If we date Abraham’s life toward the beginning of the second millennium before Christ (c. 2000 BC), then most of the Old Testament covers a period of about sixteen hundred years (Abraham to Malachi). Some Christians may think that miracles were an almost daily occurrence during this period. However, this was not the case. In fact, as we read the Old Testament, we see that miracles are limited mainly to the period of Moses and the time of Elijah and Elisha. Certainly, God was active throughout the entire old covenant era, just as He is active today. Nevertheless, miracles are concentrated in the ministries of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha, and Exodus 4:1–9 helps us understand why. When Moses did not think that the Israelites would believe that God had sent him, the Lord empowered Moses to do miracles so as to authenticate him as the Lord’s spokesman. The same was true of Elijah and Elisha. Since the office of prophet was formalized and introduced into the regular life of Israel in their day, miracles were needed to demonstrate that the Lord approved of prophecy. In other words, the miracles of Elijah and Elisha proved that God was sending prophets to His people.
Elisha’s ministry, in particular, was characterized by the miraculous. In today’s passage, we read about three different miracles that Elisha did. There is much that we could say about the signs recorded in 2 Kings 4:1–7, 38–44; and 6:1–7, but one of the most important things to notice is that these miracles addressed ordinary needs. A widow was about to lose her sons to slavery to settle a debt. The sons of the prophets were hungry. One son of the prophets lost a borrowed tool that was likely expensive. When Elisha saw that these faithful people of God could not meet their ordinary financial needs or feed themselves, his miracles met those needs. The widow kept her sons; the sons of the prophets were fed; and an ax head was recovered. These needs were not too ordinary or common for God to address. He addressed these needs, providing assistance. Similarly, our needs are not too ordinary for the Lord’s concern. He delights to meet our needs, even our common, everyday necessities.
Note also that God provided abundantly. The widow’s oil flowed and flowed. The sons of prophets were fed with a limited quantity of bread, and some was left over. Our Lord loves to bless His people extravagantly. We should not be surprised when He does far more than we can ask or think (Eph. 3:20).
The Lord knows our real needs better than we do, so sometimes He does things for us that we did not expect or addresses needs that we did not know we had. Still, we know that the Lord is concerned with our common daily needs and that He seeks to meet these needs in a way far fuller than we could have imagined. Let us confess our needs to Him this day and trust Him to meet them.