Going Deeper 07.21.2021

The first reading for Pentecost 9... 2 Kings 4:42-44

A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’” He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.

This miracle, foreshadowing this week's New Testament story of Jesus' feeding of the 5000 as told in John's Gospel, is set in a context of multiple miracles done through Elisha, the prophet.  Taking up the mantle--literally--of his predecessor Elijah, Elisha is called to call God's covenant people away from worshiping Baal back to the one true God.  While most of the people seemed to prefer to worship Baal most of the time, a few remained faithful, and God continued to take care of them.  In the miracle which preceded this one, Elisha detoxified a poisonous pot of stew, which was shared among the many.  In the midst of scarcity, God will provide.  

The man in this story who brings the food comes from a place called "Baal-shalisha", most likely indicating a town which served as a place where the worship of Baal was front and center.  Yet in the midst of the idolatry, this man evidently sought to worship the true God, and brought his offering to the prophet of God and those who were with him.  It was shared among the many, with some left over.  In the midst of scarcity of faith, a remnant remained.

In a culture which seems to be increasingly determined to follow false gods, we seek to remain faithful.  As followers of Jesus, we continue to pray for "daily bread."  We trust the one true God to provide in accord with His will, and as we receive, we share.  In the midst of times of prosperity or scarcity, God's people worship and trust Him, seeking to reflect His generosity as we share His gifts.

With You in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"