Summary: There are times when there seems to be a disconnect between our walk with God and the outcome of our prayers. Sometimes circumstances can seem to contradict the fact that God is watching over our lives and guiding its events for our good.
TITLE: DON’T BURY IT YET
SCRIPTURE: II KINGS 4:8-37
A common precursor among new preachers when they want to preach about faith is to ask the congregation - “how many of you have faith?”
• The question actually doesn’t make sense because there is no such thing as “people who have faith” and “people who don’t have faith”
• The truth is everyone puts their faith in something
• A more sensible way of asking this question would be to ask them -- “On whom or what or where do you or have you placed your faith today?”
An atheist might ask me “what’s the difference?” Well, simply put, we can have faith in many things, but God alone is faithful. God alone is capable of honoring and responding to our faith. The Shunammite woman in this passage also had placed her faith in things other than God. One day God wanted to deal with her misplaced faith, and it is fascinating to watch how it unfolds in our text this morning. Let’s visit the text and see what we can learn and apply to our lives in an effort to make us stronger in the Lord.
There are times when there seems to be a disconnect between our walk with God and the outcome of our prayers. Sometimes circumstances can seem to contradict the fact that God is watching over our lives and guiding its events for our good. So, what do we do when such contradictions confront us? We are going to look at a narrative from the OT in which a woman’s faith seems to be shortchanged and then examine how to respond to the forces of doubt.
The Bible from Genesis to Revelation has detailed and shined the light upon some very powerful and very interesting woman. We find such a one in our text for examination.
• The Shunammite woman was a wealthy and well respected person in society
• The Bible describes her in such a fashion
• In DEBORAH we saw a leader
• In HANNAH a prayerful woman
• In ABIGAIL an intelligent woman
• And the Shunammite a wealthy and well respected person in society
• This gives us a true picture of how the Bible views woman
Shunem was a small town just off of a major international roadway, known as the Via Maris. The Via Maris was a major trade route in the Ancient Near East, going from EGYPT through ISRAEL up to DAMASCAS (Syria), where it then connected with other routes to ASSYRIA or BABYLON. This was a major pipeline for trade and the people who lived along the route had a chance to profit by the travelers and live in a wider world due to the trade potential.
This town, Shunem, was in a region that we know the prophets were active, but it’s away from Elisha’s home base in Samaria.
• We don’t really know where he was going while he was passing through Shunem
• But it makes a lot of sense that he needed somewhere to land when he was in this region
This saga really revolves around this woman who notices the traveling Elisha and shows him hospitality by giving him some food. Elisha makes a habit of stopping in whenever he travels that way, and over time she recognizes that he is a Holy Man. I like that term “Holy Man.” What does that mean in today’s terms?
• Only Jesus was Holy for He is God
• A Holy Man is one who strives to be like Jesus Christ
• It is one who keeps the Word of God in his heart and takes action on that Word
• Feed the Poor -- helps heal the Sick -- has the Fruit of the Spirit
• Follows the commands of the Lord
• Has Love and Compassion for all
• Spreads the Word of God
• As you can see, we will fall short, but the Lord did say that we should strive for perfection as He us perfect (Be Ye Holy, for I am Holy)
• In human terms, I would consider one who strives for perfection in the Lord a Holy man
The woman and her husband build a small room on their house for Elisha to stay in when he passes through, and he becomes a regular guest in their home. Elisha wants to repay the hospitality, and so he (in an odd, indirect way) asks her how he can repay the favor. Perhaps his royal connections can help them? She responds that she and her husband don’t really need anything more than what they have, they are self-sufficient.
Elisha continues to ask his servant what should be done, though, and Gehazi (the servant) responds by pointing out that she didn’t have any sons, and that her husband was old.