Don't Change the Recipe

  • II Kings 4:38 “And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. 
  • 39 And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. 
  • 40 So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof. 
  • 41 But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.”

Nestled in central Pennsylvania, Lancaster is a beautiful, fertile, and quiet stretch of land home to many Amish. Far enough away from the cancerous, corrupt, and chaotic city life of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the Amish created a pleasant and pristine setting in Lancaster, PA. Over time, various travelers from the big metropolises and other parts of America saw and experienced Lancaster’s unsullied beauty as well. And yet, for these tourists, Lancaster was missing something. So, outlet malls were built. A small amusement park was built. Name brand department stores and restaurants were built. Mini golf and arcades were built. In the blink of an eye, Lancaster became a unique tourist destination just like Branson, MO and Gatlinburg, TN. Problems with such “advancements” arose, though. Peace and quiet were interrupted. Some of the Amish settlements were displaced. Drugs and other vices have found their way into parts of Lancaster. On the immediate surface, the appearance is still fun, entertaining, and quaint. But for someone, like myself, who has had the opportunity to regularly minister through the years to the core residents of Lancaster, there is more than meets the eye. What happened? The city folk and outsiders liked what they saw, but didn’t feel completely comfortable with Lancaster. So, they changed the recipe of the area into their image and comfort level. But as one resident once told me, these tourists simply built another place like the ones they were trying to get away from! They changed the recipe, and the result: death in the pot! 

Fallen man does this all the time. We like the perfection and beauty of righteousness’s rewards, but are uncomfortable with its responsibilities. So, we change God’s Word, God’s churches, God’s families, and God’s people into images of our own only to find the same mess we began with. The newer “versions” of God’s Word look like just another useless, unread magazine or comic book. The newer churches look and feel like just another dinner and show on Broadway. God’s families have become so changed that they look just like the fallen examples on Hollywood sitcoms. And God’s people fit in so much with the world that their clothing, styles, desires, speech, activities, and pursuits are exactly the same as the corrupt unsaved around them. We changed the recipe, and the result: death in the pot! 

Yes, friends, like in Elisha’s day, there is a great dearth in the land. There is such a famine of good, godly homes. However, the answer isn’t just throwing in any “wild vine” or “wild gourd” that you see. You, then, are no different than the lost world sowing their “wild oats”! You’ll have death in the pot of your offspring, your life, and your marriage! And many do! You must stick closely and tightly to the recipe of God’s Word concerning how to build a home. Do not “turn to the right hand or the left.” Do not add, take away, or diminish one iota of God’s Word. Do everything God commands exactly as God’s commands when God commands in order to produce the home that God has planned for you. 

Over the years, I have seen and heard so many, many believers who want the kids we (and other godly homes) have and the marriage we have and the blessings we have and the home we have and the life we live. They are like the city folk lustily driving through Lancaster, PA. However, most do not feel comfortable with God’s standards and with God’s rules that we apply to our lives, our kids, and our home. Most add a little pinch of “wild vine” and a little dash of “wild gourd” to the mix until they don’t have our home any more; they have their life all over again. What happened?! They changed the recipe. You can’t just throw any old thing into the pot and expect to make a birthday cake, friend. Please, please follow God’s recipe to the letter. Otherwise, you’ll have death in the pot. 

Deuteronomy 5:29 “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!”