"Empty Me, of Me"
II Kings 4:1-7
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
2 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.
3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.
4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.
6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
I has been my experience that there is nothing that attracts the attention of the Lord like emptiness. When I was in school I learned that there is a law of nature that states: nothing remains empty, it must be filled, and it will be filled. This fact makes clear to me this morning three critical points regarding emptiness:
- Emptiness is a choice
- We will all eventually be filled with something
- What we are filled with is up to us.
Since nothing can remain empty by nature, it is imperative that we realize that the condition of emptiness is intentional. We must by a deliberate act of our wills choose to be emptied.
In our story we are not told what the various substances the borrowed vessels contained prior to being emptied, but we know that in order to be filled with the oil they had to first be emptied. We are likewise not told what condition they were found in when they were borrowed. They may have been dirty, cast aside and forgotten, they may have been imperfect, or cracked and broken. Regardless of the condition they were found in, regardless of what purpose they had served before, in order for them to be used as a blessing they need to be emptied of all unnecessary material, and made available before they could be filled with the oil (anointing).
We, like the borrowed vessels, may have things that need to be emptied from our lives, we may be imperfect, broken even, but we have to be emptied of all the unnecessary junk in our hearts and made available for His use before the anointing of God can be poured out into our hearts. We have to be emptied of everything that is of no use to God, anything that will hinder the anointing from being manifest in our bodies, so that we can be a blessing to others. Let me put it simply: We have to die, kill the old man, so that the life of Jesus can be manifest in our bodies.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
It’s an attitude and disposition of the heart that places our lives before God as hopeless, helpless, and powerless. It is a life wholly given up to God. It is a life that is totally sustained by God. The only life that can be wholly sustained by God is a life that is wholly surrendered to God. The branch draws its life from the vine when it ceases to live for itself, and lives to bring glory and honor to the vine.
Against Israel’s enemy God chose what seemed like a very foolish weapon: A Clay Pot and a Candle.
And he –Gideon divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.
No swords, spears, knives, or even shields. Just a trumpet, a clay pot and a candle.
And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.
What was it that made the pitcher valuable to Gods purpose? Not their beauty, not their particular shape or design, not what they had done in the past, not whose house they had come from, or because they were made out of silver or brass or Gold, but the things that made them valuable to God’s purpose are the same things that makes us valuable to him today:
- They were available
- They were empty – Fillable
- They were breakable.
We are too often only available for what we want, too full of what we like, and too proud to be broken.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The Cross is the key to receiving the anointing. The power of the Holy ghost can only come to those who have fully entered into a surrendered life at the foot of the cross. Before we can have the power of the resurrection we must first be crucified to our flesh – the “Old man” must die. We can only know the power of His resurrection, by sharing in the fellowship of His suffering.
The cross is not for sin, but for self. Yes, Jesus’ death and substitutionary sacrifice was to deliver us from the power of sin, but the cross was not a substitutional act - "one died for all, so all must die.' We must all experience in ourselves the full weight of the cross. The cross is God’s death sentence not only toward sin, but upon the “self” life. The “self” life keeps us from experiencing the Power of God. The Power that comes through the baptism of the Holy Ghost comes only to those who are willing to bear in their body the death of the Lord Jesus, so that the life of Jesus can be manifested in the place of the “self” life.
Jesus said that he was the vine, and we are the braches. Only as the branch gives up its own life can it be sustained and empowered by the life of the vine to produce the fruits of righteousness that glorify God and lead to life. The fruits of the “self” life, can only produce self-righteousness which seeks to glorify self and eventually lead to death.
When we quit trying and start trusting, and quit wrestling and start nestling we will experience the power and anointing of the Holy Ghost. Jacob did not prevail over the angel in his strength but in his weakness. Just as Jacob was broken, so the cross breaks us and empties us of us, so that even though we may be imperfect, broken vessels, God can fill us and use us to glorify Himself.