Summary: Sometimes circumstances seem to contradict the fact that God is watching over our lives and guiding its events for our good. How can you respond to the forces of doubt that gather to smother the flame of your faith? Learn from a lady who had 2 crises.
WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR FAITH HAS BEEN SHORTCHANGED
2 Kgs. 4:8-37
1. A district attorney in a rural court appeared before the judge with accusations against the prisoner. "Your Honor, I intend to show that this man is guilty of bigotry."
2. "Why do you say that?" the judge asked. "You see," answered this district attorney, "this man has three wives." 3. "Three wives!" scoffed the judge. "What kind of lawyer are you? Don't you realize that the terminology for having three wives is not ‘bigotry’? [Pause…] The correct term for three wives is trigonometry!"
8 One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. 9 She said to her husband, 10 “Let’s make a small room on the roof….then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.” 13 Elisha said, “You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you?....14 Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.” 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.” “No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!” 17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her. 18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father…19 He said… “My head! My head!” 20 …the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God. 27 When she reached the man of God…she took hold of his feet. 28 “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?” 29 Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run….Lay my staff on the boy’s face.” 31 …there was no sound or response. 33 [Elisha] went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he [Elisha] got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. 35 The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. 36 Elisha…said, “Take your son.” 37 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.
1. There are times when there seems to be a disconnect between our walk with God and the outcome of our prayers.
2. 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?
3. We’re going to look at a story from the O.T. in which a woman’s faith seems to be shortchanged and then examine how to respond to the forces of doubt.
4. The title of tonight’s message is, “When you feel like your faith has been shortchanged.”
I. A WOMAN’S DREAMS FULFILLED
A. A WOMAN’S KINDNESS
1. We have here the story of a woman who had long been unable to bear children, whom God gave healed and gave a son.
2. This miracle occurred as a result of her kindness to a preacher. (You can’t go wrong with that.) This woman lived on a road Elisha often traveled. She simply wanted to be a blessing to God’s servant.
3. She began inviting him to dinner, and then persuaded her husband to build a room for him on top of the house, with furniture.
B. ELISHA’S DESIRE TO THANK HER
1. Elisha wanted to reward her for her kindness. He offered his intercession in the king's court. She declined. Finally the promise of a child was made. She had received a prophet and gotten a prophet’s reward!
a. 3 men were standing in line at the HEB discussing coincidences. The 1st man said, "My wife was reading a "tale of two cities" and she gave birth to twins"
b. "That’s funny", the 2nd man remarked, "My wife was reading 'the three musketeers' and she gave birth to triplets"
c. The third man shouted, "Heaven help me! I’ve got to go!” “Why?” "When I left home, my wife was reading Ali baba & the 40 Thieves!”
3. We can be sure that this son, born in their old age, was very precious to his parents, so that when he died, it would've been a much more severe blow and loss to their lives.
4. This was a child of promise, a child of prayer, given in love, and yet taken away. Sometimes we receive a promise, but the promise is taken away. What do YOU do, then?