Summary: Two remedies in the word of God for bitter things: The cross, and the word of God. When there is death in the pot, and the water of life is undrinkable God has a cure for you.
Throw in the Tree!
This is a simple Bible message with two main points: 1. Beware of Poisonous Stew, and 2. The remedy if you have consumed some poisonous stew, or bitter water.
Two remedies in the word of God for bitter things: The cross, and the word of God. When there is death in the pot, and the water of life is undrinkable God has a cure for you.
We are going to look at a passage in the OT where the Sons of the Prophets literally had a poisonous stew, and how Elisha the prophet remedied the situation. From that literal story I want to make a spiritual application that sometimes words and deeds can be spoken to us and done to us that if not dealt with can produce very negative consequences.
I am going to show an incredible example from the life of Moses, and the life of Jacob, where both of these men prevented poison from ruining their lives.
First let’s look at the literal text:
2Ki 4:38 When Elisha returned to Gilgal, [there was] a famine in the land. As the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, "Put on the large pot and boil stew for the sons of the prophets."
2Ki 4:39 Then one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, for they did not know [what they were.]
2Ki 4:40 So they poured [it] out for the men to eat. 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.
2Ki 4:41 But he said, "Now bring meal." And he threw it into the pot, and he said, "Pour [it] out for the people that they may eat." Then there was no harm in the pot. (NAS)
That’s the literal, now lets look at it in a different light and see what we might learn. In our story there was a community stew, lots of people contributed, some things were healthy and some were poisonous. What I want to say to you is that there is a part of your personality that is just like a community stew and people are throwing things in the pot of who you are all the time.
In Proverbs 4:23, we read: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
There is a certain amount of diligence we need to undertake to be sure that poisonous and ruinous thoughts and ideas don’t take hole on our inner man. Every word you hear, every thing you see, every idea someone expresses is an attempt to put something into the stew of who you are. Consider what we are told in the book of James about the danger of certain words:
Jas 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, the [very] world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of [our] life, and is set on fire by hell.
We read in Ephesians about the fiery darts of the enemy. Many times those darts come in the form of words, and we need to be very careful about what we let in or we will wake up to the realization, "there is death in the pot!"
Sometimes the words we say to ourselves are more dangerous than the words others say to us.
Let me show you something very amazing from the life of Moses.
Moses was a Jew raised by Pharoah, at 40 years of age, he reconnects with his people, sees an Egyptian beating a Jew, probably mercilessly, he attacks the Egyptian, and in the process kills him. It becomes known by the authorities what Moses had done, and he flees for his life into the desert wilderness, where he remains for the next 40 years.
So he went from the palace, to the desert, and he stayed in the desert for a very long time.
He marries and he has two children, Gershom, and Eliezer. Gershom is the firstborn Eliezer the second. I hope that you are learning to look up the meaning of names because they tell a story.
Gershom is Moses firstborn and his name means thrust out. Kicked out, rejected, shut down, disavowed. Every time Moses called this boy by name he was reminded of personal rejection, and personal failure. When Jewish people read the Bible, they read what the text actually says. Every time we English readers read the bible and we come to the name of Moses’ firstborn we read the Hebrew word, "Gershom." In other words the Hebrew is not translated, we read the actual Hebrew word. When Jews read the Hebrew Bible they don’t read the name Gershom, they read what the word Gershom means: "thrust out." In English we would read, he named his firstborn Gershom. In Hebrew they would read, he named his firstborn, "thrust out."* (Pastors see note at end of message on the meaning of the name Gershom)