Poisoned Stew

2 Kings 4: 38 – 41         NLV

Elisha now returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. One day as the group of prophets was seated before him, he said to his servant, “Put a large pot on the fire, and make some stew for the rest of the group.” One of the young men went out into the field to gather herbs and came back with a pocketful of wild gourds. He shredded them and put them into the pot without realizing they were poisonous. Some of the stew was served to the men. But after they had eaten a bite or two they cried out, “Man of God, there’s poison in this stew!” So they would not eat it. Elisha said, “Bring me some flour.” Then he threw it into the pot and said, “Now it’s all right; go ahead and eat.” And then it did not harm them.

How can one not love this story? When I read this story is when I decided to pray over my food. It seems the blessing of God can take poisoned food and turn it into something nutritious and delicious.

How many toxins and poisons are in and on our food these days. Frankly, we have a bigger problem than those guys did because much of our food has been sprayed with poison and we can’t always get it all off simply by washing. So, we sure better be praying over our food.

It would be great if we could all afford to buy everything from the organic food section. It would be even better if all our food just was organic, but we live in an age where that is not always possible. Sometimes there isn’t even an organic option. So, we all do the best we can to get food that is clean and made as God intended it.

One thing that intrigues me about this story is Elisha’s response. He didn’t just pray over the stew which is what I would have expected. Why did he throw flour in the pot? What would you have done? I wouldn’t have thought about adding flour. Do you think, as I do, that Elisha heard from God? Did he inquire of God and flour was the answer God gave him? I think so. It does not seem that Elisha panicked, and he didn’t overreact. I would have turned the pot over and started over, but that’s me thinking in my own wisdom instead of God’s.

Look, there is a lot we don’t know about our food supply these days. We trust our grocery store to sell us good products but guess what. There is a lot they don’t know. It’s best we place our trust in the Lord and follow His advice. Now you might understand why I pray as I grocery shop. It’s a mine field in there.

Miracle Worker

2 Kings 5: 14          God’s Word translation

So he went to dip himself in the Jordan River seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. His skin became healthy again like a little child’s skin.

This is from the story of Naaman. He was a captain in the army of Aram. Naaman had a skin disease and heard of the prophet in Israel. So, he asked his king, Aram, to send him to Israel that he might be healed of his disease. Elisha told him to go wash seven times in the Jordan river. He rebuffed the advice at first but his servants convinced him to do as Elisha directed.  Once he dipped in the Jordan river seven times, he came out cleansed of his skin disorder.

This a really good story with many messages in it when you read the whole story but what caught my eye was the heading. In the God’s Word translation the heading reads, “Elisha Heals Naaman.”  After the last couple of weeks of thinking about who works miracles in the earth, this caption was significant.  What is interesting is that the editors didn’t caption this passage as “God heals Naaman.”  Even though this is Old Testament, the same operation of partnership with God for the effecting of miracles was in operation. Obviously, Elisha did not heal Naaman in his own power nor did Moses turn back the sea apart from God.  However, God didn’t perform any of these wonders without a person.

As you read through the story of Naaman’s healing, and indeed other accounts of Elisha’s ministry and life, you will perceive Elisha’s relationship with God. He lived in a space where he fully accepted his ability to move in the power of our God without having to beg God to show up. He spent his everyday life, communing with God so that when the time came to employ God’s power, he knew how to move. This is where God is leading us.

We can live in and through Jesus every minute of every day.  We are led by John’s gospel to abide in Christ.  That means we live in him, not that we visit him on Sunday and Wednesday.  Living in him means that every breath is part of of our life with Christ.  As we learn to abide in him, we will move in the earth the way Jesus did, the way Elisha did and others.  There are no miracles apart from God but there is no miracle without you either.  God has given you power and authority in the earth.  He has given you his Holy Spirit, His power.  He has given us His name.  Now it up to us as to what we will do with these gifts.

Ministry of Music

2 Kings 3: 15

“But now bring me a minstrel.” And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.

What a fascinating passage. The story is about Elisha. The king of Israel petitioned Elisha to inquire of the Lord for him. So, Elisha ordered that a minstrel be brought to play for him and when the minstrel played, the Spirit of the Lord fell on Elisha and he began to prophesy.

One of the lessons I have been studying over the last few years is how to quiet myself down so that I can hear the voice of God. One of my key tools is to play anointed music. Often I sing along as well. Other times I play music which has no lyrics so as not to distract myself. In fact, I have some playing right now.

Each of us needs to know the techniques which work for getting ourselves into a quiet state of mind and spirit. Elisha knew his. He called for the musician. As the saying goes, “music has charms to soothe the savage breast.” The music was the tool Elisha used to move himself into a state of heart and mind that was conducive to his cooperation with the spirit with God. You see, the music didn’t make God do anything. God was ready. Elisha, on the other hand, knew that he needed a moment to get quiet so he could hear what the voice of God would say to him.

Look around you. How much quiet in our minds, spirits and environments do most of us have in a day. We run at a fast pace with little time to even think. No wonder we have a hard time hearing God. God speaks in the quietness of your spirit, not in the chaos. We actually have to tune ourselves to His station every now and again if we want to hear what He is saying. It is hard to do that if our internal radios are blaring everything from work to workouts, meetings to meals. We are busy and the noise of our lives are blocking out God. Perhaps each of us needs to call for the minstrel and let the soothing strains transport us to a rendezvous with Yahweh.