Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Scary Stew

There was hearty laughter, and slaps on the back. Men gathered around the large pot eager to eat in the midst of good fellowship. Rosh smiled as he stirred the thick stew, and then ladled more into the next man's bowl. Men sat all around him eating and slurping up the stew. Even Elisha the prophet seemed to be having a good time.

He smiled to himself. The stew looked quite good, if he did say so himself. He had worked very hard on it, even added some new gourds. The end result was this masterpiece.

"Oh, man of God, there is death in the pot!"

Rosh heard the words, but the didn't register at first. He was about to ladled some more soup into a man's bowl when someone knocked his ladled out of his hand.

"You idiot! Those gourds are poisonous. Everyone knows that!" Haarettz, one of the sons of the prophets, said furiously.

Rosh stared at the white rinds floating on the surface of the soup. All the men who had been enjoying their stew had dropped their bowls, and now the soup lay splattered everywhere. What have I done?!

"Bring some flour." Elisha had stepped up join them at the large pot. Rosh watched nervously, not knowing what could be done. Lord willing, none of the men would be ill or die due to his foolishness.

A young man handed Elisha some floor, and Elisha sprinkled some into the pot, then he dumped most of the sack right into the pot. He picked up the ladle that had been knocked from Rosh's hand, whipped off the dirt, and stirred the stew like nothing was wrong. Then he handed the ladle to Rosh. "Pour some out for the men, so that they can eat."

Rosh couldn't help looking at Elisha like he was crazy. Is this the sort of thing the man of God did with the people? Rosh hesitantly stirred it again, and then ladled some into a bowl. One look at the other men's faces told him that they weren't going to try it.

Well, I'm not going to eat it either! Rosh looked at Elisha's face. He seemed confident that there was no longer any harm in the pot. But who would prove that to the others? Rosh knew what he had to do. He raised the bowl to the lips, and slurped the stew.

Based on 2 Kings 4:38-41

I use to work in the food industry, and I had to deal with food safety protocols. After doing that for a number of years, I'm very picky about the "freshness" of my food. I don't like to use things past the sell by date, and I am convinced I can taste something on any leftovers after a few days. I say all this to say that I'm not sure I could have eaten that stew! My heart, and possibly my mouth, would have screamed, "I am not eating that!"

I would have been too scared to try.

I just think that we are often too scared to try. We are too scared to do what God says, go where He says to go, eat what He says is safe, because in our hearts, there is the chance that He is wrong. Maybe there will be earthquakes and rattlesnakes where God says to go. Maybe the people won't understand the message God is telling us to preach. Maybe the soup really is still poisonous and we will all drop dead in ten minutes.

So we don't even try. Those things are unbelief.

"Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people." 2 Timothy 3:5

We are supposed to avoid people like that, and we are supposed to avoid a heart attitude like that. God isn't about the "What if's?" and the "Maybe's."

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

It's about faith in God. Belief in what He says. How can we belief that He loves us, sent His son to die for us, and has forgiven all our sins, if we can't even believe Him about something like the stew being safe to eat?

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

All things. Simple and big. Even eating the scary stew. All things, if we are not to scared to do God's works.

V. Joy Palmer

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