Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

2022.10.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 4:38–44

Read 2 Kings 4:38–44

Questions from the Scripture text: Who goes where in 2 Kings 4:38? What does he find in the land there? Who were there? What were they doing? What does Elisha tell whom to do for whom? Where does the servant go in 2 Kings 4:39? What does he gather? What else does he find, and what does he gather from it? Where does he put them? What cautionary info does the end of the verse add? What do they do with the stew (2 Kings 4:40)? And what are the sons of the prophets doing? To whom do they cry out? What do they say? For what does Elisha ask in 2 Kings 4:41? What does he do with it? Then what does he say? With what result? Who comes from where in 2 Kings 4:42? What two things does he bring? What does Elisha say to do with it? How does the servant answer (2 Kings 4:43a)? Whose speech does Elisha now specifically add (verse 43b)? What does Yahweh say? What was the result (2 Kings 4:44)? According to what? 

What is God showing in these two “feeding” miracles? 2 Kings 4:38–44 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God’s mercy overrules both His servants’ folly and lack of faith.

As we continue in the section of 2 Kings where the LORD is showing the power of His Word by recording twice as many miracles through Elisha as through Elijah. Now the focus of the blessing shifts to the sons of the prophets. God is going to bless His servants! This is exactly as we would expect from God. What is perhaps surprising is that in these two mercy miracles, God displays that His grace overcomes His servants’ folly and lack of faith. 

God’s mercy overrules His servants’ folly2 Kings 4:38-41. In time of famine, we sympathize with wanting to make the stew stretch. What we don’t appreciate is slicing a lapful of gourds from unidentified vine into the stew. 

Now, the Lord could have overruled the folly and made it safe and nutritious from the start. It’s not like the flour adds that quality or that the Lord would need it to. But he allows us to feel the folly through the intensity of the cry, “death in the pot!” 

And He makes the miracle and its mercy more memorable with the flour-sprinkling. It adds drama and visuals to the moment so that those sons of the prophets (and careful students of the Word) will have the incident ingrained in their memories. God’s mercy overrules His servants’ folly!

God’s mercy overrules His servants’ lack of faith2 Kings 4:42-44. Well, the seminary of the faithful has had stew in time of famine. What about bread? There’s a miracle here in both the source of the bread and the stretching of the bread. Where does it come from? A man from “Baal Shalisha.” Not an auspicious place name. Also, it’s time of famine, and this man’s “firstfruits” includes twenty loaves of barley and a knapsack of ripened grain. 

This is great wealth while the land is under chastening. And this wealthy man, from the Baali-ish place, does what with his firstfruits? Brings it to the man of God. This is faith. He not only knows that he owes God the first and best, but he trusts God that what remains will be enough, and he is willing to give up the wealth that it might have brought. That’s a miracle!

By contrast, there’s the faithlessness of the servant. Elisha tells the servant to feed the loaves to “the people,” but the servant doesn’t think there’s enough to feed the hundred that are there. Even more, he voices his unbelief by questioning the command. The Word of Yahweh responds not with punishment but promise. Not only will there be enough, but there will be leftovers! 

Of course, the key to God’s grace is the One Who not only fed 100 on 20 loaves with leftovers but fed 5000 on five loaves and two fish, with 12 baskets of leftovers. This is not mercy for those who are wise enough or have enough faith. It’s mercy that overrules our folly and lack of faith!

What are examples of your own foolishness or lack of faith? How can you still hope to obtain mercy?

Sample prayer: Lord, forgive us for when we are zealous to serve, but foolish in not doing it according to knowledge. Forgive us for when we doubt Your provision or power and even question Your instructions. Thank You for making Christ our wisdom and righteousness. Make us to be like Him we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP109D “I Am Very Poor and Needy” or TPH551 “We Plow the Fields”

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