The Shunammite – part II

Okay, sorry I missed you on yesterday. I woke later than I normally do in order to write. Plus, I had to go to work. No reporting time today; therefore, we will address The Shunammite – part II. In The Shunammite – part I, we saw Elisha, the prophet, the man of God, promise the Shunamite who had longed to have children a child within the next year. She had hoped for a child, but the child never came. We can understand her statement “No, my lord,” she objected. “Don’t mislead your servant, O man of God!” (NIV1984) or “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!”

If you read the text (2 Kings 4), you know that the Shunammite had a son a year later. I am sure that she was elated and pleased that God had fulfilled her longings. Imagine, you finally got something that you have intensely desired for some time. The joy and pleasure of having a longing fulfill consumes your heart and mind. You are constantly reminded day by day that your longing to be fulfilled. Undoubtedly, your confidence in God is strong. You feel really good about God and His faithfulness. The sun is shining and everything is great. As we all know, the sun does not always shine. Life is filled with rain. It rains and we are not pleased. Listen to what Solomon said “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

The rain comes in The Shunammite – part II. Once more, 2 Kings 4 is the pivot text. It shows both the longing fulfilled and a hope deferred. When the Shunammite bore her son, her longing was fulfilled. On the contrary, when he died, her heart was sick because her hope was deferred. For her, God chose to revive her son. Elisha was used to bring him back to life. While that is not the norm, the whole point is that God should always be the focus of our trust. We should depend on him. Listen to what the Shunammite told Elisha when her son was ill. “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?” It is normal for us to respond like that, but that’s God’s whole point. He does not want us to be normal or carnal. He wants us to be spiritual.

Romans 8 tells us

“5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodiesthrough his Spirit, who lives in you.

12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

Out of our obligation to God, we are to live by the Spirit who always trusts in the Father. Elisha demonstrated that when he faced a dead child. He and Gehazi prayed for God to raise the boy to life. God heard and responded. We must do likewise if we are to have hope not deferred. 1 John 3:2-3 says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”  While we can hope that our circumstances can change, the purest hope is that we will, after trusting in Christ, will be made like Him – one in spirit with God.

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