last of the great judges (leaders) over the people of Israel. He judged them for 20 years. He is listed among the heroes of faith in the Bible (Hebrews 11:32). Samson was dedicated to the Lord before he was born. He was born during a time when God punished the Israelites for doing evil things “and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.” (Judges 13:1) Samson took an oath as a Nazarite to let his hair grow and not to drink wine or strong drink. This was a sign of devotion to God.

Some people thought Samson gained his strength from his long hair, but it was the Spirit of the Lord that came upon Samson that delivered him from danger. As a young man Samson tore a lion apart with his bare hands. In one battle he killed one thousand Philistines. He was a mighty man and a fierce warrior. One night he escaped an ambush at midnight and tore off the doors from the gate of the city, “and put them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.” (Judges 16:3)

He displeased his parents by asking for a wife from among the Philistines, the enemies of Israel. Many of his personal problems were because he chose to trust Philistine women instead of God. His love for Delilah led him to trust her and she betrayed him. Samson was captured, bound, blinded, and put in prison. Strangely, the Lord turned this in favor of the Israelites. In the end “Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord” was worked out against the Philistines by the Lord.

Samson was taken in chains into the Philistine temple of Dagon, where they laughed at Samson and were glad he had been captured. In one final act of faith, Samson prayed to God to let him avenge himself against the Philistines because they had blinded him. “And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines.” He laid his hands on the pillars that held up the temple, and pushed against them with all his might. With God’s help the roof fell in and killed about 3000 men and women. “So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.” (Judges 16:30)

What can we learn from this story? Always listen to and obey your parents. Trust the Lord Jesus, who gives you strength and will guide you. Acts of vengeance should be discouraged.

©2005 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Solomon’s Wisdom

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. – Proverbs 3:13

Text: 1 Kings 3:5-12; James 1:5

Prop: a dictionary

Summary: Solomon was given great wisdom because he asked humbly to know right from wrong.

I know some of you are learning how to spell words in school. Have you ever been in a Spelling Bee contest to see who could spell the most words? (Listen to answers.) I have even watched that TV show called “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” and struggled to answer the questions. This dictionary (show dictionary) has the correct way to spell many words. It is a wealth of knowledge if you want to know how to spell words. Let me ask you to spell the word “Bible.” (Listen to answers.) Yes, you answered correctly. The Bible is a wealth of knowledge if you want to gain wisdom. That reminds me of a story in the Bible about the wisest man in the world.

(Read 1 Kings 3:5-12.)

Solomon was the new king of Israel around 1000 B.C. He was young and did not even know all the things a king was expected to know. He realized he had a great responsibility and was humble to ask God for the wisdom to be a great leader of the people. He did not ask to be smart. He asked to be wise. If you are smart you know a lot of things. If you are wise you know what is right and wrong and how to use what you know. It pleased God that he did not ask for long life or riches or fame or to harm his enemies. So God told him he would give him wisdom like no other person before him or after him.

Two books of the Bible, Proverbs and Song of Solomon, are what remain of Solomon’s wisdom. The Bible says that Solomon told 3000 proverbs and had 1005 songs (1 Kings 4:32). Solomon was a great builder too. He built the great Temple in Jerusalem, but it was destroyed in 587 B.C. Jesus walked along Solomon’s portico (porch) and was in the family line (descendant) of Solomon. (see #145 Walking with Jesus) Solomon’s name means “his peace” and Psalm 72 is about his ceremony of being given the king’s crown (coronation, another big word). (see #137 New World Order) Our Lord Jesus even taught us not to worry in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:29) when he said the lilies of the field did not sew or work, yet “even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

(Read James 1:5] The Bible tells us if we want wisdom we should ask God in faith for it. Remember that all wisdom comes from God, and if we want to be wise, all we have to do is to humbly ask God for it.

Let us pray: Dear Lord Jesus, help me to learn to be wise and to know what is right and wrong. Amen.

©2008 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Soul-ed Out for Jesus

Text: Mark 1:4-11

ticketsProp: Some movie or theater tickets.

Summary: John the Baptist was completely committed to preparing the way for Jesus. He pointed others to Jesus.

Have you ever been to a movie or theater play that was so popular that all the tickets sold out? People stand in line for hours to get tickets to great performances or events. Today I want to tell you about the person who was the warm-up act for Jesus. His purpose in life was to get people ready for Jesus. His name was John, and he became known as John the Baptist.

(Read Mark 1:4-7.) Large crowds came from all over the land of Judea to hear John preach. John had sell-out crowds because he was sold out for Jesus. John drew large numbers of people because he was completely committed to the task God had given him. He urged people to repent of their sins. He baptized them with water. This was a visible way of cleansing people, of washing away their sins. He was preparing their hearts for a very important person: Jesus!

John the Baptist used every chance to tell others that Jesus was coming. He pointed others to Jesus. He did not try to take credit for himself. In fact, he was so humble that he didn’t even consider himself worthy to be a servant to Jesus and carry his sandals (verse 7). The people were eager to hear what this wild man in the wilderness had to say. John was wearing clothes made from camel’s hair and living off the land, eating locusts and wild honey. John did not try to change his message to suit his audience. He boldly proclaimed the message God told him to give. He stayed focused on his mission of preparing the way for Jesus.

(Read Mark 1:8.) John baptized with water but he knew Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. John prepared their hearts so Jesus could change their lives. We are called to give our lives and our souls to Jesus. We need to be sold out for Jesus like John the Baptist was, or you might say, Soul-ed out for Jesus. If we do that, then Jesus will change our lives. The servant who is totally committed to God’s will and following Jesus will be used in a mighty way by God.

Dear Lord Jesus: Help me to dedicate myself to following you more closely each day. Amen.

©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Here I Am

That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. – 1 Samuel 3:4

Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Prop: the Dr. Seuss children’s book Green Eggs and Ham

Summary: The young boy Samuel learns to listen to God.

One of my favorite books for children is Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. The main character in the book is Sam-I-Am. He tries to convince another person to eat green eggs and ham. Green eggs are a breakfast item made of eggs with spinach or another green vegetable. Do you like to try new green vegetables? (Listen to answers.) No? Neither did the character in the book, who replied:

I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them ANYWHERE
I do not like green eggs and ham
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

You will have to read the book to find out if he ever does try the green eggs and ham and whether or not he likes them. Today’s story from the book of Samuel is about the young boy Samuel. Samuel is being called to serve God. In the story, at first Sam thinks his teacher Eli is the one calling his name aloud. After three times of answering Eli, “Here I am,” Eli realizes that God is calling young Samuel. So Eli tells Samuel to listen to God the next time he calls.

I would like to share this story in a rhyme (in English) as a tribute to God, who gives us our gifts.

Young boy Sam was lying down
His teacher Eli was in his gown
Eli’s eyes were growing dim
He could not see that it was Him

The Lord called out, “Samuel, Sam!”
And Samuel answered, “Here I am!”
Sam said to Eli, “Did you call?”
And Eli said, “I don’t recall.

Lie down again. I did not call.
No I did not, not at all.”
Sam went back into the house
Where things were quiet as a mouse.

Soon the Lord called out to Sam
Sam said to Eli, “Here I am!”
“Lie down,” said Eli, “I did not call.
No I did not, not at all.”

Yet a third time God called Sam
And Samuel answered, “Here I am!”
Then Eli realized Who it was
That called to Sam. But for what cause?

So Eli wisely said to Sam
When you hear, say “Here I am!
Speak, my Lord, I’m listening still
And I am ready to do your will.”

Sam returned as he was told
He was not frightened. He was bold.
The Lord called out, “Samuel, Sam!”
And Samuel answered, “Here I am!”

Young boy Sam had heard the call
He answered bravely, but best of all
Said, “Speak, my Lord, I’m listening still
And I am ready to do your will.”

Let us pray. Dear God, help us hear when you speak and to be ready (as young Sam was) to do your will. Amen.

©2005 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Excerpt from Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1960.

Super Bowl

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22,23

Text: 2 Kings 4:1-7

Prop: a jar or bowl

Summary: The story of Elisha and the widow shows how God provides for our needs abundantly.

Today let’s talk about the Super Bowl. Do you know what I mean? I’m not talking about the football game to be played in February. I’m talking about a story in the Bible about a bowl of oil. Oil was used as fuel to burn in lamps. It was very valuable.There was a woman whose husband had served God under the great prophet Elisha. When he died, the poor widow owed someone money, but she did not have the money to pay him. Her two sons were going to be taken as slaves to work until the debt was paid. She was desperate. She went to the prophet Elisha and begged for him to help her.

And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. – 2 Kings 4:2

Elisha told her what to do. This is what happened. She went home and borrowed jars from all her neighbors, as many as she could find. Then she and her sons went inside and closed the doors to the house. She took her bowl of oil, and she began pouring. She poured from that little bowl until the first jar was full. He brought jar after jar, until they filled every jar they had borrowed. She told her son to bring her another jar, but there were not any more left. Then the oil stopped flowing.

She was so excited with all the oil that God had provided that she ran to tell the good news to Elisha. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest. (2 Kings 4:7) She trusted God to help her. God took the little bit that she had with her faith and made more. Now she had enough to sell so she could pay all the money she owed and still have plenty to live on with her sons. She obeyed God and showed her faith when she did what the prophet Elisha told her to do. God blessed her with a mighty miracle for her faith.

This little bowl of oil was truly a “super bowl.” God provided all she needed. The oil is like the Holy Spirit. When a person believes in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to fill us. The Holy Spirit provides all we need in life. It is like a bowl of oil that overflows, giving us all we need to let our light shine for God.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.