We get to have dinner with Elisha twice. Both times there is trouble with having enough. Both groups depended on Elisha. And both meals were blessed beyond measure.
I don’t know if these two groups depended on Elisha on a daily basis but for their respective meals that day they did. The first group was made up of prophets. We aren’t told who was in the second group besides “the men.”
The first thing that popped into my head when I started reading was the story of “Stone Soup.” In that story everyone had food but didn’t want to ‘share’. A clever traveler got them each to contribute something to the soup and it was enough for everyone to share. Our first group of diners aren’t being stingy but they are working together to make a meal for the community. “Bring what you’ve got. Put it in the pot” (Stone Soup animated story).
The young man who found the wild vine was probably thrilled to find something large enough to feed the people. He picked enough gourds to fill his lap and then he carefully cut them up for the stew. He gave from his heart. He didn’t hold anything back for his own use. God blessed his labor and gift in the end.
But what can we learn from him and his mistake? First of all, he went searching for something. He had a goal in mind when he started out. He was after herbs. He probably knew what the herbs looked like that he had in mind to gather. While out looking he got sidetracked by something that looked better. And what he found was cleverly disguised death.
The man didn’t set out to hurt anyone but neither did he take the time to prevent it. He never checked with anyone else regarding the plant he had found before dropping it in the stew. Everyone was exposed to danger because of what he had brought in.
We can be the same way with doctrine. We start out searching or following something we know to be true but then something new comes along and it looks inviting. We bring it back into the ‘body’ to share with everyone only to find it is cleverly disguised lies from Satan. It can bring about death. But God can purify the ‘meal’ again if we let Him. He can root out the deceit in that doctrine and help us grow on the truth of His word instead. Just as the flour neutralized the poison, His TRUTHS drives away false doctrine.
The second story brought to mind Jesus feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000. Elisha had a smaller crowd and a larger portion to start with but both meals went FAR beyond man’s understanding. I wonder if the people being fed by Jesus thought back to this story of Elisha as they ate.
I was thinking about the fact that the first fruits offering given here should have been taken to Jerusalem and presented in the Temple. But the split kingdom prevented that. The godly man did the closest thing he could think of; he gave his offering to a true man of God. I have a feeling that offerings to the Lord were further and farther between during this time as Israel was serving other gods. Those supported by the offerings to the Lord were most likely struggling for food. Elisha was among them.
When the offering was presented to Elisha he could have said, “Thank you” and kept it for himself. He was within his rights to do so. But he cared for the people under him. He would not feast while they suffered hunger.
Elisha gave ALL that he had and let God work with it. His servant wasn’t in favor of this move. He may have been thinking about his/their future needs. Or he could have been wrapped up in doing the math. Either way, he wasn’t looking at it like Elisha and God were. But because Elisha was willing to give up ALL he had, God saw to it that Elisha’s future needs were met too.
So from this story we have learned that when we give to the Lord, or receive from Him, hold the gift with an open hand. He can bless it and make it grow MUCH easier that way. When you hold it in a closed fist it has no room to grow.
Father God, thank You for the blessings You have brought into my life. I probably ‘strangled’ a few of them by holding on too tight. Help me too not get sidetracked by what is ‘new and shiny’ but to test out every word of doctrine brought to me. Remind others to do the same with what I bring too. I NEVER want to be putting out ‘death food’ for others to consume.