Tonya Jewel Blessing
Elisha was a man of God who returned to Gilgal during a time of famine in that region.
He was not intimidated about traveling to a place where there was a lack of food. In fact, he may have viewed the dire circumstances of this region as an opportunity to see the hand of God move in a miraculous way.
I believe that he returned to Gilgal knowing there was a famine in the land.
While the Guild of Prophets were having a meal with him, he instructed his attendant, ‘Put a large pot on the fire and boil some stew for the Guild of Prophets.’ Somebody went out into the fields to grab some herbs, found a wild vine, and gathered a lap full of wild gourds, which he came and sliced up into the stew pot, but nobody else knew. When they served the men, they began to eat the stew. But they cried out, ‘That pot of stew is deadly, you man of God!’ So they couldn’t eat the stew. But he replied, ‘Bring me some flour.’ He tossed it into the pot and said, ‘Serve the people so they can eat.’ Then there was nothing harmful in the pot.”
-2 Kings 4:38-41 (ISV)
The name “Gilgal” means rolling or moving. God wanted to move or do something amazing in a desolating place.
When people are desperate, they do desperate things. The servant, who was given the task of feeding the prophets, knowingly gathered gourds from a wild vine. The original Hebrew text indicates that this vine was prolific. It produced seemingly great bounty. I have read reports of people, because of extreme hunger, eating dirt, straw or grass.
My husband and I watched a documentary a couple of years ago about a young man struggling to survive through the winter in a remote part of Alaska. When spring arrived, due to extreme hunger and desperation, he ate poisonous berries. Judgment is often impaired when people are destitute.
Food was scarce in Gilgal. It is interesting that the company of prophets instantly recognized their plight and looked to Elisha for help. Divinely inspired, he added flour to the stew, making it fit for consumption.
I believe we shouldn’t be afraid to visit places where there is famine and where people may lack good judgment because of it. We need to remember that desperate people may not have good judgment. We need to sense when there is trouble or “death in the pot.” When called upon for help, we need to rely on God for wisdom and direction, and what other people see as “waste” might be in our hands of ministry a means of provision. We should view the lack as an opportunity for God to do something amazing because of His sovereignty over everything, and because of His love.
- This story in 2 Kings is an unusual one. Reread it and write a summary of what happened in your own life.
- “When people are desperate, they do desperate things” Think of a time when you were desperate, or someone you know or have heard of was desperate. What irrational or unusual thing did you – or that person – do?
- God wants us to call on Him for provision. “When called upon for help, we need to rely on God for wisdom and direction.” This isn’t always our first thought in times of trouble. Consider a time when you were in need and called upon God for What happened?
- How can this story in 2 Kings be applied to our daily life? Write a “proverb” to help you remember the main point of this story.fe
Tonya Jewel Blessing has written the Big Creek Appalachian series: The Whispering of the Willows and The Melody of the Mulberries as well the Bible study guide, Soothing Rain. Each of these books ask in their own way, “What makes females different to males?”
Sue Summer wrote the questions for application throughout the Soothing Rain study. She is the expert at mediasavvykids.org/.