Elisha was in Gilgal to teach the prophets. There was a famine, but that did not stop the men from gathering to hear the Word of God. Because Elisha was compassionate and trusted the Lord to provide, he had a stew prepared for his students. Verses 38-40 read,
“And Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land. And as the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Set on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39 One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. 40 And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it.”
The men were probably very hungry and happy that Elisha and his servants had gone through the trouble to make them stew. But no one knew that the gourds gathered for it were poison. I guess that everyone had to be very disappointed. But they didn’t complain and Elisha still trusted God to provide. This was just a time when he could teach them and demonstrate God’s great power. Verse 41 tells us what Elisha did.
“He said, “Then bring flour.” And he threw it into the pot and said, “Pour some out for the men, that they may eat.” And there was no harm in the pot.”
Elisha’s faith in God purified the poisoned stew. Now the hungry men once again had food. I can imagine God looking down on His servants and being pleased with them. The men didn’t whine, they had not expected food and were thankful to receive it. Even when tested when what they thought they had been given was taken away, the men remained faithful. They were hungry for food, but they were hungrier for God’s word. God blesses our choices not to chase after provision and instead pursue Him. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6). That describes these men. They made the better choice. They could have been out busy trying to find food, but they chose to sit at Elisha’s feet and learn. When a very busy and hardworking Martha complained that her sister Mary could have been helping her, Jesus commended Mary for her choice to sit at His feet (Luke 10:38-42). God commended the prophets for their choice to trust Him rather than chase provision. Verse 42 reads,
“A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.”
What kind of faith was this! There was a famine, yet this man still brought Elisha an offering of his firstfruits. This man’s faithful generous obedience would bless Elisha and the prophets. Isn’t it wonderful how God uses us to bless each other? Elisha didn’t think twice, He said, “give it to the men.” But the servant had to point out the circumstances to Elisha. Verses 43-44 read,
“But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’” 44 So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.”
Twenty little barley cakes and some fresh ears of grain fed 100 men and they had leftovers. The men could bring food home to their families. Had they chosen to not sit at Elisha’s feet, they would have gone home empty handed. They chose not to worry and let God be God. They chose to pursue the Kingdom of God and God satisfied their desire for righteousness and took care of their needs too. Proverbs 10:3 says it this way,
“The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.”
We can choose to worry. We can choose to pursue our needs. Or we can choose the good portion, sit at Jesus’ feet and pursue the Kingdom of God. We can have faith and let God be God.