Dearth in the Land
C. H. Darch, Taunton, England
In 2 Kings 4. 38 we read, " There was a dearth in the land," when Elisha came to Gilgal. This can be said of many places today in another sense; many assemblies have had no harvest of souls for some time past, and the dearth goes on. There is a remedy, but we must first go to Gilgal.
Gilgal is the place where; the flesh was dealt with and the reproach of Egypt rolled away, where Saul was told to " Tarry till I come to thee " (1 Sam. 10. 8). This is certainly the starting place; and, to be in the path of blessing, we must continue to deal with the flesh till the Lord comes for us.
The sons of the prophets were sitting before him, no doubt to learn of him. It is they who wait upon the Lord who renew their strength, not those who are too involved in the rush of life or too busy in service to learn of Him.
God has no delight in famine, therefore the prophet said, " Set on the great pot and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets." We should always be full and abounding, seeing we have such a wonderful God who gives us richly; we should always be full and abounding, ever ready to prepare the great pot for great things.
But one, whose name is not worthy of mention, went out into the field to gather herbs. The Lord tells us that the field is the world, and there are many who, with Ahab, would turn a vineyard into a garden of herbs; doing away with the vine, and replacing it with herbs, a panacea for human ills.
This man finds wild vine and does not know it from the real thing. How can those who go into the world for their food, know what is of Christ the true vine and what comes from the " angel of light "? The false is so much like the true, but those who had been sitting at the feet of the mail of God knew, and cried out, " O thou man of God, there is death in the pot," Not only did they know the false from the true, but they also knew to whom to turn in their dilemma.
The remedy was not gold dust but meal, that living seed which had been crushed and brings before our minds the scene of Calvary. “ Test every new doctrine by the cross of Christ,” is sound advice; if it does not add glory to our Lord, there is something wrong with it, for we cannot exalt Him too much.
The meal was added, and there was no harm in the pot. The sons of the prophets could now feast to their hearts' content on that which speaks of the death of Christ. No harm ever comes of this; moreover, as far as this assembly was concerned, there was now no dearth in the land.
But God does not desire His people to be occupied with the death of His Son only; He would have us to feast on His exaltation and glory. Indeed, the death of Christ is always viewed in relation to His past and future glory. For example, Ps, 22 gives a wonderful account of His death, but in Pa, 21 He is seen as King, and in the latter part of Ps, 22 we get such an expansion of His glory as is seldom found in Holy Writ. When there is a cross, it is preceded by the scene of the transfiguration and followed by His resurrection and exaltation: God so values His Son's glory, that He will not allow us to dwell on His humiliation alone.
So we are told " There came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the first-fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. "The firstfruits speak of Christ in resurrection (1 Cor. 15. 23). The barley sheaf was waved before the Lord immediately after the Passover, " On the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it " (Lev. 23. 11), and on that selfsame day our Lord was raised (Matt. 28. 1).
It seemed little to lie before a hundred men in a land of dearth, but Cod could multiply it and did. Indeed, men like the servant may think this not enough, but the Lord said, " They shall eat and shall leave thereof." " Jesus, Thou art enough the mind and heart to fill ": none has ever assimilated all there is in Christ for His people; He satisfies completely. Of course they left thereof; no dearth in the hind now!
The more we feast on our Risen Lord the greater will be the blessing, not only to ourselves, but also to the assemblies of God's people. Get men occupied with Christ, and blessing must follow. Exalt Him before the people and the people will be excited. We may make many mistakes in life, but we never shall make the mistake of exalting Christ too much. When He is our centre there is no dearth in the land.