Here Elisha performs two more miracles on God’s behalf, this time to make things right for his prophets. Our setting is during a time of famine. I can’t say that I’ve lived through a famine because of the present-day grocery store. But I can imagine before we had such convenience, weather patterns and food shortages in a particular area would be devastating.
I’m not sure the gourds were “poisonous” or deadly, as some of the stew was consumed. It’s more likely that the wild gourds would lead to stomach upset and be bitter or foul tasting. The miracle may have simply been the wisdom God gave Elisha to know how to fix it with a little flour. Rather than have a pot of ruined stew, Elisha made it edible so they would not go hungry. (Remember the salt from Chapter 2?)
We can have confidence that God will always give us a way out when we are tempted by something that is not good for us. Remember the words of 2 Corinthians 10:13, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” What if you look at what happens with the stew through the lens of this promise?
Elisha also comes to the rescue using God’s power with the grain. What story comes to mind for you as you read these words? I can’t help but think of the two instances we read about in the New Testament when Jesus feeds a multitude with only scant provisions.
I don’t want to rush past the provision here. The bag of grain and loaves of barley bread were brought to Elisha by a man from Baal-shalishah. We’re not told if he was a follower of the LORD or not. It’s possible he was and was bringing some sort of a sacrifice or offering to God by giving it to Elisha. God certainly used that man and his provision to nourish his followers with all that they need.
I’m sure the servant was surprised when he saw how the situation played out, just as Elisha had said it would. “Everyone will eat, and there will even be some left over!” Again, God provided them with abundance! That’s the kind of God we serve. He wants to pour out his abundance on us, too.
Have you experienced a miracle of abundance in your life or witnessed it in a friend or acquaintance? In the business world, I’ve seen many people who had lost everything be able to rebuild to even stronger positions. I’d like to think God was at work in their lives, but not all of them were believers.
Did you think of Job? While his story focuses so much on his losses, the real message is his faithfulness during the trials. There was a happy ending for Job, one he could never have imagined.
I believe we, too, are rewarded for our faithfulness. Trials will come. In times of hunger (or struggle) we need to cling to God’s promises and trust him for the plenty (answered prayer). God’s faithfulness is proven time and again in the words of Scripture. God loves to pour out his blessings on his obedient children.
We can be sure there will be plenty left over for us, too. The question becomes, “what do we do with our abundance?” Do we share it? Do we try to make the world a better place? God rewards those whose ambitions are kingdom focused and not selfishly motivated.
I sometimes struggle when I see people in this world enjoying a wealth they created giving no credit to the help of God. Their selfish ambition seems to have rewarded them nicely, and they are not giving back or sharing with others as we are called to do. I pray for them because I have to think that they are trying to use their wealth to fill their empty soul.
You’ve probably heard “you can’t take it with you!” In the case of an ungodly person with extreme wealth, their time of enjoyment is limited to this life. For us believers, our true treasure is found in eternal life with Jesus Christ.
Jesus told us in Matthew 6:19-20, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” We can invest in our heavenly inheritance and trust God for the “plenty” here on earth.
Let’s pray …
Thank you, Lord, for all your provisions in my life. Help me overcome my feelings of inferiority when I compare what I have been provided with others. I am truly grateful for how you have gifted me and provided for me with great abundance. Forgive me when I forget those blessings or take them for granted. I love you, Lord, and look forward to the day when I will celebrate with you in heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.