In my last post, we continued to explore the ministry of Elisha by looking at 2 Kings 4:38-41, where we learned about a Grace Removes A Curse in 2 Kings 4:38-41. In this post, we learn about Grace Satisfies the Hungry in 2 Kings 4:42-44.
Grace Satisfies the Hungry
“42 A man came from Ba‘al-Shalishah bringing the man of God twenty loaves of bread made from the barley firstfruits and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, ‘Give this to the people to eat.’ 43 His servant said, ‘How am I to serve this to a hundred men?’ But he said, ‘Give it to the people to eat; for Adonai says that they will eat and have some left over.’ 44 So he served them, and they ate and had some left over, as Adonai had said.” ~ 2 Kings 4:42-44 (CJB)
I do not know about you, but I know I have seen this passage numerous times as I have read through the Scriptures. However, it was not until I began to write this post that I realized the significance with Yeshua feeding the 4,000 and the 5,000 in the Brit Hadashah.
In the northern kingdom of Israel, where Ba‘al-Shalishah was located, there was no official temple dedicated to Adonai, and many of the faithful priests and Levites had left apostate Israel and moved to Judah (1 Kings 12:26-33; 2 Chron. 11:13-17). Since there was no sanctuary to which the people could bring their tithes and offerings, they brought them to the nearest school of the prophets where people faithful to the Mosaic Law would share them.
The firstfruit offerings of grain could be roasted heads of grain, fine flour baked into cakes, or even loaves of bread. All of this would be most welcome to the guild prophets, and indeed the Lord honored the people who refused to bow down to the golden calves at Dan and Bethel. Typically, the firstfruits were reserved for God (Leviticus 23:20) and the Levitical priests (Numbers 18:13; Deuteronomy 18:4, 5). Though the religion in the northern kingdom was apostate, the man who brought the loaves to Elisha was a representative of the Godly religion in Israel. As a man of God, Elisha qualified as a recipient of these gifts.
There were one hundred hungry men in the group, and though the Lord honored the gifts the man brought, they could not feed all of the men adequately. The situation parallels that of Yeshua and the talmidim. Geichazi question ‘How am I to serve this to a hundred men?’ sounds like Andrew’s question about the five loaves and two fish, “But how far will they go among so many?” ~ John 6:9 (CJB)
However, Elisha knew that the Lord had this difficult situation well under His control. He commanded his servant to set out the bread and grain, and when Geichazi obeyed, there was not only plenty of food for everybody, but there was food left over. The Word of the Lord had announced and accomplished the impossible.
Elisha provides for his prophets, just as he had for the widow. Each of these events establishes the authority of Elisha with the prophets as well as his ability to care for them.
Elisha did not preach a sermon, but the miracle assures us that God knows our needs and meets them as we trust Him. Today we have freezers and supermarkets to supply us with food, and there are food banks to help those who are poor. However, in Elisha’s time, people prepared and consumed their food a day at a time. That is why Yeshua taught us to pray, give us the food we need today ~ Matthew 6:11 (CJB). Out of the riches of His grace, the Lord meets our every need.
In my next post, we continue to explore the life of Elisha. In this post, we meet Na’aman who both Needed and Sought the Lord in 2 Kings 5:1-10.