Women in the Bible

Women in the Old Testament - The Shunammite woman

This devotional is written by Maddie Bowe. Maddie is one of our worship leader's at St Mary's and a singer/songwriter. She can usually be found with her nose stuck in a book, or singing Disney songs at the top of her lungs.. or both so she feels like she may actually be Belle in real life.

2 Kings 4:8-36

The Shunammite's son restored to life

8 One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he passed by, he stopped there to eat. 9 She said to her husband, 'I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let's make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.'

11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, 'Call the Shunammite.' So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, 'Tell her, "You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?"'

She replied, 'I have a home among my own people.'

14 'What can be done for her?' Elisha asked.

Gehazi said, 'She has no son, and her husband is old.'

15 Then Elisha said, 'Call her.' So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 'About this time next year,' Elisha said, 'you will hold a son in your arms.'

'No, my lord!' she objected. 'Please, man of God, don't mislead your servant!'

17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. 19 He said to his father, 'My head! My head!'

His father told a servant, 'Carry him to his mother.' 20 After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.

22 She called her husband and said, 'Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.'

23 'Why go to him today?' he asked. 'It's not the New Moon or the Sabbath.'

'That's all right,' she said.

24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, 'Lead on; don't slow down for me unless I tell you.' 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, 'Look! There's the Shunammite! 26 Run to meet her and ask her, "Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?"'

'Everything is all right,' she said.

27 When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, 'Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.'

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

29 Elisha said to Gehazi, 'Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don't greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy's face.'

30 But the child's mother said, 'As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.' So he got up and followed her.

31 Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy's face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, 'The boy has not awakened.'

32 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. 33 He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy's body grew warm. 35 Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got onto the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, 'Call the Shunammite.' And he did. When she came, he said, 'Take your son.'


Reflection

I don't know about you, but I personally cannot relate to being desperate to have a child. I can however relate to desperately wanting a dream to be birthed in me, for the seed of potential planted in me to grow and become purpose. I know what it's like for so much time to have passed, for so much to have gone wrong and to still not see that dream happen. I know how it feels for things not to go the way I envisaged or the way I believed God told me it would. I know what it's like to stop hoping and protect myself from any further hardship by perceiving offers of change as deception. I also know what it's like to finally receive the long awaited dream in some form and to have it taken away.

So, what do we do with all of that? The woman in the passage shows great faith to go and seek Elijah when her long awaited son dies. She sees him brought back to life as a result of that faith. I'm not going to say to you, "hey, just hang on in there and everything will be fine", quite frankly that's a load of bull. I'd rather leave you with this thought. Turn to Him. In the good, the bad, and the ugly. Nothing can ever be worse for turning to Him. So you may as well. Most of my life, Jesus has been my crying buddy. Sometimes He heals the situation or fixes it, but no matter the outcome, I have Him to turn to.

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