Grace For The Journey
In yesterday’s blog we talked about how there are times in the Christian’s life when we feel utterly inadequate. There are times when trouble comes and we simply can’t cope, we are in too deep, but we learned that “My God will meet all your needs out of his glorious riches in Christ.” But there are other times when our inadequacies show through in different ways, other than just being inadequate to face trouble.
- The times we had an opportunity to share the gospel and we didn’t know what to say, or how to answer them.
- When we are asked to speak or teach and we know our presentation and words weren’t great or even incomplete.
- When we have a conversation with a friend and we want to point to God’s help and hope but we stumble and stutter because we feel so inadequate.
If we let this sense of inadequacy get to us, then the devil will have been successful, and we will be driven to despair, and not attempt anything again.
It’s refreshing to hear the apostle Paul, and man immensely gifted, and experienced – he was trained as well as anyone could be trained, and yet, he asked, “And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16).
The verses we will look at today deal with times when our efforts are marred by our mistakes, and when our labor is insufficient due to our shortcomings. And in both cases, we see a wonderful truth that Paul lays down in 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
Gods provision extends
To our inadequacies
As well as our needs.
Yesterday we looked at, and began to learn from, 2 Kings 4:38-44, how God provides two Old Testament miracles that help us see two powerful truths. We dealt with the first truths brought out in this passage: 1) Christ Can Overrule Our Mistakes.
Today we will look at the second encouraging truth:
2) Christ Can Supply Our Inadequacies.
There are other times when we haven’t made mistakes, and we aren’t in trouble, but we are overwhelmed with a feeling of our utter inadequacy.
- Perhaps you are talking to someone, and as they pour out their heart to you and tell you of what they are going through or have come through, you feel, “Lord what have I got that can help this person?” And if they aren’t a Christian, and you listen to all their troubles, you find yourself thinking, “Lord, all I have is the gospel” and it seems very small and very inadequate. Their problems seem to swamp your experience.
- Or perhaps you get an opportunity to speak to someone about Christ, and as you talk they have more questions than you have answers and you find yourself wishing you knew more, and thinking “I’m so inadequate.”
In verses 38-41 the Bible shows us . . .
There is hope and encouragement
For us because
God is at work
In all our circumstances.
A man comes from Baal-Shalisha. It used to be called Shalisha, but it had become a place of Baal worship, a pagan town. Yet, even in this pagan, godless town there was a godly man. And this godly man is out harvesting his grain, and the way the two miracles are joined together here it would seem still to be the time of famine. Yet as he harvests his grain, and as he grinds the corn to make flour, he is reminded that the first-fruits belong to God. And because he is a godly man he is determined to obey. Now God had said that the first-fruits were to be taken to the temple, and given to the priests. Yet, the land was now following Baal, and the king was sponsoring the priests of Baal, and had forbidden the worship of the Lord. So, what is he to do? He decides that since he can’t obey the letter of the law, he will obey the spirit of the law. And he takes some bread and some grain and treks quite a distance to the servants of God at Gilgal. And there he presents it to Elisha.
That is faithful service. And here . . .
We see sometimes
How God provides –
Help can arrive to
God’s beleaguered people
From unexpected source.
There was a famine, food was hard to come by, although over at Baal-Shalisha things seem to have been a bit easier, and from the place where there is food, God sends to the place where there isn’t. And here we see also . . .
The duty of believers
Who are experiencing plenty
To look out for those
Who are in need,
Not just nearby,
But far off.
Here is faithful and thoughtful service. He has already made some of his grain offering into bread, so that it is of immediate use to the prophets. And he has left some as corn so that they will be able to make bread as the days go on, because if he made it all now, it might have become stale. Here is a thoughtful believer.
And yet when he arrives, he finds that his thoughtfulness in serving God has backfired a bit. Perhaps he should have made all the grain into bread after all. Perhaps even then it wouldn’t have been enough.
But he is about to learn a marvelous lesson:
What looks impossible to us,
Is not impossible to God.
Where our resources
Are at their end,
God’s haven’t even begun
To be exhausted.
Elisha heard God say. “There is enough.” And the impossible met God’s Word, and the servants, the man from Baal Shalisha, and the prophets found out that God’s Word is more certain than what is before our eyes. God supplied. God provided. The inadequacy of the man’s offering was overruled.
From this . . .
- We learn that when we give to God, or when we seek to serve God with what little we have, we just don’t know what sort of a miracle we will end up being involved in.
- We learn that when we labor for God and we are disheartened by our inadequacies, our insufficiencies, our shortfall, and our complete lack, that our God is able to supply what is lacking.
When we stand before someone whose life is falling apart and the gospel seems such a paltry thing to be telling them, we learn that God can take that gospel and use it to fill all their needs.
When we bring our 20 loaves of Bible knowledge to a person who has 100 deep and searching questions, we learn that God is able to take our answer and make them sufficient. Go ahead and speak . . .
- God can take what you say and use it to start someone thinking.
- He can take it and apply it to their conscience and their conscience awakes and starts to accuse them
- He can take what you say and bring to mind things they heard long ago.
Christ can supply our inadequacies.
Oh, how we need to learn this lesson! When we are weak then God is strong. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
When we are insufficient
Then we are in an ideal situation
To find that God is sufficient.
But how? By calling on God,
By acknowledging our
Weakness and our inability.
At almost every turn we see that our Savior is much greater.
Elisha fed 100 men Jesus fed 5000
Elisha had 20 loaves. Jesus had 5.
Elisha had some left over Jesus had 12 basketfuls
Elisha did it by God’s power Jesus did it by His own power.
God is God. And He is the same yesterday today and forever. And when we are in need, or inadequate, or mistaken He will provide.
And we see here also in these two miracles a picture of the gospel. A man whose deadly mistake is covered over by God, and a man whose offering was utterly inadequate and God provides what is needed.
Some of you reading this blog need to hear this. How you are living your life at present is like this man in the first miracle. You think you are doing good, but in fact you are in grave danger. You think you are gathering up treasure for yourself in Heaven, when in fact all the good that you do will condemn you to Hell. You need God to work a miracle. You wouldn’t be foolish enough to eat poisonous plants, but you are gobbling the poisonous leaves of the tree of good works. You are badly mistaken. And the poison will kill you forever. You need Christ to transform what is poisonous into what will give life. You need to go to Him like the prophets did and ask Christ to change you, save you, and rescue you from this spiritual death. Let God cover your mistakes, your errors, your faults, and your sins with His blood.
Like the man in the second miracle bring your life’s efforts to God. and say, “Lord, here are all my decent works that I have done with my life. They will never be sufficient to please God. Had I a hundred lives to live and fine tune each one of them, I could never get it right. I need You to provide the righteousness that I have failed so badly at. I ask Your forgiveness; give me Your life and power; provide for me too!” And if you do, you will find that God will provide, and Christ will cover your sins with His blood, and will replace your good works with His perfect righteousness and you will be able to stand accepted before God .
We learn here that our daily needs, whether its bread, or stew matter to God. And we learn that God will need all our needs “according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” We learn that he will not always do it in the same way.
These miracles that we have looked at in this chapter point us forward to the day when we will see the wonderful richness of God’s provision in all its glory!
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”