Hope for the Hungry, II Kings 4:38-44
What we’ve witnessed in II Kings 4 is that where Elisha is there is hope, life and in v 38, food. While the nation suffers through famine the sons of prophets sit down to eat stew at the command of the man of God. Even when the food is compromised Elisha commands the addition of an ingredient and foul food becomes nutritional again. Is this the work of an especially gifted magician?
Elisha is no magician. In the previous story God uses him to bring the dead to life. Magicians don’t do that. And magicians often work out in the open to draw a crowd of potential paying customers. Instead of a spectacular display of phenomenal power to impress expectant audiences Elisha closes the door behind him and prays to the Lord. The dead child lives and is returned to the arms of his mother. The Lord is honored and the work of Elisha on God’s behalf is validated.
In the present story, the only witnesses to the miraculous are a group of hungry prophets. This whole scene is not for show, but it shows the power of God at work. And in a nation where few were taking God and His Word seriously, here’s an example of what can happen when we do trust God, and decide to honor Him.
The final story reminds of Jesus and the feeding of the five thousand. It is, in fact, a story with a trajectory. Not an end in itself but a story finding its culmination when a prophet greater than Elisha shows up and feeds hungry people with a word. And an apparent lack becomes a surplus at the command of God.
God is working and often in miraculous ways today. But not for show. Not for the paying customers. Seldom, if ever, in packed stadiums. Mostly behind closed doors or in small circles of the faithful who trust Him in their time of need. And there’s never a question where the power comes from.