Faith in the God Who Is Able
2Kings 4:42 ¶ A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.”
2Kings 4:43 But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’”
2Kings 4:44 He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD.
Elisha had been spending days living among, communing with, and teaching the young prophets. They were soaking in everything that they could learn from this man of God.
This is a foreshadowing of what would happen during the time of Christ when the people would come and sit at his feet, desiring to learn everything they could from the rabbi Jesus. But now they are at the feet of Elisha and they are getting hungry.
The people of the community brought their “first fruits” or their tithe to the man of God. We see the faithfulness of the community in this action, that by providing the “first fruits” they were feeding the prophets, the men of God. Upon first glance the “first fruits” were not enough to feed the entire group that was gathered but when it was given to the people there was plenty for the entire group of a hundred, and there was some left over. God had provided and fed the hundred.
What an incredible story of faith found buried within the pages of the Old Testament. So often we reflect upon Jesus’ feeding of those who had gathered to listen and learn from him. However, here we find one who had gone before, who was simply trying to be faithful in serving the Lord and he is blessed to experience a miracle of feeding for the people of God. Just a few things to note:
1) The local people were faithful in bringing in the tithe. This is not just a story about the faithfulness of Elisha, his servant or the prophets in his school, but instead it starts with the people of God in the community who are willing to be faithful with what they have. God is still calling his community of faith to bring in their “first fruits” in service to God and the kingdom.
2) When Elisha’s servant looked at what had been brought in he recognized that it wasn’t enough. Sometimes when we look at the offerings, even when the community has been faithful, it isn’t enough. We may either be discouraged or we can have faith to believe that God can multiply the loaves of barley and ears of grain.
3) Offerings of faith may simply be the seeds from which God may grow his miracle. Elisha believed the word of the Lord, “They shall eat and have some left.” Jesus believed this as well. Maybe we ought to believe it too!
This is a story of faith and faithfulness that leads to God’s provision. May God’s people be faithful in bringing in the tithe. May we not be discouraged by the size of the offering. May God take the offering and multiply it to supply the need, and may we have faith in the God who is able!
Lord, thank you for your provision in the midst of great need. Help me to be your faithful servant. Amen.