The prophet Elijah is traditionally and Scripturally considered a type, he’s considered a character in the Bible playing a parallel role to that of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:9-13). “If Elijah serves as a type of John the Baptist – the forerunner of the Christ – then Elisha’s miracles point to the majesty of Jesus himself” (ESV Literary Study Bible). Translation: The ministry of Elisha, the prophet who succeeded Elijah in the book of 2 Kings, can be looked at as a foreshadowing to the ministry of Jesus. This is a helpful concept to have in mind when reading the following story about Elisha:
38”And Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land…” 42”A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, "Give to the men, that they may eat." 43But his servant said, "How can I set this before a hundred men?" So he repeated, "Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the LORD, 'They shall eat and have some left.'" 44So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the LORD” (2 Kings 4:38,42-44).
Through Elisha, God miraculously multiplied the bread and grain for 100 men. Through Jesus, God multiplied the miracle and fed 4000 people one time, 5000 people another time. In each case, there was a shortage of food, and in each case, the ‘word of the LORD’ is introduced into the story, so that in each case “they ate and had some left.” The principle? “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:3-5). Whether the issue is appetite or any other 'shortage' in our lives, the only thing able to finally 'close the gap,' 'fill the void' and empower us to live life to the fullest is the Holy Spirit speaking via 'the word of the LORD.'
What are you living on? If you try to live without the word of the LORD, you will always come up short.
~ If you are only self-reliant, trusting only in your own hard work and will power to get you through the shortcomings in your life, you’re ‘living on bread alone,’ and you will come up short. Your grit and determination will never be enough.
~ If you try to depend solely on other people to meet the shortages in your life – the love shortage, the peace shortage, the friendship shortage, the fulfillment shortage, the purpose shortage – you’re ‘living on bread alone,’ and will always come up… short. Other people will never be enough. If you try to live without ‘the word of the LORD,’ you will always come up short.
What are you living on? “…in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-7). If you do not acknowledge God when you face the shortages of life, you will end up directing your own paths. Which is kind of like trying to steer a car that’s floating down a raging river… towards a waterfall. If you don’t look to God and ask Him to introduce His wisdom into the challenges you face, you will end up referencing your own wisdom. Which is kind of like looking through the owner’s manual of your floating car for directions on how to live through a waterfall. Get it?
When you’re tempted, and your will power is in short supply, do you acknowledge Him? When you’re tested, and your life experience falls short of the wisdom needed, do you include God in what’s going on? When the blue sky of your life suddenly fills with menacing storm clouds, do you reference the LORD in prayer and then give His revealed word (a.k.a. “The Bible”) a chance to direct you and the outcome of the situation you’re experiencing? Or do you keep living on your own, trying to do it yourself, fix it yourself, understand it yourself, change it yourself?
Whether we acknowledge it or not, our very existence is sustained by 'the word of the LORD.' But existing is not the same as thriving. Depending on how stubborn you are, one day you’ll look at yourself, the absurdity of your own resources will suddenly become obvious, and you’ll say “How can I set this before a hundred men?" When you get to that point – look to the LORD and choose to live according to His word in faith, and shortages will turn into surpluses.
Surrounded By Grace,