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The Shunammite Woman’s son


Sermon shared by Gordon Curley

April 2008
Summary: The Shunammite Woman’s son. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)
Denomination: Brethren
Audience: General adults
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Verse 18: “The child grew”:

• That is grew through the various stages of Israelite childhood:
• From ‘Yeled’ newborn to ‘Yonek’ nursing baby;

• From ‘Yonek’ nursing baby to ‘Olel’ weaned child.
• From ‘Olel’ weaned child to ‘Taph’ one who clings to mother’s apron.

• From ‘Taph’ to ‘Elem’ one who is strong and able to work in the fields.
• So this child grew through the various stages of Israelite childhood:

One day as the boy was working with his father in the fields he collapsed:

• We don’t know how old the boy was when these events occurred:
• He must have been quite young (7-8) because verse 20 tells us;

• She was still able to sit him on her lap;
• And she was able to carry his limp body up to Elijah's room.

(2). A speedy journey (verses 22-26):

The woman then acts rather strangely:

• She sets about a plan of action while maintaining a remarkable composure.
• Each step of the plan seems to reveal a strong faith in the midst of crisis.

• Verse 22: The mother called to the father in the field;
• And asked him to provide her with a servant and a donkey,

• But she didn't inform him that the boy had died.
• The fact that she was leaving suggested that the boy was safe, probably taking a nap.

She probably feared that if her husband knew the boy was dead;

• He would order an instant burial,
• For nobody wants a corpse in the house during the hot harvest season.

• She is then able to sidestep her husbands questioning curiosity;
• And head off to Mount Carmel to find Elisha.

When she arrives at Carmel she is met by Gehazi:

• Not wanting to waste any time;
• And wanting to speak directly to Elisha,

• She answered all three of Gehazi’s questions;
• With a polite; “It is well”.

(3). A troubled woman (verses 27-28)

When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me why.
28 Did I ask you for a son, my lord? she said. Didn't I tell you, 'Don't raise my hopes'?

• When the woman arrives Elisha immediately discerned that something was wrong;
• But the Lord had not revealed to him what the problem was.

• The woman was obviously bitter and heartbroken at the death of her son;
• And it sounds like she was blaming Elisha for the tragedy.

• After all she hadn't asked for a son, and if Elisha and Gehazi hadn't interfered,
• Her joy wouldn't have been snatched from her.

Application 3:

Question: Where do we go in times of crisis?

• This woman in verse 13 is quite content.
• She has her husband, her home, her wealth (pension plan), her people.

• We would say she has the lot!
• Except for a son and she soon had that need met as well.

But one day circumstances change

• And instead of contentment;
• There is conflict, bitterness, there is heart-ache!

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