Summary: The Shunammite woman leads us to examine our attitude toward motherhood. In Christ we are forgiven for our sins against motherhood and his strength for the crises motherhood brings. A. His wondrous gift of motherhood B. His strength in a mother's crisis

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Text: 2 Kings 4:8-37

Theme: The Lord Blesses a Shunammite Woman and Mothers Today

A. His wondrous gift of motherhood

B. His strength in a mother's crisis

Season: Mother's Day

Date: May 9, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The sermon today is based on the account in 2 King 4:8-37.

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

A. His wondrous gift of motherhood

1. What's the background of this woman from Shunem?

She kept house in Shunem in northern Israel in the territory of Issachar. It certainly did not rank in fame with nearby Jezreel or Samaria, Jericho or Jerusalem. But she was happy there among her own people. Her husband owned fields. He made a good living. She had good home.

A holy man, a prophet, would often pass through town. This was a godless age. Generations ago many people from the north had given up going to the temple at Jerusalem to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. They worshiped instead at the golden calves at Bethel and Dan, which King Jeroboam had set up. More recently the wayward king, Ahab, and his wife Jezebel had introduced Baal worship with all its perversions. Imagine going to a prostitute and calling that worship! And although Ahab had been killed in battle, his evil legacy lingered.

But this prophet had walked in the footsteps of Elijah, that great holy man who had stood up to the prophets of Baal and had called down fire from heaven. This prophet had seen Elijah taken up to heaven in a whirlwind as the chariot of fire and horses of fire separated them. What could she do for him?

She could feed him, give him a good meal for the day as he passed through town. But then another idea as well came to here. "She said to her husband, 'I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let's make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us'" (2 Kings 4:9, 10 NIV). And that's what she did.

That prophet, whose name was Elisha, appreciated her generosity and thoughtfulness. How could he thank her? Was there any favor he could do for here? Could he speak to the king or the commander of the army on her behalf? No, she was content with her life in Shunem among her own people.

But then Gehazi, Elisha's servant, observes, "She has no son and her husband is old" (2 King 4:14 NIV). She had not known the joys of motherhood. That precious gift from God! Elisha says to Gehazi, "'Call her.' So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 'About this time next year,' Elisha said, 'you will hold a son in your arms'" (2 Kings 4:16 NIV)

It was so wonderful she dare not believe it. "'No, my Lord,' she objected. 'Don't mislead your servant, O man of God!'" (2 Kings 4:16 NIV). But a year later she had a son, just as God's prophet had said.

2. How have we treated God's gift of motherhood?

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