Brian E Surtees

2 Kings 4: 1-7

         We know that all these Old Testament scriptures were written for our instruction, Rom 15: 4.  Some of them have to be understood in a figurative way, and it is well known that very often in the Scripture, oil is a figure or type of the Holy Spirit.  It is in that light that I have a few words to say about this passage. 

         This widow was one who spoke of her husband as God’s servant, and as one that feared Jehovah.  We know that our sister’s husband, who was taken to be with Christ a few months ago, was one who feared Jehovah.  Both he and his wife, in the thirty years I have known them, were God-fearing, pious persons.  The memory of that continues and the effects of it in the next generation are expected to continue. 

         A great need came in when the husband of this woman died: there was a debt, so that the creditor came and threatened to take away the two sons as slaves.  We could not apply that in any literal sense today, but we can see that the loss first of our brother and then of our sister has left a spiritual need behind.  The prophet shows how the need can be met.  He draws attention to what is in the house, a pot of oil; he does not refer to what may not be found in the house, but draws positively on what there is.  If we look at the local company we should expect to find the presence of the Holy Spirit - not only in every person, but also in the company, whether gathered together or not.  The prophet draws attention to the oil and how its supply may be increased.  We can say that our sister was one who knew how to use the oil.  She knew the presence of the Holy Spirit and so did her husband.  They knew how to depend upon the Spirit in conditions of great weakness, and that is a lesson for us all. 

         It says, “Go in, and shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons”.  We should expect to find that worked out in every local company, for in this scripture the house and the family - the widow and her sons - can be regarded as representing the local assembly.  It is not exactly here what is worked out in believers generally; nor is it a purely individual matter, but it is what can be worked out with a few together in unity.  We remember Psalm 133, how it speaks about God commanding the blessing where the brethren are dwelling together in unity.  That is the setting where eternal life can be enjoyed; as it says in verse 3 of that Psalm, “for there hath Jehovah commanded the blessing, life for evermore”. 

         So we have recently lost our brother and now our sister, but there is a supply sufficient for the saints to carry on together; and, as has often been pointed out, not only to meet the immediate need but to “live on the rest”. 

         May the Lord help us all on this line, in His Name.


19th December 2013

(At the meeting for the burial of Mme Lydie Charèyre)