Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Some Devotional Thought on II Kings 4

This was in my reading this morning. It was quite interesting for me to read about the different miracles that Elisha performed. So many of them remind me of some of the miracles we see Christ doing in the gospels.

I was most intrigued by verses 8-37. It spoke of the woman who was kind to Elisha. She had no son, and she was granted a son although her husband was old. Then the child died. Then God used Elisha to bring her child back to life.

I think what really was amazing was the woman's response. God gave her a wonderful gift. She had been barren with no thought whatsoever of having a child. I don't really know how it feels to be barren. I was married 9 years before getting pregnant--no birth control. I discovered later that my then husband was infertile, and my wonderful daughter was an absolute miracle. I used to think perhaps I was the reason. It was very hard to be surrounded by young mothers who had little ones, and I had none. But my marriage was so horrible that, well, it was all right. I worked hard and kept late hours. I'm sure that this woman did similar things. She was one hard worker. She even had a special room set aside for Elisha when he would come to visit.

Then Elisha said she would have a baby. Oh, I remember the times that I was almost certain I was pregnant. And then I had the proof I wasn't. I didn't want to hold out hope. I set aside the dreams of having children. And I remember being on a missions trip in Yemen, and the women were shocked I didn't have children. They said they would pray that I would. Oh, it was hard to hear that. I wanted to have a child--several children. What was wrong with me? I never realized the problem could have been with my then husband.

Then the woman had a son. Oh, the joy! I can imagine what it would have been like. I remember the joy when my daughter was born. I didn't find out until she was born what sex she was. I didn't want to know. I had convinced myself I was having a boy so I wouldn't be disappointed. I will never forget my supreme joy when I was told I had a girl! That is what I really wanted but wouldn't let myself believe!!

The next part of the story I cannot relate to. I can only imagine. Some of you reading this can relate to her. Her son died. Quite suddenly. But her response is amazing.

"She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out."

She didn't yell out at God nor at Elisha. She didn't scream about how unfair life is. And then she went to see the prophet.

I know what I would have told the prophet. "You said I'd have a son, and now you've taken him away!! What did I ever do to you? Tell Your God that He is unfair! It's not worth it to serve Him. Don't ever darken my door again!"

Now, I would have repented later, but I am quite sure I would have said something like those words. But what does she say?

"Everything is all right,"
"Did I ask you for a son, my lord?" she said. "Didn't I tell you, 'Don't raise my hopes'?

Those are the only words that the Bible records her as saying. She did cry out in sorrow, but she does not accuse Elisha. And she doesn't even ask for Elisha to bring him back to life.

I guess I might have asked Elisha if he could bring my child back. Or maybe in that position, I wouldn't have thought about it. I don't know.

So, what's the application? Well, I think it goes back to our response. Maybe we have been praying--even praying according to God's will. I can't help but imagine that this woman at some point in her life prayed for a son. It was a disgrace for a woman to not have any child--especially a son. She would appear to be a woman of God. She feared the Lord. She appears to be a good woman, a good wife, a good housekeeper, a good servant of the prophet of God. So why is it that the thing nearest to her heart does not happen? And then when it does happen, this most precious thing to her heart is ripped from her. How would you respond? In anger? In bitterness? Would you question God's authority?

I have something very near and dear to my heart. My best friend in England is not saved, and yet he is the most influential person in my life. I love him more than anything else in this world. He has been there through thick and thin. I have been praying for his salvation. I have been praying that will happen, and that we will get married. He is so close and yet so far.

Let's see. I'm a Christian. I serve the Lord. I'm not a perfect mom, but my daughter is a star in her class. (And I'm really not making it up--she's no angel at home!) I moved back home to help my mom take care of my dad. I try to read and pray as much as I can each day. I serve the Lord faithfully in the church. I revere the Lord. So why has my dream not come true? And why when it almost did last year was it ripped from me? And why has it still not been given to me?

But those are not the questions I focus on. I pray that my response will be as this woman. Lord God, I am not perfect. Sometimes I have questioned Your goodness. I can remember times, Lord, when I actually thought you were punishing me and withholding "good" things from me. Lord God, I pray that I shall never walk that path again. My my faith be quiet and strong like this woman. Amen.


  1. Thank you for that sharing and testimony Ruth. It was much needed.

  2. Here is an excerpt from one of the pastors I follow, he encourages you to prepare for a miracle in regard to your friend. It is in God's will that your friend be saved.:
    2 Kings 4:18–21
    "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."

    The woman wasn’t preparing a burial. She was preparing for a miracle. Hebrews 11:35 tells us there were women in the Old Testament who, by faith, saw their dead raised again to life. This Shunammite woman is one of two women who saw their sons rise from the dead. The other was the widow in 1 Kings 17. No doubt this woman had heard about that incident. With the same spirit on Elisha that was upon Elijah, she expected a miracle. So she laid her son’s body in Elisha’s chamber.

    Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary : Volume One : Genesis-Job. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2005, S. 1035

  3. What an interesting point! That's true. She was not preparing her son to be buried! I hadn't thought about it that way. Thanks for sharing!!