I hate being in debt. I don’t use my credit cared often, but when I do, I always pay it it off before the end of the month. My only other debt is the one I owe on my house. I pray I never have to take out another loan for the rest of my life. The problem with debts, of course, is that you eventually have to pay them back. And if you can’t, you’re in trouble.
That’s what happened with the woman in this story. For whatever reason, after her husband died, he left behind debts that she couldn’t pay. Perhaps they were medical bills from his final illness. But whatever they were, she was in trouble, because in those days, if a person couldn’t pay their debts, they were often thrown in prison, or forced to work as slaves.
In this case, her creditors were planning to take her two sons as slaves, which would have left her with no one who could support her in her old age. And so she came up to Elisha for help.
Very much like the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (I Kings 17), he had the woman take what little she had from her house, and miraculously was able to multiply it. He just told her to get as many jars as she could get from her neighbors, and upon doing so, told her to fill the oil she did have into those jars. The oil never did stop flowing until all the jars were filled, and not only was she able to pay off her debt, but to live off of the rest the money she had made.
In the same way, we too had an unpayable debt, the debt of sin. In Romans 3:23, it says, “For all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), and that we must pay for our sins. How can we pay for our sins? The truth is, we can’t. And because of that, we are doomed to be separated from God forever when we die.
But God loved us so much that he sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. And by doing so, he paid the debt for our sin. When Jesus died on the cross, he said “It is finished.” The word he used on the cross was often used when a person paid off their tax bills in Rome. It means, “Paid in full.” What Jesus was saying was that our debt of sin was paid in full by his death on the cross.
And just as God poured oil into all those jars, he pours his Holy Spirit into our hearts, guaranteeing our inheritance in heaven someday (Ephesians 1:13-14). But not only does he pay off our debt and give us eternal life, he also gives us a life worth living on earth, and promises to provide for our needs here.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32).
Lord I thank you that you have paid my debt of sin, that you have paid the price I owed that I might be your child, and no longer a slave to Satan’s kingdom. Lord, I pray that you would fill me up with your Spirit each day, that I may live a full life. And Lord, may your kingdom come to the people around me who don’t know you, that they may be set free too. In Jesus name, amen.