Devotional – Friday, August 28, 2020

Wild Gourd Stew

. . . And it came about as they were eating of the stew, that they cried out and said, O man of God, there is death in the pot.  And they were unable to eat.

2 Kings 4:40, NAS

My wife, who has keen taste buds and is good at discerning various spices and herbs in food, is the primary chef at our house, and she has shared with me a unique recipe from the Bible for wild gourd stew. Interestingly, one ingredient of the recipe is poisonous gourds. She is really good at selecting recipes and I speculated as to why on earth she was giving thought to this, and telling me. I did recall the account of a well-known exchange between Lady Nancy Astor and Prime Minister Winston Churchill: 

Lady Nancy Astor reportedly said, “Winston, if you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.”  To which Churchill responded, “Nancy, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.” 

That gave me pause, so I decided I should read the recipe for myself and learn more.

In 2 Kings 4:38-41, we learn that there was a scarcity in the land and that the prophet Elisha told his servant, Put on a large pot and boil some stew for the sons of prophets. Trouble was that one of the eager helpers went into the field, picked a load of wild gourds, cut them up, and put them into the pot of stew, not knowing they were poisonous.

My Bible dictionary states that the poison gourd taste is bitter. When swollen ripe and touched, they easily fall to the ground spurting and spreading their seeds for a distance. A Google search describes the bitter gourd as toxic with no known antidote for this poisoning. No wonder, upon tasting, the sons of prophets exclaimed, There is death in the pot! Elisha, however, knew what to do.

But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.

2 Kings, 4:41, KJV

You do know that meal is symbolic of the broken body, the bread, the Word of God. It is the Word made flesh. Jesus said, I am the bread of life . . . whoever eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:48-51, NIV.) The prophet Elisha looked forward in time and saw healing in the crushed and broken meal which is Christ our Lord and Savior. He saw Truth, spoke it, and took action; he said bring meal and he cast it into the pot. 

Would you not agree that the world is in such a stew today? Exposure to this poison is inevitable as we watch and hear news, observe politics, view entertainment, and sometimes when we simply converse with one another.  The pot gets stirred. We might taste, but negativity, hopelessness, fear, and lies are not to be swallowed. Google declares that there is no antidote for this poison, but the Christian believer knows that there is!

When I begin to gripe and complain about worries, fear, and issues of the day; become fatigued, discouraged, or touchy over minor things, these are symptoms and signs that I have tasted too much of the wild gourd stew. This is where my wife comes back into the picture.

She has a pantry full of meal, so to speak, to cast my way and hers when needed. Meal like . . . The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1) I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:10)

Jesus Christ, the Word of Life, truly is our antidote for fear and death.  Speak God’s Truth and act upon it. Cast your bread upon the waters. (Ecclesiastes 11:1) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you, (1 Peter 5:7) There will be no harm in the pot.

Offered by Dak McInnis

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