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." But 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.’" So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord. (2Kings 4:42-44)
In this passage from Kings we see a strong parallel between Elisha feeding the hundred and Jesus feeding the five-thousand. In both cases the few loaves that they had were insufficient for the number that were to be fed. In both cases an instruction comes from the man of God to set it before the people. In both cases there is incredulity that so little can feed so many. And in both cases according to the word of the Lord when the follower(s) of the man of God set the loaves before the people there is enough and to spare.
In fact Elisha is a parallel of Christ in many ways. His coming was prepared for by Elijah. He raised the dead, cleansed the leper and fed the multitudes. And even his name is highly significant as a type of Christ: "Lamb of God!"
Elisha was the head of a whole prophetic community, living according to the word of God, in, but not of, a nation that had turned its back on God. In many ways a prototype of the New Testament community fulfilled in the church.
What caught my attention in this passage that I had not seen before, was that this miracle of Elisha was performed in response to a man bringing a first-fruit offering.
If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. (Romans 11:16)
There were many excuses this man could have used, legitimate reasons, why he shouldn't have brought his first-fruits offering.
First, the first-fruits should have been collected by the Levites, and in apostate Israel this was no longer possible. But instead this man chose to bring the first of his harvest to the local ministries [Baal-Shalishah was local to Gilgal].
He could have also considered that what he had was not worth bringing. From other passages in scripture (Jn 6:9, Luke 11:5) it is likely that his entire offering was only about 7-10 meals. [These "loaves" were more like our bread-rolls than modern-day loaves of bread] Yet he brought the little he had to the man of God.
He could have also rationalised that he needed it more. This was a time of famine in the land (2Ki 4:38) No-one could, from a natural point of view, spare anything he had. Yet this man understood the spiritual principle of giving the first of what you have to the Lord, so that what is left will be blessed.
As a result of this man's obedience and faith, this offering undergoes a supernatural multiplication so that it is at least 10 times more than what it was to begin with.
It is so important that we put God first and honour him with the first part of our wealth. We may think such action is insignificant, or that we can not afford to spare it. But God always responds to such actions of obedience and faith. There comes a holy multiplication that means our testimony is that we always have enough and to spare.