From God’s word – Elisha and the twenty loaves


By Toni Ford

Have you ever come upon a certain chapter from the Bible or maybe a couple of verses from that chapter and you continue to read, chew and meditate on that one particular Scripture over and over for several days?

That recently happened to me when I came upon 2 Kings 4: 42-44, which says, “A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. ‘Give it to the people to eat,’ Elisha said. ‘How can I set this before a hundred men?’ his servant asked. Elisha answered, ‘Give it to the person to eat. For this is what the LORD says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’ Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.”

During the time in which this was written, the northern kingdom of Israel had no official temple dedicated to God, therefore many of the faithful priests and Levites had moved to Judah. Since there was no temple to which the people could bring their tithes and offerings, they would bring them to the nearest school of the prophets, where they would be shared by people true to the Torah.

The man from Baal Shalishah, bringing this offering of 20 loaves, his name was Gehazi. The prophet he brought the bread to was Elisha, and with Elisha were a hundred men ready to be fed. Of course, Gehazi realized he only had twenty loaves with him, which was all he had to bring, and yet there were a hundred men standing there ready to eat. Here is where the Lord began to speak to me…”

Am I giving God my first fruits? Gehazi knew to bring the first ripe grain or first fruits to Elisha. In his mind and heart, there was no question or hesitation that his offering unto the Lord was to be the best and the first. In Exodus 23:16-23 and Proverbs 3:9-10, the Lord explains the importance of first fruits and the way in which they should be given. The Hebrew word for first fruit is “Bikkurim.” It literally translates to “The promise to come.” So, when we give our first fruits, we are giving our best and our first before we keep any for ourselves or give any away to anyone else and we are faithfully placing our hope and trust in the Lord to provide for us.

Do I focus more on my natural circumstances or trust God in the supernatural? Gehazi brings the 20 loaves to Elisha, and when he sees the 100 men standing there, he asks a very reasonable question: “How can I set this before 100 men?” Interesting enough, this sounds much like the question Andrew asked in John 6:9 about the five loaves and two fish: “How far will they go among so many?” I can only imagine Gehazi wanting to run back from where he originally came, trying his best to find more bread to bring back so that all the men could be fed. Perhaps he just wanted to run and crawl in a hole, feeling embarrassed and ashamed. All of these thoughts and emotions are natural; however, I was challenged by God’s question to me as to what is my first response? Do I quickly go to God, trusting that He is greater than my circumstances and greater than what my eye sees in the natural, or do I go to fear and doubt first? There is nothing too big for our God, so we can trust Him with absolutely anything that is before us.

Am I taking time to hear from God? When Gehazi asked Elisha the question, Elisha did not hesitate to say, “Give it to the person to eat. For this is what the Lord says; “They will eat and have some left over.” Elisha was confident of what God had told him earlier, which was these exact words: “They will eat and have some left over.” According to Scripture, that is exactly what happened! So how was Elisha not even ruffled by the number of loaves verses the number of men, and how was he so confident of what the Lord had told him to do?

Because Elisha spent time with the Lord, he sought to know His heart, and Elisha wanted to know his instructions from the Lord. Elisha did not just “know of the Lord,” but he was in a relationship with the Lord such that he could hear from Him and trust in what the Lord would tell him to do.

Is my walk with the Lord such as this? If not, perhaps I need to make sure I spend time with the Lord like Elisha, quality time to sit and be still and listen.

Lord, today I thank You for Your Word, and I pray that I would take the questions with this Scripture that You have placed before me and continue to meditate and chew on it, so that I can hear and become more like You in all my ways! Thank You, Lord, for your faithfulness in our lives!

If you would like continued prayer, feel free to email me at I would love to pray for you!

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