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Thursday, June 23, 2016

The God of Left Overs (2 Kings 4:7; 43)

 "She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your son can live on what is left."

"But Elisha answered, "Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the LORD says: 'They will eat and have some left over.'" Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD."

I guess you could call Elisha "the prophet of leftovers". In order to resolve the widow woman's financial crisis Elisha instructs her to collect empty containers from all of her neighbors. He blesses the little oil that she has and she begins filling the jars from her meager supply until they are all full. He then commands her to sell the oil in order to cover her debt. What's left over provides for the livelihood of the widow and her two sons.

Later, during a lengthy famine in the region, a man presents Elisha with twenty loaves of bread, which is not nearly enough to feed the one hundred prophets. At Elisha's command, however, the bread is given to the prophets and somehow it feeds every single one of them, with some left over.

Jesus and leftovers. Jesus blesses a boy's meager lunch of bread and fishes and feeds several thousand people. John 6:13 records the final details, "Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten."

What do these three stories teach us about God's supply and our need?

  1. God is not limited by our meager resources (a little oil, a few loaves of bread)
  2. God is not limited by our circumstances (Israel was in the midst of a seven year famine and the multitude of 5,000 were out on the mountainside)
  3. The little that we presently have testifies to the LORD's provision for the future
  4. We don't have to know how the Lord will provide in order to trust Him
  5. Sometimes we end up with more than we originally had
I'd rather have a bare pantry and experience God's provisions than have a pantry, refrigerator, and freezer well stocked with the best the world can offer. God's leftovers are better that the world's best stocked kitchen.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
2 Chronicles 24:17-15a; 2 Kings 12:17-18
  • List the things that Joash does that illustrate his abandoning the LORD.
  • What does Joash's sin cost Judah?
2 Kings 4:1-44
  • What characteristic does Elisha's instructions to the widow require her to exhibit?
  • After her son dies what is the basis of the grieving woman's request as she faces Elisha?
  • What does Elisha do to "cure" the pot of stew?
  • What will the prophets have to exhibit in order to eat the stew?
2 Kings 13:4-8
  • Why does God intervene on behalf of Jehoahaz?
  • What does this tell you about God?
2 Kings 8:1-6
  • How does the LORD show his care for the woman whose son was restored to life?
2 Kings 13:9-11; 2 Kings 12:19-21; 2 Kings 14:1-6; 2 Chronicles 25:1-10

  • How are the suceeding kings described?
  • Upon what does King Amaziah base his decisions?
  • Review Deuteronomy 17:14ff.
  • What does Judah's King Amaziah come to understand about his relationship with Israel? His relationship with God?
Turning truth into prayer
Thank the LORD for His faithful provision for those who trust in Him.