It Was Food Poisoning!

“Food Poisoning.”  That’s what some of my readers of ThePreachersWord said yesterday about my post on missing Sunday worship.   Hmm?  Could it be?  Well….

That’s a possibility.  We’re not sure.  But it reminded me of a Bible account of food poisoning.  Yes, it’s in the Bible.  Honestly.  Here’s the narrative from  2 Kings 4:38-41.

38 And Elisha returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. Now the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39 So one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, though they did not know what they were.  40 Then they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating the stew, that they cried out and said, “Man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it.  

41 So he said, “Then bring some flour.” And he put it into the pot, and said, “Serve it to the people, that they may eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot.

When I first began preaching, I got a sermon idea from an older preacher (I don’t remember who) called “Poison in the Pottage.”  The lesson began with this text.  The point was made that “wild gourds” were put into the pottage and poisoned it.  However, the man of God, Elisha, came to the rescue and removed the “death in the pot.”

The analogy was made to “wild doctrines” that can poison the pottage of God’s Word.  And bring death.  I don’t remember all the applications that I used back then.  But I’m sure you can think of some that apply today.

The Word of God is called the “incorruptible seed” (1 Pet 1:21), the “pure milk” (1 Pet. 2:2), “Holy Scriptures (Rom 1:2), “pure gold” (Ps 119:127).  All of these metaphors speak to the undiluted nature of the Word.  It is unmixed.  Uncorrupted. Undefiled.  When taken as it is without any admixture, it is the pure Word of God.

Sadly some today have poisoned the pot with human traditions, doctrinal errors, and personal opinions.  In some religious circles political correctness is more important than Biblical accuracy.  Some churches have changed with the culture instead of changing culture with Truth.  Too many men in the pulpit today have gathered “wild gourds” from religious seminaries, liberal theologians, or rank infidels.  When this happens the result is deadly.  There is spiritual food poisoning.  Death in the pot.

As bad as our week-end bout of sickness was, it is infinitely worse to poison people spiritually.  ThePreachersWord seeks “to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly” (Eccl. 12:10).  We don’t want “wild gourds” mixed in the pure pottage of God’s Word.  And so we abstain from humanistic philosophy.  Refrain from improper speculation.  Avoid pragmatic relativism.

Don’t gather your spiritual food from a “wild vine”!  And be careful not to eat “spiritual stew” with “wild gourds” that defile the Word!  If you do, you’ll end up sick.  In fact, it may end in spiritual death.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Bible, Christian Living

6 responses to “It Was Food Poisoning!

  1. Bill Hood

    I wish I could say with certainty that I remember you preaching that lesson.. “Pottage” rings a bell, but I have trouble remembering accurately the things that took place a year ago.. I do remember this though, Ken.. It was the core truth of this kind of preaching and teaching which attracted Donna and me to Christianity. This truth was, is, and always will be, while the earth stands. It was this truth, taught to us mainly by you and Norma, across a dirt alley, which gave us a wonderful 31 years together. I am sure Donna would agree, when I say, we will always be indebted to the Lord for your service to Him.


  2. Murray Collier

    Great thoughts.  I taught a high school class recently, “Flour Power”, on this passage that seemed to really resonate with the teens.   It basically boiled down (pun intended) to the fact that we (Christians, Flour) can have a significant life changing impact on our (poisonous) surroundings. I.e…. school, work, etc…


  3. theoddcoupleblogcom

    Sometimes the simple broth of the Bible is all that is needed to plant the seed. Start adding ingredients and the message is lost.


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