Sunday, February 26, 2012


Days of Praise

Death in the Pot

February 25, 2012

“So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass,

as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and

said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they

could not eat thereof.” (2 Kings 4:40)

The “sons of the prophets” studying under Elisha became

hungry, so Elisha told them to “seethe pottage” (v. 38),

evidently a soup primarily made of lentils. However, one of

the young students proceeded to gather some wild gourds

and grind them into the pottage, carelessly assuming that

their attractive appearance and taste would spice up the

otherwise dull meal. When the more mature students took

the first sip, however, they realized the alien ingredient was

poisonous, and cried out, “There is death in the pot!”

There is a parable in this experience. Modern Bible scholars

often want to spice up the old truths of Scripture with some

new and superficially attractive concoction from the outside

world, but this usually serves merely to adulterate “the sincere

milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2) and insert “death in the pot.”

Like the woman in the New Testament parable who took leaven

and secretly “hid |it| in three measures of meal, till the whole

was leavened” (Matthew 13:33), Elisha’s enterprising young

student slipped in his attractive ingredient, and it soon permeated

the whole pot of soup with its poison. This is the way with false


The remedy for the poison in the pottage was found when Elisha

said, “Bring meal. And he cast it into the pot. . . . And there was no

harm in the pot” (2 Kings 4:41). The purifying “meal” was fine

wheat flour, always in Scripture symbolizing the true Word of God

. It is the Word which is the true bread by which man must live

(Matthew 4:4), and the antidote for the poisonous doctrines of

the world must always be the unadulterated Word of God.


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