SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: 2 KINGS 4:38-41 The Message Bible (MSG)
 Elisha went back down to Gilgal. There was a famine there. While he was consulting with the guild of prophets, he told his servant “Put a large pot on the fire and cook up some stew for the prophets.
[38-40] One of the men went out into the field to get some herbs; he came across a wild vine and picked gourds from it, filling his gunny sack. He brought them back, sliced them up, and put them in the stew, even though no one knew what kind of plant it was. The stew was served up for the men to eat. They started to eat and then exclaimed, “Death is in the pot, O man of God!” Nobody could eat it.
Elisha ordered, “Get me some meal.” Then he sprinkled it into the stew pot.
 “Now serve it up to the men,” he said. They ate it, and it was just fine–nothing wrong with that stew!
A SIMPLE BIBLE MESSAGE PRESENTED WITH THREE MAIN POINTS –
#1. There is a FAMINE in the land.
#2. Beware of POISONOUS STEW, and
#3. The REMEDY if you are consumed by poisonous stew or bitter water.
There are two remedies found in the word for bitter things:
#1. The Cross,
#2. The Word of God.
When there is DEATH in the pot, and the water is undesirable to drink, God has a CURE for us.
I want you to look at this passage of Scripture in the OT, where the Prophets literally had a poisonous stew, and how Elisha the prophet remedied the situation.
From the Literal Story, Spiritual Application Can Be found –
Sometimes words and deeds can be spoken to us and done to us that if not dealt with can produce negative consequences.
Keeping things in context, Elisha was in the presence of fellow prophets in Gilgal, which could be identified today, a church meeting. They were learning from Elisha about the POWER of God.
There Was FAMINE In The Land –
Famine was often seen as a sign of JUDGMENT in the OT, where in Ezekiel 36:29 God says:
 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine on you. (NIV)
It can also be seen in the CURSES found in Deuteronomy 28:23-24:
 The heavens over your head shall be brass and the earth under you shall be iron.  The Lord shall make the rain of your land powdered soil and dust; from the heavens it shall come down upon you until you are destroyed. (AMP)
The physical reflects the spiritual as seen in Amos 8:11:
 Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but [a famine] for hearing the words of the Lord. (AMP)
We are living in a society where the Word of God is scarce, even in the Church. So it becomes our responsibility to SHARE what God has given us in the Bible. This is the reason why I write a weekly Blog, sharing the Good News and as a constant reminder, I have a bible verse framed above my office desk: Romans 10:15 ~
“How beautiful are the feet of messengers
who bring good news!”
FAMINE can be caused by materialism, scepticism (generally from others, even things we call ‘friends,’ for church, for God); the pursuit of those things that God hates from the lack of concern in reaching out to others with the LOVE of God.
The Community Stew in the Midst of Famine –
Lots of people contributed some things that were quite healthy and some things that were quite poisonous.
What I’m getting at here–there is a part of your personality that is just like the community stew and people are throwing things in the pot of who you are all the time.
Proverbs 4:23 reads, “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” (AMP)
There is a certain amount of diligence required to being sure that poisonous and ruinous thoughts and ideas don’t take hold on our inner man.
Every word you hear, everything you see, every idea someone expresses is an attempt to contaminate (put something into) the STEW of who you are. And sometimes, the words we say to ourselves are more dangerous than the words others say to us. Everything that happens to us, we want to put our own spin on it, categorize it, and put it into the STEW of who we are.
The Amazing Life of Moses –
Moses was a Jew, raised by Pharoah. At 40 years old, he reconnects with his people. One day, Moses sees an Egyptian beating a Jew mercilessly and he attacks and kills the man. The authorities find out about what Moses has done and Moses flees into the desert wilderness…for 40 years!
He went from the PALACE to the DESERT.
Moses marries and has two children, GERSHON, and ELIEZER. Gershon is Moses’ firstborn and his name means: thrust out, kicked out, rejected, shut down. Every time Moses called this boy by name, he was reminded of personal rejection, and personal failure:
“Hey, ‘thrust out’, dinner is on the table.”
Some people today are like Moses, continuously bringing up a failure or rejection. THAT’S POISON IN YOUR STEW!
When you view your life through the lens of failures and the “what if’s…”, you will be eating a meal without nourishment and that is destructive.
Moses named his second child, “ELIEZER,” which means “God has helped me.”
Spiritually speaking, everything in our lives should be stored in our “ELIEZER FILE”, because the Bible says God causes ‘some’ THINGS–no, “ALL THINGS” to work together for good (Romans 8:28).
If we don’t learn to categorize life events through the lens of the Word of God, we can become very miserable and a depressed person.
Whatsoever is pure, Whatsoever is lovely… (Philippians 4:8).
How To Deal With Poison That May Be In Your Pot –
In this biblical account, Elisha is told the STEW IS POISONOUS and the remedy he prescribes is to throw some MEAL into the pot.
And that is what they did, and the CURE was effected.
MEAL has no known power. Starch does have the ability to mitigate certain bitterness and acidity in foods, so it’s quite possible that this ingredient actually “fixed the problem” [ Biblical Hermeneutics ].
But to change the NATURE OF THE STEW required a miracle of God!
There is got to be a spiritual lesson here. Similar incidents of Jews wonderings in the desert wilderness came to my mind:
Exodus 15:23: When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter.
Exodus 15:24: So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
Exodus 15:25: Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
The water supply was contaminated, much like THE POT OF STEW in 2 Kings.
In 2 Kings there was DEATH in the pot, and in Exodus 15, the situation was very similar, for undrinkable water in the desert is a death sentence.
Moses prays and God shows him a tree, which when cast into the waters made sweet and they were able to safely drink.
Now looking back to the passage from a Christian perspective, we can see that God is implying that THE CROSS can make a bitter life sweet again! That’s not a big stretch.
Going back to 2 Kings, the REMEDY for DEATH IN THE POT IS “MEAL”
MEAL is flour, the basic ingredient for BREAD.
And, the Word of God is a strong testing agent to counteract all the negative thoughts and ideas placed inside of us.
Sure makes me hungry!
WARNING: Being Careful What We Put In The Stew Pot– what you let others throw in the pot!
- Are you living with Gershom–“thrust out”?
- Or Eliezer– God of the right hand?
- Have you been allowing the enemy, Satan, put bitter gourds into the STEW of who you are in Christ Jesus?
We all need to ask God to help us FILTER all of life’s events through the MEAL of the WORD for it really does make a difference.
Bible Names – Moses’ Sons: http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?g=gershom&s=References.
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.
Photos: Google Image Search.