The Living God Nourishes
2 Kings 4:38-44
In some ways, this is a strange passage. During a time of famine, Elisha instructed the Sons of the Prophets to make a stew out of some herbs and a wild vine. They did as instructed, but they found themselves unable to eat it, because there was ‘death in the pot’.
The passage is not clear what exactly is meant by the idea of death in the pot. It may simply be that some of the ingredients were poisonous and would cause harm if eaten. It may be something more spiritual. Whatever the case, there is prophetic symbolism here of the many things that ‘bring death’, both within our individual and community lives and within the society as a whole.
Through Elisha’s action of adding flour to the stew, that which was once deadly is no longer so. This is not due to the flour itself, but because of the supernatural hand of God bringing life and nourishment where once there was death. Again, this is prophetic and shows God bringing life and goodness into situations of decay and death.
Finally, a man came along with some bread and grain, but nowhere near enough to feed everybody who was there. In a smaller scale version of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand, God multiplies what is given and the whole crowd eat with food left to spare.
Some Key Points:
- In many situations in life and culture there is ‘death’ present.
- God brings life and nourishment into these situations of death.
- God miraculously provides.
- Speak Out Where We See Death and Decay – The men eating the stew here recognised the death in the pot and spoke against it. This is just as Jesus did with the Pharisees, and so should we as we see death and decay around us.
- Bring Life – When Jesus taught that his disciples would be salt and light this was something akin to the flour in the stew. God wants to bring life and goodness into the decay and he does so through his church.
- Ask God to Provide – The passage shows God multiplying the bread and grain and providing for the physical needs of the people there. God is our provider and we can ask him to ‘give us this day our daily bread’. .