The Bible tells an interesting story about a Shunammite woman in 2nd Kings, chapter 4. It tells the story of how she recognized the fact that Elisha, the prophet was a Holy man.
“One day Elisha was traveling through Shunem, where a rich woman lived. She had invited him to eat with her. So whenever he was in the area, he stopped in to eat. She told her husband, “I know he’s a holy man of God. And he regularly travels past our house. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put a bed, table, chair, and lampstand there for him. He can stay there whenever he comes to visit us.” -2Ki 4:8-10 GWT
From reading this story, we can see that this Shunammite woman had a kind spirit. She desired to do something nice for this man that she perceived to be a ‘Holy Man’. The way that the Bible tells the story gives us the impression that Elijah would occasionally stop by, eat, have a brief social interaction, and enjoy her hospitality. But because of the kindness of her heart, extending basic hospitality was simply not enough. She convinced her husband actually to build a small room/apartment just for him. The Shunammite woman instinctively knew that it was wise to go the extra mile and make a provision for the man of God.
The Bible does not tell us of her motives. We don’t know if she was hospitable to the man of God simply out of a kind heart or if she desired to constrain the presence of God in her home. We can only surmise that it was out of the general kindness of her heart. When Elisha wanted to do something nice for her in return, she answered in a very interesting manner.
“Elisha said to Gehazi, “Ask her what we can do for her, since she has gone to a lot of trouble for us. Maybe she would like us to speak to the king or the commander of the army for her.” She answered, “I’m already living among my own people.” – 2Ki 4:13 GWT
She said that she was already living among her people. She did not express any needs or desires. She did not ask him to pray for her or her family. She did not cry out that she needed to hear from God. Rather, she expressed, in so many words, that she was doing just fine.
Sometimes, we don’t even know the extent of our own needs. Sometimes, the Lord sends us Godly people and situations in our lives to help us even when we don’t think that we need anything. The Bible also tells us to be kind to strangers seeing as we never know with whom we are dealing.
“Don’t forget to show hospitality to believers you don’t know. By doing this some believers have shown hospitality to angels without being aware of it.” – Heb 13:2 GWT
These people and even angels are sometimes sent to help us even when we think we don’t need it. The Shunammite woman’s attitude was that her needs were already met and life was good. However, upon closer inspection, it would appear that there was still a profound void in her life.
“What should we do for her?” Elisha asked. Gehazi answered, “Well, she has no son, and her husband is old.” Elisha said, “Call her.” So Gehazi called her, and she stood in the doorway. Elisha said, “At this time next spring, you will hold a baby boy in your arms.” She answered, “Don’t say that, sir. Don’t lie to me. You’re a man of God.” – 2Ki 4:14-16 GWT
Even though she and her husband were prosperous enough to afford to build a small apartment as an act of kindness, there was still the void in her life stemming from the lack of children. We can observe that this was still a grievous wound and a hurt in her life. When Elisha prophesied to her and said that she would have a son, her response was “Don’t lie to me.” People don’t respond in that manner unless it is something that is truly a heart’s desire and they are afraid of the possibility that it would not come to pass. Sometimes, people can have wounds that are very deep, but they have learned to cover them up and ignore them. Surviving a hurt does not mean that they have healed from that hurt. Nor does being successful in life by men’s standards mean that their wounds have healed. Clearly, there was still pain from the lack of having children. But this Shunnamite woman was a survivor! She had learned to ignore the pain that was still in her spirit.
God knows our pain. He knows our hearts and our hurts. He sometimes sends people and angels to minister to us even when we are unaware. These Godly visitors are sent to bless us. The problem is that we don’t always immediately recognize them for who they really are.
The Bible does not say that God spoke to Elisha and told him to bless this woman. Elisha, the Prophet of God, a Holy Man spoke the words of blessing to her out of the authority of his relationship with God. He spoke those words to her to soothe the wound that was deep in her spirit. He spoke words that brought forth life into her spirit and body.
“But the woman became pregnant and had a son at that time next year, as Elisha had told her.” – 2 Ki 4:14-17 GW
As we look at this story, we can see that it was the kindness of the Shunamite woman towards the man of God and the things of God that initiated this series of events. Had she not given, had she not been kind, had she not made a provision for the man of God or the things of God, she would not have received the blessing of a child.
God sets us up to succeed. He gives us all kinds of opportunities to do the right thing by His people and His church. He sends people and situations across our paths. If we are wise, we will take advantage of those opportunities to be a blessing. In return, the Lord gives us rewards and blessings both tangible and intangible.
In this money and time driven society, it is easy to overlook the myriad of God’s blessings that come to heal, restore and bring joy. It is easy to overlook opportunities to perform simple acts of kindness and blessing. It is easy to delay an opportunity to bless someone to another day when our schedules are so overcrowded.
Let us be a people that are appreciative of all of God’s blessings. Let us be a people that recognize opportunities to bless and sow seeds of kindness. Let us be a people that know how to speak words of life and healing to people with wounded spirits, minds and bodies. And when the Lord rewards us for our acts of love, let us be a people that are wise enough to recognize the Hand of God on our behalf.
Let us be wise enough to recognize the rewards from God that money cannot buy.
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Doors & Chambers Book and Training Manuals
An Apostolic and Prophetic View of God’s Process for Personal Growth and Ministry
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
According to the Scripture, Romans 8:28 says- “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” The questions is, how do all these things work out to our benefit? God is a “God that declares “The End” from “The Beginning”. However, we must understand that He is also a God of process. There is a process that takes from the beginning unto the end.
By Dr. Ric Steele
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