Lets take a look at a woman in the bible that many of you may not have heard of, i'd tell you her name but the bible doesn't give us that information, only calling her a Shunammite woman. We find her in 2nd Kings chapter 4.
Verses 8-11 And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither. And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there.
We are introduced to her here and find that she invited the prophet of God into her house whenever he passed by. In fact the bible says she CONSTRAINED him to eat. Now you might say "well if Elisha passed by my house i'd do the same" and perhaps you would but in verse 9 she perceives that he is a holy man, after she has already been kind to him. She then discusses it with her husband and they build a little room for him. We might wish all people would treat the man of God so kindly, but if that were so there would be no need for men of God. In Matthew 10:40-42 Jesus said; He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Which as we will see was a principle of the kingdom in effect long before Jesus said it.
2nd Kings 4:12 and 13; And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him. And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people. The prophet in trying to reward her attempts to do so in influence with the government which would carry many advantages. She would prove to be a "great" woman in more than worldly ways, for she declined the offer. The prophet then found a way to reward her that was more valuable than gold or fame.
2nd Kings 4:14-17 And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old. And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door. And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid. And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life. Now in this culture a son was more important than people now days could imagine. A son would inherit the fathers goods and land and for a woman to not have a son often meant destitution in her old age. In refusing a temporary blessing that would only last as long as the king did, she received a blessing that would last potentially until the end of this world. But as with many blessings a challenge came.
2nd Kings 4:18-23; And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well. When the child that God had miraculously given her grew up, he died. This woman would again prove to be a great woman, look at her response. She went to her husband and didn't mention that the child had died but rather said let me go to the man of God even saying "it shall be well". She knew where the child had come from and who (God) could restore him.
2nd Kings 4:24-26; Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee. So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well: When she gets near the man of God, he sends the servant out to see what the problem was and again she said "it is well". This woman wasn't going to settle for anything less than a face to face with the prophet. Now that Jesus has died for our sins we ought not settle for anything less than a face to face with the creator of the universe. Learning from His servants is all fine and well but if you never come to the point of a face to face relationship with God through Jesus, either the servant you are listening to doesn't get it or you don't get it. If the servant you are listening to doesn't get it or worse is teaching you that you cannot get it unless you go through him, look somewhere else. If you aren't getting it just hang in there and keep seeking.
Jesus said in Luke 11 :9-13; And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Back to this woman, she finally gets to the prophet and unloads. 2nd Kings 4: 27 and 28; And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? There is a time to just pour your heart out to God either in person or through His servant and i have yet to find a place where this kind of action was punished. In fact it is my opinion that the Lord prefers honesty, He already knows what is in your heart so you might as well talk it out with Him. Do you have any other relationships that are healthy and not built on honesty? Not if you are truthful about it. In the above example the servant tried to thrust her away and sadly that still is true. Too many of God's servants will try to thrust you away thinking they are protecting God. The prophet though recognizes that something is wrong and that the Lord had not told him about it. Perhaps the Lord hid it from the prophet so the woman could grow in her faith, just a thought. :)
2nd Kings 4: 29-37; Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child. And the mother of the child said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.
And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked. And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out. In these verses we see her tenacity pays big dividends. After some anxious moments the child is brought back from the dead and restored to his mother who was very grateful as we see.
Now that would be an amazing story and lesson if it ended right there but it doesn't, lets skip ahead a few chapters to 2nd Kings 8: 1-3; Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the Lord hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years. And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years. And it came to pass at the seven years' end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land. Some time after the episode above the prophet gives her inside information about a famine. Now to be fair he probably gave anyone who would listen the same information but she listened. When she returned however, evidently people had taken her land and house so she went to talk to the king about it. Remember that she had refused influence with the king in the first part of the story but......
2nd Kings 8: 4-6; And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done. And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life. And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.
Here we see the influence she refused before being given her at just the time she needed it and if you didn't notice the king made sure that she even got the produce from the years she was absent. Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34; Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Isn't it just like God to take care of those who trust in him. A lot of people would call this a coincidence and dismiss it. Read this in Matthew 16:1-4; The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
Not long after this Jesus did just that, gave them the sign of Jonas, spent 3 days and nights in the grave then arose and 40 days later departed. The amazing thing to me is these "men of God" KNEW all this. They saw the miracles, they heard the words He spoke like no other man ever before or since, they saw Him die and knew He had risen from the grave. They even bribed the guards to lie about it and YET could not accept the truth that was right in front of them. Is it possible that an evil and adulterous generation seeks signs because they cannot accept the ones that are all around them?
Well this was a short take that i just couldn't stop typing on so i guess it grew into a study. :) till next week may your faith and trust (is there a difference?) in our mighty God grow and grow and may the Lord bless and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace.