Old Testament is said to be the shadow of the New Testament, filled with characters resembling us. I was inspired to write about the Shunammite lady, a spectacular personality mentioned in the book of II kings. She was a respected lady as per the Bible. I would like to write with respect to the four stages in her life where she is portrayed beautifully, as a woman of character, strength and being favored by God.
I) The barren stage (II Kings 4:8 -16)
The introduction about the Shunammite lady in the Bible is as follows 2 Kings 4:8 (KJV)
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.
In the above passage the Shunammite lady, is mentioned as a great lady, who provided bread to the prophet during his travel. We can see her as a warm and welcoming hostess who cared about the needs of others. As a further step we can see her asking her husband to make a room for the prophet so that he can rest whenever he travels to Shunem, perceiving that he is a man of God. Only a person who respects God can respect a man of God. She was definitely a God-fearing lady. But in the midst of all this hospitality, the man of God couldn’t recognize the lack in her life. What a pleasant personality! The man of God was pleased by her care. He asked her “in return to all you have done for me, should I mention some of your needs to the King? Or do you have any other needs”. Then Gehazi his servant said that she has no child. She is barren. There the prophet blessed her and she bore a child.
Are we able to smile in the midst of our barren or empty situations? Are we able to care for others while we are in the midst of rough circumstances? I was having a difficult situation in my life and I used to pity myself, I used to withdraw myself from anything cheerful .It took a lot of prayer and trust in the Lord for me to overcome that. This particular word by Joyce Meyer about self-pitying is worth sharing “you have every reason to do it but you don’t have the right for it, because God changed your situations.” If you are in a barren situation, and if you are sulked into it, not being aware of what God can do to change your present, then remember, nothing is too hard for him, he can open the doors of blessings from ways you have never imagined.
Only a person who has confidence in God can smile in the middle of pain. Change your attitude, trust in God. He can do miracles beyond your understanding.
2) The death of her only son (II Kings 4:18-35)
As we know from the passage, the Shunammite lady’s only child is dead. The first thing she did after the death of her child was to go into the room of Elisha and lay the child on his bed, closed the door behind, saddled her ass and went to Carmel to meet the man of God. If you read this passage it’s very touching. She is not telling anybody about the child’s death, neither her husband nor servants. Here we can see she is not ready to accept her situation and she doesn’t want the opinion from the people around. If we start listening to the world for the solution of our problems, we will become more desperate and hopeless. But the Shunammite lady went to Carmel, the place of prayer. So let’s have the trust in God to kneel down in prayer in the middle of the hardest of our trials.
She knew her child was a blessing given to her from the man of God. She goes there and pours her heart out. The man of God sends his servant along with her but she was not ready to leave until Elisha went with her. Then Elisha goes with her and prays to God and the miracle happens: restoration of life to the dead.
II Kings 4:30 (KJV) “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.”
Yes, an unceasing request till the answer is obtained. Let us pray without ceasing, till we obtain the answer of our prayer. In the matter of prayer let’s not compile with what the world has to say.
3) Famine (II Kings 8:1)
2 Kings 8:1 “Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the LORD has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years”.
During the period of Elisha was this great drought that lasted for seven years. But God revealed the same to the Shunammite lady through Elisha so that she and her family could survive the famine. How amazing is Gods protection and provision to those who are righteous. If God has a plan for you and me then he will not allow us to perish in the midst of famine. He will reveal us the famine in advance so that we can watch out in prayer.
4) Crying for inheritance. (II Kings 8:2-6)
After the famine the Shunammite lady and her son returned from Philistine. Seven years was a very long time. She lost all her inheritance. So she went to the King to plead for her house and land. It happened such that she visited the King, while the servant of Elisha was explaining to the King all the great things that Elisha has done. While they were talking about how he had restored the dead to life, Gehazi the servant of Elisha recognized, the Shunammite lady, who came to cry for the inheritance and said, this is the lady whose son was raised from dead.
We can see the perfect co-ordination of two events. There the King asked the Shunammite lady to explain the incident. She explained it and there the name of God was exalted through her. She went there to cry for her inheritance but Gods plan for her was to say her testimony to the King. Also it is seen that she didn’t have to try hard to explain the king regarding her possession. The King ordered “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.” When we stand for God, and be obedient we can see his favor in all aspects of our life. Our God won’t allow our inheritance to be in the hands of the enemy.
In all the stages of the life of the Shunammite lady we can see the Hand of God working miracles, many of which are impossible in human eyes. If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; Psalm 37:23. In whatever circumstances God has made us to be, let’s be with a deep trust in God, let’s seek his face and be with a steadfast hope that leaps beyond our uncertainties.
(Thank you Rani for this opportunity to write in your blog)
In Christ Jesus