Summary: It describes how the life of Elisha is applicable to us
Below is the outline of the sermon, I preached on 2 June 2013 at West Ewell Evangelical Church, Surrey
After last sermon’s long passage, the one for this sermon is much shorter!
The famine had lasted for 8 years. The woman whose oil had been restored (2 Kings 4: 1 ff) had been away from Israel for majority of time (7 years) – she had been noted for her care and attention of Elisha (chapter 4).
She acted as the head of household, probably because husband (already elderly in chapter 4) had died in meantime.
It seems as though there was plenty of rain in the lands surrounding Israel – although, in a normal year, Samaria typically slightly more rain than southern coastal plain (which included the land of the Philistines).
Long famines were not uncommon in the Old Testament (as they still exist today), cf. Genesis 41: 30, where Joseph prophesied seven years of famine in Egypt.
She had stayed as a resident alien in Philistia – Hebrew: ‘sojourn where you sojourn’ – like Naomi and family going to Moab, in narrative of Ruth, when famine had arisen in Bethlehem.
The title of this sermon, ‘Restoration,’ is taken from verse 6 – where ‘restore’ means literally ‘ 'to give back everything, cause to turn back.’
We shall look at the following areas:
1. God the Restorer
2. Restoration of ourselves
3. Restoration of others
1. God the Restorer
We should and must centre on God; otherwise, our efforts at restoration merely becomes good works.
God is abundant, not scrimping – ‘Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’ (Lamentations 3: 22 – 23)
In the Shepherd’s Psalm (Psalm 23: 3), we are reminded that ‘He restores my soul.’
He loves to restore – not one, two or three times but times without number.
He acts not out of selfishness, but out of love – as seen on the cross.
We are so different as the following shows:
A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5 and Ryan 3. The boys began to argue over who gets the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson so she said: ‘If Jesus was sitting here, He would say, “Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”
God’s timing is immaculate – as in this instance, Gehazi talking about the woman’s son at the time she was about to petition the king. We need to pray that we would listen to His timing.
We will be fully restored in the future as God finishes His work of restoration– ‘Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully as I am fully known.’ (1 Corinthians 13: 12)
There are attributes that are uniquely God’s (e.g. all-knowing, all-seeing, all-present), but others that He shares with us (e.g. to be separate [holy], creative). Restoring falls into latter category: for as He restores so should we – ‘Forgive our debts as we also have forgiven others’ (Matthew 6: 12).