Summary: Last week we looked at Elijah resurrecting the widow's son. God did a miraculous work through his prophet to bring about a faith response from the widow. Today, we'll look at how God used Elijah's successor, Elisha, to accomplish another resurrection.
THE RESURRECTIONS BEFORE THE RESURRECTION (part two)
2nd Kings 4:8-37
INTRODUCTION: In continuing the series on the resurrections that took place before Jesus' resurrection, last week we looked Elijah and the widow's son. God did a miraculous work through his prophet to bring about a faith response from the widow. Today, we'll look at how God used Elijah's successor, Elisha, to accomplish another resurrection.
1) A blessing for the one who was a blessing (8-17).
"One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. 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.”
"Well to do woman". KJV-great woman. Adam Clarke's commentary: "She is said to have been the sister of Abishag, the Shunammite, well known in the history of David. Instead of great woman, the Chaldee [Hebrew dictionary] has, a woman fearing sin; the Arabic, a woman eminent for piety before God. This made her truly great." So this woman was someone who had a heart for God and wanted to serve the servant of God.
"One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’ ” She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”
By mentioning the king Elisha is making it clear that he could get her whatever she wanted; even relocating and enjoy the luxury of living in the king's palace or surrounding area. Her response is a humble one. She basically says, "I'm content where I am. It might be fancier there but what matters more to me is being with my people".
Her response is also a selfless one. It shows that her motive in helping the man of God was not to get something from him in return. We don't see her respond to Elisha saying, "Well, it's about time!" And then she pulls out her payback list. She was content; content with where she was, with what she had and content with being a help to God's prophet. Well, she may have been content but Elisha was not content with her answer.
“What can be done for her?” Elisha asked. Gehazi said, “Well, she has no son and her husband is old.”
Gehazi recognizes a concern; she has no son to care for her after her husband is gone. She may have been financially well off but was in poverty when it came to the more important treasure-having children.
As she looked around at the other families I can only imagine the sorrow in her own heart over being a barren woman. It would be common for a woman in this position to think she was cursed by God and therefore have some animosity toward God for allowing this.
But even though she didn't have the one thing she had probably wanted most of all she considered herself blessed; she was grateful for what she did have. And although she wasn't blessed with a child she still wanted to be a blessing to others.
How about us? If we don't have something we really want do we still consider ourselves to be blessed? Are we still willing to serve God if he hasn't blessed us with something we've longed for? Do you ever feel like God has blessed others more than you? Is there something legitimate and reasonable, like a child, a spouse or a job you've been asking God for and you're wondering why he hasn't blessed you with it?
Perhaps that has caused you to feel some kind of way toward God. We need to develop the attitude of this woman so that we can still have a heart for God even if we haven't received the blessings we've been wanting to.
"Then Elisha said, “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.” “No, my lord,” she objected. “Don’t mislead your servant, O man of God!”
When she was prompted by Elisha to request what could be done for her it may not have crossed her mind to ask for a child. Even if she had I'm sure she felt such a request would be preposterous. Do we feel that way? Do we have certain things that we don't ask God for because they seem too impossible?