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A Prophet, a Promise, a Persuasive Woman 

April 2010 

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

God wants our faith in Him to grow.  He often puts our faith to the test to see what is in our hearts.  So He pulls us out of our comfort zone, brings a change to our lives, and teaches us to seek Him. He doesn’t leave us alone in this; He gives us examples from the Scriptures to encourage us.  Such is the anatomy of a miracle in 2 Kings 4. 

Elisha often passed by Shunem (two resting places), a city of Issachar.  A woman, great in every way, constrained him to receive her hospitality.  She perceived Elisha to be a holy man of God and persuaded her husband to build a room for him and his servant to use when in the area.  In this room were a bed (place of rest), a chair (place of sitting), a table (place of nourishment), and a lampstand (place of light).  She sought to do for the prophet and generously provided for him.  She was content in her service to God.   

This unconditional giving led to Elisha being prompted to ask his servant what needs the Shunammite might have met in reward for this care—maybe a good word to the king or to the captain of the host.  She seemed to be peacefully content with her circumstances.  She had settled for how life was going for her as she dwelt among her own people.  She determined to focus on all the blessings she had, a wealthy landowner husband, a comfortable home, servants, a husband who valued her and indulged her requests; she saw no need for any political favors or military protection at the moment.  

It was Gehazi who noted that she had no male heir and that her husband was old.  Jesus promised a prophet’s reward to those who helped a prophet of the Lord (Mt 10.40-42) and here we see it.Elisha called her and said that at a set time she would embrace a son.  What?  “Nay, my lord, man of God, do not lie unto your handmaid.” (2 Kings 4.16)  But the son arrived on schedule. 

The woman accepted the blessing.  God brought this change into her life. We aren’t told that she overcame reluctance for fear of disappointment, but we can imagine it.  Maybe we’ve been there. This fulfillment of a promised son answered a deep longing of the heart and removed the social stigma of barrenness.  Did this act broaden her vision of His grace, love, and ability? 

“It fell on a day.”  We see this phrase repeated.  The days of our lives are in the providence of God. So it fell on a day, when the child was grown, he was out with his father at the time of reaping when suddenly his head hurt and his father sent him to his mother.  He sat on her knees till noon, and then died, presumably of heat stroke.  What?  What about the promise of God now?

Interestingly, the woman does not send word to her husband or tell him herself that the boy is dead. She doesn’t prepare for his burial.  It seems more she prepares for his being restored to life!  She goes to the prophet’s chamber, lays him on the bed of the man of God, shuts the door, and leaves. Then she calls to her husband and asks for a donkey and a young man in order that she may run to the man of God and come back again.  Run!

Her husband gives a little query, and she says, “It shall be well.”  She is a woman of faith, one who continually worships God (2 Kings 4.23). He loves and trusts her, so off she goes.  No slacking, she says to the young man, head straight for Mount Carmel, some 15-20 miles away.  What is she thinking? 

Elisha sees her afar off and tells Gehazi to run to meet her and ask her if everything is okay.  “Is it well?”  “It is well,” she answers.  She isn’t talking about faith; she is living it.  In an act of humility she catches Elisha by the feet.  Gehazi would thrust her away, but Elisha says to leave her be; he perceives that her soul is vexed within her.  He seems mystified that this woman, for whom Elisha undoubtedly prayed, was in a crisis that God had kept hidden from him. (4.27) 

Now it comes out.  There’s those true feelings being presented.  “Did I desire a son of my lord? Did I not say, Do not deceive me?” (4.28)  So Elisha tells Gehazi to take his staff and waste no time getting to the child, to lay his staff upon the face of the child.  Persistent and accepting no less than the prophet himself,  the woman hangs in there until Elisha rises up and follows her home.

Gehazi gets there first and in obedience lays the staff upon the face of the child; but there is neither voice, nor hearing.  The staff in Scripture is an instrument of power.  This initial act of faith set results into motion, but not until the prophet arrived in person to raise the child from the dead would the time of faith end.  It was, as it can be, a miracle by degrees. 

Elisha went into the chamber alone and prayed to the Covenant Lord.  Did he sense that God wanted to raise this boy from the dead?  Did he make his appeal based on the pattern shown by his mentor Elijah (1 Kings 17.20-23)?  He definitely got instructions and obeyed themHis expectation is that as he obeys in faith believing, God will move in power.

Elisha lay upon the child, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands, stretching himself upon the child.  This warmed the child.  He walked in the house to and fro and went up into the room again and again stretched himself upon the child.  Elisha does not shrink back because of any ceremonial uncleanness, but recognizes that God’s laws set the boundaries of life and death, and God can do as He pleases.  And then the child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.  There was an identification of Elisha with the child followed by evidence of life. 

The prophet identified with the boy in his death so that the boy could share in the prophet’s life. Jesus identifies with humanity in death that through His death, His life and resurrection power reaches all whom He saves.  Likewise, we must identify with Christ on the Cross as He died to pay the penalty for sin in order that the eternal life He gives might be ours.  Elisha, like Elijah before him, rightly begged God to raise the dead; Jesus, however, commanded the dead to be raised.  Jesus is Lord over devils, disease, and death.  In Him is life; there is no other way.

Elisha called this great woman of Shunem to come in and take up her son.  As she did, she fell at Elisha’s feet and bowed herself to the ground, in humble gratitude and awe.  We are not told if she said anything, only that she “took up her son, and went out.”  Life went on.

Some time after this event, Elisha warns the woman of a seven year famine coming.  The woman moves her household to the land of the Philistines and after the seven years, returns.  No mention is made of her husband.  She went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land right at the time Gehazi was in with the king talking about restoring her son to life.  Here she is!  It took a lot to trust and obey, and now a persistent woman is back, before the king.  God remembered her; for the king appointed unto her a certain officer to see to it that all was restored to her, everything.  It almost seems as if Elisha had known that one day she would need favor with the king and a military man in the ongoing process of providing for her needs, just as she had in kindness provided for his.  God rewarded this woman’s faith, trust, and obedience during difficult years.  God is faithful to take care of His people; and He also will be faithful to take care of you.

Though this is a testimony of faith and the outworking of a miracle, our focus needs to be weighted to the promise of God.  It is because the God who is sovereign over life and death makes promises that it is possible for us to triumph when we place our faith and confidence in Him.  Are you preparing for your burial or for your resurrection?

I trust we are all of us already aware that the man who lives
In the region of faith dwells in the realm of miracles.
Charles Spurgeon

At Craighouse® we are actively ministering to those seeking healing, deliverance, help, and hope.  For the current schedule, go to www.craighouse.org.  If you’re in our area, join us!  

We thank you for giving.  You are touching lives through your gifts to Mary Craig Ministries; and we pray God’s richest blessings upon you.  Please give generously, gladly, graciously, and as the Holy Spirit guides.

Serving the Lord of Glory,

Mary Craig

P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org. Order books from our Catalog section using PayPal. Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Reach MCM at 954-491-7270. Send in your prayer requests.

But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves,
but in God who raises the dead; Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver;
in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us. 2 Corinthians 1.9, 10


The MCM Galilee-Israel-Jerusalem Mission
March 1-10, 2010
Rev. Jim Craig, Kroy Ellis, Wanda Barlow
Betty & David Patten

Pastor Jim-Mt. Arbel 

Pastor Jim-Mt. Arbel 

David Patten-Mt. Arbel
David Patten-Mt. Arbel

Betty Patten-Tel Dan

Betty Patten-Tel Dan

Wanda Barlow-Megiddo . . . Lorraina (new convert), Sara & Kroy Ellis
Wanda Barlow-Megiddo
..............................Lorraina (new convert), Sara & Kroy Ellis

Pastor Jim & Kroy praying for a pastor from India
Pastor Jim & Kroy praying for a pastor from India

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee

Go to www.marycraig.org Missions for more on MCM World Missions

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