Lesson 42: Elisha & the Shunammite's Son
... Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. ... as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, "... I know that this is a holy man of God... Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; ..."
Then [Elisha] said, "About this time next year you shall embrace a son."...
... the woman conceived, and bore a son ...
... one day ... [the child] went out to his father, to the reapers. And he said to his father, "My head, my head!"
So he said to a servant, "Carry him to his mother." 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, shut the door upon him, and went out. Then she called to her husband, and said, "Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back."
... [Elisha] said to Gehazi,"... lay my staff on the face of the child."
... Gehazi ... laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing....
When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD. 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. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. (2 Kings 4:8-10,16-22,29,31-35, NKJV)
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Rom 11:29, NKJV)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17, NKJV)
... the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:3-5, NIV)
Elisha found a generous benefactor in a woman from Shunem, who provided him with food and a place to stay on his travels. As a reward for her generosity, the Lord gave her a son, according to the prophetic words of Elisha.
Years later, the child suddenly became sick and died, and his mother sought out the Elisha for his healing. Obviously, both Elisha, and the Shunammite woman knew that the child was an irrevocable gift from the Lord, as a reward for the woman's generosity. So Elisha sent his servant, Gehazi, to run ahead of the two of them, lay Elisha's staff on the face of the child, and secure the child's healing. However, the child life was not restored.
When Elisha entered the room where the deceased boy was, he began vigorously interceding on behalf of the child. In fact, he prayed and laid on the child at least twice before the child opened his eyes and was restored to his mother. Elisha absolutely refused to be denied the miracle he was convinced the Lord was going to provide as a vindication of His love and holiness.
So what can we learn about faith from Elisha, Shunammite woman, and Gehazi? First, true faith is absolutely convinced of the Lord's love, holiness, and unchangeability. Second, as Gehazi demonstrated, the powerful faith another will not provide for one's own lack of faith. Third, true faith is tenacious, and refuses to be denied anything that is in line with the Word and Character of God, even when circumstances appear to deny the Lord's benevolence. Fourth, the Lord rewards persistent and tenacious expressions of profound faith.
In the next lesson, we will continue examining the faith of Elisha.
May the Lord richly bless you and keep you always,
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