Summary: The older I get, the more often I wonder what kind of mark I’ve made on the world. In this study we see a women, though nameless, the Bible says she was great!
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- The united kingdom (Saul, David, Solomon) has
divided (931 BC)
- 10 Northern Tribes (Dan, Benjamin, Reuben, Gad,
Ephraim, Issachar, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, both
1/2 tribes of Manesseh) follow Jeroboam (as prophet
Ahijah said) Southern Tribe of Judah (Simeon by now
been consumed) followed Rehoboam
- Our Text takes place around 850 BC - Jehoram (son
of Ahab & Jezebel) is the Northern king (not to be
confused with the Southern King of 2 K 8:16-17, son
of Jehoshaphat (jih-haush-uh-fat) who reigns Judah
about the same time). He was judged less harshly
in the Bible than his parents because he “put away
the pillar of Baal which his father had made“ (2
- Elisha was God’s prophet to the Northern kingdom.
He was the son of a farmer, Shaphat, an understudy
of Elijah who found him behind oxen and plow (the
12th, 11 of which he was directing). At Elijah’s
ascension into heaven, Elisha picked up the mantle
he had been anointed with, tore his own, used it to
part the Jordan, and began his prophecy.
Introduction: The older I get, the more often I wonder what kind of mark I’ve made on the world. When I’m dead and gone, will it have made any difference that I’ve lived on this earth? We are going to study a women, who is nameless - we’ll have to wait ‘till we get to heaven to find it out, but notice what our text says about her (vs. 8) - She was great! Talk about leaving your mark! In God’s divine word, which will endure eternity, this un-named women is characterized as great.
What She Wasn’t: It’s impressive to me to note the things she wasn’t.
- Apparently she isn’t from royal blood
- Nothing indicates that she has great rank, or
wealth, or high social status
- She apparently wasn’t endowed with great
knowledge, or skill
- She wasn’t strikingly beautiful such as Sarah, or
Bathsheba, or Esther
- She didn’t save her people as did Esther, nor lead
her people to God, as did the Samaritan women by
- She wasn’t a great leader or judge, like Deborah
she didn’t even have a child who became great,
like Hannah, or Jochebed
So why study about her? We can imitate the same reasons for greatness that characterized her existence.
The Story Begins: (vs. 8)
Elisha is traveling through a little town called Shunem. This was his job, he was a “traveling preacher,” going from town-to-town, proclaiming God’s will. We have them today (guest speakers).
This women, for whatever the reason, was willing to “keep the preacher.”
Point #1 to Greatness - Her Spirit of Service (vs. 9-10)
It’s a curious thing to me, the text doesn’t give us her name, but takes time to identify the specific items of furniture in the room (list in vs. 10)
This is the first reason for her greatness - it was her service!
What she did didn’t make front page of the Shunem Gazette. Frankly, I doubt if anyone in town even knew about it, or took notice. Who noticed this women’s spirit of service? God did!
I think we often struggle today with service because we think it has to be some great act. If it’s not some great, newsworthy deed (saving a life or something) it’s not worth the effort. What kind of service is God looking for out of us? Matt. 25:22-40 (turn & read). If a neighbor is sick and needs a hot meal, you don’t have to tell anyone, just take them one. If we know a poor family and the kids need shoes, or a winter coat, just get one. If we know someone going through tough times, be there for them.
Point #2 to Greatness - Her Contentment (vs. 11-13)
Think about this text, here we have Elisha, he’s been staying in this little room prepared by this “common” family, he’s appreciative, and says to her, “look, I’ve got a little pull, I know the king, I know the army commander, I owe you a favor, just tell me, give me the word and I’ll get it done for you.” By the way what would you do? Some might ask for a better job, perhaps a government job; some might want to be on the kings payroll, or the kings staff; some might try to get some sort of government assistance, a medical card.
Look again at her response (vs. 13). I want you to understand it, it’s easy to miss the point - she’s saying, I appreciate your offer, but I’ve got a home, my basic needs are provided for, I don’t really need anything.
Was she rich? Was she living “high on the hog?” Could she have bettered herself? Why didn’t she? She was Content!