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[Open Heaven 2018] Good Neighbourliness I

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Topic: Good Neighbourliness I  Pastor E.A Adeboye – Open Heavens Devotional | Date: Friday 25 May, 2018.

Memorise: And he answering said, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength , and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Luke 10:27

Bible reading: 2Kings 4:1-6

The Widow’s Olive Oil

  1. The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

  2. Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

  3. Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.

  4. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

  5. She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring.

  6. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

Bible in one year: 1 Kings 1, 1 John 5

Message

Today’s Bible reading tells true story of the widow of one of the sons of the prophets, whose late husband owed some money to a heartless creditor, who threatened to take away her two sons as slaves.

After listening to her complaint, the man of God said to her in 2 kings 4:3

“… Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.”

This instruction indirectly placed the solution to her problems in the hands of her neighbours, because her ability to get the many empty vessels she needed depended on how good a neighbour she had been

Among the Jewish people in the Bible days, loams were not supposed to be commercial in nature; rather, they were to be given on charitable terms. For example, interest free loans would be given to assist a peasant Farmer during a period of poverty. The primary motivation of borrowers was to obtain a relief from need rather than to further their economic enterprises. For this reason, lending with interest to the poor was prohibited in Exodus 22:25.

God’s expectation is that lending to the poor will be a form of sacrifice motivated by the spirit of mercy and compassion in obedience to Him ( Proverbs 3:27-28). Although the Bible encourages us not to deny the poor and needy who approach us for help , we determine who deserves our help and how far we are ready to go on their behalf based on factors such as good neighbourliness.

In Acts 9:36-41, the neighbours of Tabitha protested vehemently against her death and pleaded passionately with Apostle Peter for her to be raised back to life because she was full of good works and alms deeds. In Luke 7:1-10, the elders of the Jews approached Jesus on behalf of a centurion who had a sick servant.

They pleaded with Him, saying this man deserved His assistance because he had shown his love for them by building a synagogue. Without controversy, good neighbourliness played a very big role in these cases we have considered. In the case of the widow in 2 kings 4:1-6, the fact that she went to her neighbours and got the vessels she needed indicates that she had been a good neighbour to them.

Imagine if she was the kind of person who was not known to her neighbours or if she was a proud and difficult person; she would have been denied those vessels she needed and her miracle would have been a mirage, God charged us in Romans 12:18 to live peacefully with all men, knowing fully well that apart from it being a source to us, a peaceful coexistence with our neighbours will give us the much needed opportunity to preach the good news to them.

Action point: Make peace with every neighbour you are not at peace with.

Hymnal: Sing Hymn 12

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