The unfairness of life is just one more good reason to believe in God, and in due season He will make all things right. Such is the case of the Shunammite woman…
The prophet Elisha just left a poor widow’s house where God performed a miracle of provision. (2 Kings 4:1-7) He now stops by Shunem, a town, on a road he often traveled. In this place resides a woman of great esteem, who is quite hospitable and whose husband had a vast estate.
We should carefully note this woman’s name was never mentioned, which means anyone in her station could open this door of blessings. And in station it is here meant not only the financial position, but also the mindset and motives. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (I Corinthians 15:57)
It is also important to emphasize she was hospitable. With all of her wealth and influence she was most concerned with advancing the needs of others instead of her own social status. Hospitality and servant-hood are one in the same. The crux of Jesus’ ministry rested on he did not come to be served—but, he came to be a servant and to fulfill his ministry so in all of his works God would be glorified. (Matthew 20:28)
True hospitality is not just a ministry in the church or entertainment in your home, but a prerequisite for ministry wherever a true Christian goes. And in so doing, the recipient is touched by the incorruptible love of God.
In verse eight we read, ‘And she constrained him to eat bread.’ She must have pled with the prophet to dine at her table; as he probably had little use for being in the company of those of great reputation. Elisha had no desire of these things; he had no worldly agendas—his gifts made room for him. His communion with God was of the utmost importance, of which he could not allow himself such distractions.
As with Elisha, so should this determination be with us. The Lord is seeking those who truly belong to Him; who will obey his direction to fulfill His purposes and who will not hesitate to do exactly what he asks. Are you one of His? Or do you still have one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom of God? Are you halt between two opinions? Is this one indecision costing you numerous distractions through time—thus costing you time? Time is a commodity you cannot afford to waste—once gone it is impossible to get back. We must work while it is day for when night time comes no man worketh. With God’s help we must redeem the times!
…discern our spiritual environment
And she said unto her husband, “Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God which passeth by us continually.” (2 Kings 4:9) This fair woman recognized Elisha as a true holy man of God. She evaluated the circumstances as Elisha passed by her home on many occasions and from this assessment she gained wisdom. In such instances, we must take time to discern our spiritual environment so we can stay in the flow of the Holy Spirit. He may look like a man of God, preach or prophesy like a man of God…There are those who are not true to God or his Word. (Micah 3:11) This is the precursor for why it is imperative we possess the gift of discernment to identify the source of blessing. (Malachi 3:18) Thus, allowing God to open a window in time for a miracle.
Additionally, she petitions her husband…”Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall and let us set for him there a bed and a table, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.” Now, whenever Elisha came to Shunem he was assured a place of rest, for his personal use. And no doubt, their household would be blessed because the presence of God was there. (I Chronicles 13:14).
On one such visit Elisha was lying in that chamber, ever grateful for this hospitality—he pondered how to be a blessing—he offered to provide her person and property royal protection by his influence with the king. However, this Shunammite refused his princely offer, for she found contentment among her own people. This woman did not desire to be any higher in social status than her wealth had already afforded her—she was content. Where there is humility there is honor and where there is honor there is divine order. Where there is divine order you will surely find the hand of God. This humble refusal set her in the right season to receive a divine blessing.
God dwells in eternity…
We must understand God dwells in eternity; therefore, he can take your future and place it in your present at any given moment in time. He is not constrained by time-frames such as some men think.
Elisha did not stop with this offer—he further inquired of Gehazi what more he could do for her… And Gehazi answered, “Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.” And he said, “Call her.” And when he had called her, she stood in the door. And he said, “About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son.” And she said, “Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie to thine handmaid.” (2 Kings 4:15-16)
Like Sarah, she heard impossibility in the prophet’s word because of her husband’s condition, but she also knew the prophet, by reputation, to be an oracle of God. Is any thing too hard for the LORD? “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” We know Elisha’s words are true as we approach verse seventeen…And the woman conceived, and bare a son at the season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.
One day when the child was grown…
Right here some of you might conclude —‘and they lived happily ever after’, but that was simply not the case…One day when the child was grown he went into the fields where his father and the servants were reaping. And he said unto his father, “My head, my head.” So the father instructed the servant to take the lad to his mother, where he sat him on her knee till noon, and then died. (2 Kings 4:19-20)
She never spoke any negativity into the atmosphere concerning her son’s condition. She laid him upon the prophet’s bed and shut the door.
A man who has no control of his spirit is like a city without walls—there is no defense. (Proverbs 25:26) When overwhelming trouble comes your spirit has to be fortified so the enemy cannot come in and wreak havoc by planting seeds of fear, unbelief and discouragement—weakening your faith. Fear tries to get us to give up, but faith takes us all the way through to victory! It is our Christian obligation to shut the door on unbelief and walk with absolute faith in order to see a miracle from God.
Here the Shunammite had to allow the peace of God that passes all understanding to guard her heart and mind through Christ Jesus. She needed to be in a place of peace to accurately discern this spiritual environment. Before any of us are assured of effective warfare against the enemy we must know the environmental factors.
She did not reveal their son’s condition, even to her husband, when she requested a servant and a donkey to seek out Elisha. When he asked where she was going she simply said, “it shall be well.” She spoke faith into the situation and prophesied a future for her son. This woman did not give the enemy anything to work with. If she was afraid you could not tell by her actions or her words. She did not display any emotions to invoke a negative light on her son’s present condition.
…be still and know that He is God
Here you must be still and know that He is God. Outwardly, she was still and quiet, but within her spirit she could be crying out to God. In her heart she might believe God pass what she saw. Conceivably, in her spirit she is thanking and praising God, in advance, for her son’s deliverance, or maybe meditating on the Word of God.
Perhaps, in her spirit, she heard an abundance of rain. In other words, she knew the miracle of God was imminent; it just had not yet arrived to her son. Even if her blessing did come in the size of a man’s hand —-she had to get the right man of God to lay his hand on the situation. Hence her strategy was to get the presence of God in the room were her son lay.
This level of faith hinges on the capacity to keep your emotions under control in every situation. Do not be fearful, only be courageous. In such instances the only one who needs to hear a word from you is God—whether spoken or not. Is it not written—Likewise the Spirit helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27) Establishing and continuing your spiritual relationship with God is of paramount importance. Trust in Him to keep His Word; for He holds His Word above His name! (Psalm 138:2).
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