Scriptures: 2 Kings 4:1-7 & Isaiah 61
Song of Praise: Doxology
Elisha was a prophet, and it was customary for people approaching him, to ask for help and counsel. The story recorded in 2 Kings shows us a precarious tale of a widow and her debt.
The loss of a husband is a devastating experience in it's own right, but this poor woman had even more trouble at hand;
she owed money, and her debtors were wanting to collect.
Her creditors were going to take her sons as slaves if she would not pay them what she owed; problem was, she had absolutely nothing to pay them.
She was a poor widow that barely had food to feed her family, let alone any extra to pay back her creditors.
In disparity, the widow pleads with Elisha for help.
Elisha instructs the widow to pour what small amount of oil she did have into as many vessels as she could find or borrow.
This may seem odd, because the story tells us that she barely had enough oil to bake one meal. How was that meager amount of oil going to fill multiple jars?
The widow obeyed. The small jar of oil miraculously filled many other jars, so many in fact, that she couldn't even find any more jars to fill.
At Elisha's instruction, she sold the extra oil and was able to pay off all her debts. She had enough money after all her debts were paid, that she was able to live off of the remaining money.
This story has deeper roots than what may first appear.
From famine to excess, this tale points us to the greater reality found in Christ's redemption.
Isaiah prophesied about the redemption of creation, and the favor that God would bestow on his covenant people.
The curse that caused loss, pain, and famine was going to be reversed by the coming Messiah, Jesus.
He was going to turn everything around. History itself would be marked by the Messiah's coming.
Christ's life, death, resurrection, and ascension are proof that something new is happening.
Mourning will be transformed into dancing, famine will be made into feasting.
The widow that came to Elisha for help learned that her famine could only be turned into feasting by way of a miracle.
The natural order of creation was broken in the fall; it was warped, and needed to be renewed.
Famine doesn't naturally become a feast; sinful humans don't naturally become God's friends.
Christ came to shatter through the warped disorder of creation, restoring it back to His intended design.
Jesus has reordered His broken creation, just like Elisha was used of God to reorder the widow's misfortune.
Table Talk Questions:
What unnatural/miraculous thing did Elisha perform for the poor widow?
How does Christ's life and death secure the beginning of a new " year" or creation?
How does Jesus reverse the curse of famine, miraculously creating a feast.
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Meal: 5 Cheese Ziti, Yummy Blueberry-Cran & Mandarin Salad, & Sunny Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
5 Cheese Ziti
Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 jar Marinara sauce
1 jar of Alfredo sauce
1 pound Ziti noodles
8 ounce shredded Parmesan cheese
8 ounce shredded Colby Jack cheese
8 ounce shredded Mozzarella cheese
Prepare a large pot of heavily salted water.
In a large saucepan, combine both jars of pre-made sauces and half of each of the 8 ounces shredded cheese.
Stir on low heat until mostly combined.
Bring your salted water to boil.
Cook ziti noodles to al dente.
Before draining take ½ a cup of your starchy noodle water and add it to your sauce mixture.
This will help the sauce stick to your noodles.
Fully drain noodles from their water bath and combine with your sauce mixture.
Add this to a large oven safe dish.
Sprinkle the top of the dish with the remaining cheese.
Broil for 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browning (make sure to watch to avoid burning)
Blueberry-Cran & Mandrin Salad
Prep and Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
1 heaping cup Blueberries
1 bag Spring Mix Salad or your favorite greens
1 can Mandarin Orange segments drained
1/2 cup dried Cranberries
2-4 Tablespoons roasted unsalted Sunflower Seeds or any other nut/seed you like.
Blueberry Balsamic Dressing:
1 cup Blueberries
⅓ cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon Salt
⅛ teaspoon Black Pepper
½ cup Olive Oil
Make your dressing in a food processor or blender, combine all dressing ingredients except for the olive oil.
Blend until blueberries are completely pureed, then add in the olive oil at the end.
Once dressing is emulsified you’re ready to serve.
Salad: Wash and dry your greens.
Combine with cucumber and blueberries.
Toss with a drizzle or two of dressing.
Top with mandarin orange segments, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds.
Sunny Orange Cupcakes with Chocolate frosting
Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes + 30 minutes to cool and frost
Yields: about 2 dozen cupcakes
1 box unprepared Yellow or White Cake Mix
1 box Orange Jello
1 cup Orange Juice with Pulp
1 cup Oil
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine above ingredients, mix well, and add to prepared cupcake tins, filling the liners about ⅔ full.
Bake until the cupcakes are fully cooked and just starting to brown,about 15 minutes.
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
1 ½ cup (3 Sticks) unsalted Butter, softened
8 ounces (1 block) Cream Cheese, softened
1 ½ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
⅛ teaspoon Salt
7 cups Powdered Sugar
¼ cups Heavy Cream (more if needed for a better consistency)
In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes.
Carefully add the cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt.
Beat until combined.
With mixing speed on low, gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
When all of the powdered sugar has been added, beat in heavy cream.
Then add more to create a spreadable consistency.
The frosting should be on the thicker side, however it will thicken even more when the cake is refrigerated.
Spread frosting on the cupcakes and decorate as desired. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before serving.