- Rev. Joseph A. Bias
Elisha and the Shunammite Woman — Part 2
“Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! Please run now to meet her, and say to her, “Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ” And she answered, “It is well.’ ” 2 Kings 4:24-26
So, the woman left her home and rode out in haste to find the man of God. When she found him she fell down and caught him by his feet. Gehazi, his servant, tried to push her away but Elisha said “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me, and has not told me.”
Elisha tries to console her but she is in no mood to be placated. She reminds the man of God that even when he told her she would have a son, years earlier, that she did not want mere flattering words, but she insisted that he be sure he meant what he was promising. Now this son of promise was dead. Was this what was intended for her son? Surely not! The promises of God are never intended to tempt us or set us up for disappointment. That is a tactic of the devil. He can never fulfill his false promises and yet he traffics continually in lies and deceptions. The Word of God is truth.
So, she recounts what has happened with her son and that he lies dead in the room where the man of God and his servant live when they come to stay with them.
Now it is not clear why Elisha, after all this, still didn’t seem to read the situation fully. He tells his servant to take his staff and make hast to go to the woman’s house and lay his staff on the child’s head. But the woman would not be satisfied with that. She insists that she will not leave Elisha’s presence. He was the one who made the promise, therefore he is the one to restore her son’s life.
So Elisha and the woman set out to go to her house. Gehazi ran on ahead and placed the staff on the child’s head, but there was no response from him. When Elisha arrives at the house he found the child was indeed dead. So he came into in the room and shut the door behind him and the child alone.
“And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm.” 2Kings 4:34
That the child’s body became warm indicated to Elisha that life was being restored to him, but he was not yet conscious. So Elisha got up and walked back and forth in the room. Most likely he was praying as he walked and interceding for the child to revive. And again he stretched his body out on the child and the child sneezed seven times, and then opened his eyes.
Sneezing is a means by which the body expels particles and toxins particularly from the head and lungs. Sneezing is also and indication of life and the body functioning to rid itself of foreign particles and irritants. The spiritual indication of the boy sneezing seven times is two fold. First sin is foreign to life and must be expelled from our lives. Sin brings death but Jesus has come to expel death far from us. Second, seven is a number of completion, purity and holiness. Sneezing seven times would indicate that the boy had thrown off all sickness that kept hum bound in death. Once or twice would not have completely rid the body of the cause for the boys death, but by sneezing seven times he completely freed his body of the obstruction that lead to his death.
So Elisha called for the child’s mother to come to the room and take her son back to his place in the house. Hearing that her child was now alive again and well, she went in, fell at Elisha feet, and bowed to the ground, a posture of deep gratitude and worship; then she picked up her son and went out. [2Kings 4:37]
For the Shunammite woman Elisha was the direct representative of God, a true prophet who demonstrated not only God’s power, but also his love and compassion. Like Elijah, Elisha was accountable only to God in all that he did and said. He did not handle his words casually or capriciously. He sought the voice and the will of God constantly so that when He spoke in faith he was confident in God that what He said on His behalf would come to pass just as he said it.
The ministry and works of Elijah and Elisha reminds us of how profoundly God will use those who serve Him to accomplish mighty things in the world and bring glory to His name. And God is no respecter of persons according to their wealth or poverty. The wife of the son of the prophets with nothing but a jar of oil between her and destitution and the wealthy Shunnamite woman were equal in the eyes of God and His grace and favor was ministered to both of them in Heavenly measure.
Meeting our needs God always uses the measure of things in Heaven which far exceed the limits of things in this world. Commonplace acts in Heaven are miracles here on the earth. Knowing that should not overwhelming out faith but encourage it at all times that God is willing to bring His Heavenly measure of grace, compassion, love and blessing to meet every human need, regardless of our station in life. All that matters is our faith.
If we believe His Word we will seal it in our hearts and let it come forth from our mouths as rivers of living water. Whatever our needs, whenever we need them, wherever we need them to come to us, God is here to meet all of them, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Is anything to hard for God? NO! Will he withhold any good thing from those who love Him! NO! Does He hear us when we pray for anything according to His will. YES! Will He grant our petitions? YES! Will He ever leave us or forsake us? NO! Will he ever abandon us in times of trouble or at any time? NO!
From time to time in this life we are all subject to good times and bad, times of plenty and times of want, times of sorrow and times of joy, times of gladness and times of disappointment. But in all these and in these uncertain times we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, a Healer in Jesus Christ the Savior, a Comforter and a Teacher in The Holy Spirit.
Nothing is impossible with God, so we do not give up on our prayers, on our hopes nor our dreams. We hold fast to the One who has promised us and we wait patiently for Him.
“Let ushold fastthe confession ofourhope without wavering, for He who promisedisfaithful.”Hebrews 10:23