“The stew was poured out for the men, but as they began to eat it, they cried out, ‘Man of God, there is death in the pot!’ And they could not eat it.
“Elisha said, ‘Get some flour.’ He put it into the pot and said, ‘Serve it to the people to eat.’ And there was nothing harmful in the pot.” – 2 Kings 4:40-41
In times of national distress; social unrest; widespread disease with deadly results; civil disobedience; distaste for all that is just, good and kind; assault on family life; and rebellion to creator and creation, then know that there is death in the pot of our mind, body and soul.
In our text today, the prophet Elisha came to Gilgal on a teaching assignment with a group of prophets. During his teaching, he told his servant to put a big pot on the fire and make some stew as there was a severe scarcity of food. One of the men went out in the fields to get some herbs. He found a wild vine and picked many gourds, fleshy fruit with a hard skin, and sliced them up into the stew, not knowing what they were. This was an experiment pot. But as soon as the group tasted it, they shouted to Elisha that it was poisonous and refused to eat it. Elisha asked for some cornmeal, threw it in the pot and gave the order to pour out more stew for them. Chow time.
Leadership in times of crisis is always put to the test. It is a time when you either retreat or advance in spite of the circumstances. It does not matter what field of leadership one may be in, the word of God says there must be vision if success/peace is to be gained.
During this trying time of COVID-19, the voice of God through the mouths of the prophets must be loud and clear. Is there any word from the Lord for our nation; for the nations of the world? Edward Mote (1791-1874) aptly puts it in the hymn “My hope is built on nothing less” – “When all around my soul gives way, he, then is all my hope and stay… On Christ the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”
When the prophet Elisha told the Shunammite woman that she and her family must “sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the Lord hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years”, this was no fake news, but time to obey the word of the Lord as told to the prophet for the people.
COVID-19 came upon the people of the world suddenly. Who would ever think that our entire lifestyle would be changed in a moment? But, if we would truthfully call to remembrance, there were men and women of God who were foreseeing doom and gloom, but they were laughed at and scorned. As it was long time ago, it is now, and what is being touted as a pandemic is really a plague of mass destruction, grief, tears and sorrows.
But be that as it may, no plague or pandemic, night of storms, midnights of darkness, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, lasts forever; for we have been told that there is a season for everything under the sun, and adjustments are in order to go with the flow. Hurricane Dorian came a year ago and many have grieved for what was lost, be it person or thing, but praises are being raised for what is left. I read of sad events of an Edgecombe family, and am touched for my paternal forebears were Edgecombes.
Elisha, the prophet, the man of God, ordained to be the watchman on the wall of the moral, social and spiritual well-being of the people, does not have any good news. There is going to be a severe famine with a lifespan of seven years or 84 months and movement from place to place will have to take place for survival.
Let us be patient and kind during this time of testing, for the night of weeping is the path to the joy of a beautiful morning.