Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Death in the Stew!

Meditation for the week of May 13, 2012

Then they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating the stew, that they cried out and said, "Man of God, there is death in the pot!" And they could not eat it. So he said, "Then bring some flour." And he put it into the pot, and said, "Serve it to the people, that they may eat." And there was nothing harmful in the pot.
(2 Kings 4:40-41)

In this miracle, Elisha was able to counter the deadly effects of the poison that had unintentionally been put into a pot of stew.  The incident actually happened, and of course it happened for a reason.  Obviously, the “sons of the prophets” who were eating the stew must have been convinced that Elisha was truly a prophet of the Lord unlike the so-called prophets of Baal and of other heathen gods.  However, I wonder if this portion has a lesson or application for us today in new testament times?

Could the stew represent the spiritual food that we feed on?  Could the wild gourds represent false doctrine that is being fed to people unintentionally by some who are well-meaning?  Could the meal represent the moral perfections of the Lord Jesus?  When we preach Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23) we can counter the poison of doctrines that are being popularized today.  Some of these “taste good” but they are actually killers.

Doctrine or teaching is important in the Bible. Teachers are going to be held accountable for what they teach (James 3:1).  Being sound in teaching is emphasized by Paul to both Timothy and Titus in his letters to them.  Doctrine is one of the pillars of the church in Acts 2:42.  The good news of the Gospel is one of the doctrines that must remain pure.  Paul condemns the Galatians for turning away from the Gospel that he preached to another gospel which is not really another gospel.  In Galatians 1:7 there were some who were intentionally perverting the Gospel of Christ.  In this case they were trying to make Christianity a sect of Judaism and were saying that only those who kept the old testament law were truly Christians.  Paul emphasizes that we are not saved by the works of the law but we are declared right with God by faith in Christ and by faith in Him alone (Galatians 2:16).   When the Gospel is perverted, people are led astray and they do not believe in the Christ of the Bible.  Instead they believe in some philosophical fantasy.  What we think is right cannot save if our thinking is not Biblical, but what God says is right will save every time.

In order for the Gospel to be pure, we have to preach that Christ was in fact God made known in the flesh. We have to preach that He was sinless. We have to preach that He is the only way to heaven.  We have to preach that He was crucified and then rose again the third day.  We need to be clear that He lives and will return.  These pure strains of the Gospel will never bring death but will produce life in those who have them become a part of their very fabric by faith as they feed or meditate upon Christ.

Today it is easy to get side tracked.  While it is true that the works of the law do not save, yet Christians should be careful to maintain good works (Titus 3:8).  These good works involve much more than the moral law embodied in the ten commandments, but moral behavior is certainly included.  However, when we as Christians spend our time trying to make the unsaved live moral lives without pointing them to the Savior, we are perverting the Gospel.  Much of what I read by well-meaning Christians seems to emphasize eliminating the moral evils of the world rather than telling people that they need the Savior of sinners.  The name of the Lord Jesus is seldom mentioned in their well-meaning pursuit of righteousness in the world.  But when the people whose lives have been reformed die, they still go to hell if they haven’t trusted in Christ.   We all need to be saved, not reformed.

Elijah was able to make that which was poisonous edible through the addition of some meal.  We need to keep the sinless, crucified, resurrected Christ central in our preaching of the Gospel and in our desire to see the world saved.  We need to be careful to keep the stew edible and pure so that we don’t unintentionally poison those to whom we preach.

Bruce Collins

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