2 Kings 4, 1 Kings 17 by Pastor Don
Continuing Friday’s Bible Study And Wednesday’s Bible Study with notes from Wednesday in blue.
2 Kings 4:8 Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunam, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food.
Notable means well known, and the town of Shunam was where the prophets of Baal challenged God and it harbored Jezebel. Yet in the midst of this pagan town were a pocket of believers in God, one of which is this woman and her husband. Even in the countries who do not worship God there are enclaves of Christians.
2 Kings 4:9-11 And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there. And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there.
Pastor Don pointed out that the upper room would have been an addition on the side or on the roof of the house, and there would be a separate entryway so that the person could enter without disturbing the residents of the main house. This would give privacy for coming and going. And it would provide Elisha a safe haven in an area that was surrounded by idol worshippers.
2 Kings 4:12 Then he (Elisha) said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite woman.” When he had called her, she stood before him.
Gehazi was the person Elisha was mentoring, but if you continue reading in 2 Kings you will see that he is not of the same caliber as Elisha. So this woman stood before Elisha. In that day, there had to be care given so that there was no hint of impropriety. So Elisha will speak to the woman through Gehazi.
2 Kings 4:13 And he (Elisha) said to him (Gehazi), “Say now to her, “Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army? She answered, “I dwell among my own people.”
Pastor Don said that she was saying that she was cool with the people around her even though her faith in God kept her from fitting in. Because she took care of the man of God, God wanted to repay her. God will be no man’s debtor. You cannot out give God. Also Elisha served God, and God took care of him, providing the room for him. When you are doing God’s will He will provide for your needs. God told Elisha he wanted to bless this woman. She had no need for political needs.
2 Kings 4:14-15 So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.” So he said, “Call her,” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway.”
Her husband is old, reminds us of Abraham and Sarah. Remember the widow woman, this woman’s husband is old and if he died, she would be left without a child to care for her in her old age. So her greatest NEED was a child. God will take care of our needs, but he does not always gratify our flesh. Sometimes he will give you a fleshly desire, but only after all that you really need is taken care of. God puts things in proper order, and he takes care of priorities first. Yet, at the same time it does delight Him to delight us. When we make a request of God, He does not forget those requests, and when it is right, and when it won’t turn into a stumbling block for us, God will give us what we desire for fun too (Heather’s note, as long as it doesn’t lead us to sin or away from Him.) The woman’s greatest NEED was a son.
2 Kings 4:16 Then he said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord, Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!”
She believes it is impossible for this to happen. She is afraid of disappointment, of getting her hopes up.She wants a son so much, but did not ask for a son because she figured it wasn’t going to happen. She was looking at her insufficiencies, not her expectations. And God is bigger than our limitations of Him. We can’t put God in a box.
2 Kings 4:17-21 But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her. And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. And he said to his father, “My head, my head!” So, he said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 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, shut the door upon him and went out.
God was able to do this miracle of the son, and now her son seems dead. One of our members said that it seemed like a cerebral hemorrhage. Notice that she lays the child on Elisha’s bed. Pastor Don had us laughing (and blushing), he pointed out that obviously the woman and her husband did their due diligence to produce a son. That obviously her husband was old, but not THAT OLD. That the word of the Prophet required ACTION. Then when the son died, she laid him on Elisha’s bed and closes the door. Remember that closing the door means to lock out those who would keep you from the focus – and this woman’s’ focus was the restoration of her son. She did not need the nay sayers in her life at that time.
2 Kings 4:22-23 Then she called to her husband and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys that I may run to the man of God and come back.” So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath,” And she said, “It is well.”
Pastor Don pointed out that the New Moon and Sabbath were the traditional times when a person inquired of the LORD. That they did not do it any old day. In fact, most people worked and if we were living in that time unless we were a student or a disciple, we would not be gathered for a Bible study in the middle of the day. Notice also that the woman had servants and a donkey for traveling quickly, and she did not speak out the news about her son’s death, rather she spoke words of faith – preferring to trust that God would not give her a son and then take Him away.
2 Kings 4:24-26 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you. And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?'” And she answered, “It is well.”
She had faith that Elisha would be able to handle her situation, and that if God gave her a child that He would deal with the situation. She is also speaking into existence, not speaking about things as they are.She is speaking words of faith. She did not speak things as they were, but what the outcome is to be.
2 Kings 4:27 Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me, and has not told me.”
Gehazi was going to push her away for she had crossed a line, touch not God’s anointed. She is at Elisha’s feet, the way the woman with the issue of blood fell at Jesus’ feet. This is a humble posture, and it is in humility that you get your blessing. God had not given Elisha the Word of Knowledge regarding this woman’s son. God does not tell us everything until we approach him. (Heather’s note, I am also comforted by knowing that Elisha knew that God knew this woman’s situation, that He knows all our situations and what gives us distress.) She was a soul in deep distress. Pastor Don said that it bothers him when anyone says anything that pushes people away from him. To not believe that “Pastor Don is too busy to see you.” He can always make some time for a person’s need. This woman had a REAL NEED, and she needed to speak to the prophet. Gehazi here begins to show some of his true character, which lacks compassion. Even though Elisha did not know what the problem was, had not received a Word of Wisdom or Knowledge about the situation, it was obvious that the woman was hurting and needed him.
2 Kings 4:28 So she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?”
Her heart is breaking, and she thinks she has lost what He gave her. She felt deceived.
2 Kings 4:29 Then he said to Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.”
Elijah had a mantle, for Elisha his “mantle” is his staff. And he gives this to his assistant Gehazi to put on the face of the child. Pastor Don pointed out that every person steps into their own ministry. We are not exact copies of another’s ministry. We get a leading from the Lord for what our ministry is. By telling Gehazi to not speak with anyone, he is wanting him to stay focused. The devil seeks to distract us. When we are ready to pursue our ministry is when the Jehovah Witnesses come to our door, or an old friend calls, anything to get us distracted. We are not to give too much significance to the distraction, but rather just stay focused.
The staff is Elisha’s operational mantle, like the cloth mantle was Elijah’s. Elisha gave the staff to Gehazi and told him not to meet anyone, greet anyone, or answer a person – just put the staff on the child’s face. He did not want Gehazi to lose focus. Some things in church God wants us to keep holy, to not profane them. It isn’t that the things themselves have power, but they serve as a touch point for faith. We want to maintain a holy atmosphere where faith can work. Our church is not a come as you are church OR a dress up church. Both kinds of churches have their strengths, and weaknesses. In a come as you are church, where people can even come in dirty work clothes, they work for a social gospel, but don’t have the spiritual trappings of reverence. The Suit only churches are not seeker friendly. Our church, we accept people as they are, and have noticed that as God comes into a person’s life more and more, they tend to seek to honor God, to maintain an atmosphere of respect for the things used of God. As God begins to heal people, Pastor Don has noticed that the people tend to dress more to honor God – not that it is a legalistic requirement, it happens naturally. In churches where there are lots of idols, the presence of God can come, but it won’t come through any of the idols. God is sovereign and He can manifest His presence in spite of idols. We are to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
Some things in church are treated as holy, as touch points for God’s power. For example, olive oil can be a touch point for God’s anointing if it is used as anointing oil. It is just a way to release faith, but it is not necessary for the releasing of faith.
If God does not tell you to use something as a touch point for the releasing of faith, than it may be taken by satan to open the way to something demonic. Sometimes the same thing can be used either way. The proof is who tells you to use it, your ego or God. (Heather’s note, remember Acts 19:13-16 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. They presumed that they could use Jesus’ name for healing without knowing Him. There is danger in using what God has not told you to use.)
2 Kings 4:30-31 And the mother of the child said, “As the LORD lives, and as my soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.”
She cleaves to Elisha, not wavering. And Gehazi, as we will see later in the chapter, has a love of money, the sin of pride. We don’t know if that is why laying the staff failed, but later we will see the Gehazi is not of the same caliber as Elisha was with Elijah. The method of the staff on the face did not work. We do not know why it did not work, it could have been Gehazi or it could have been that God did not honor that approach, we don’t know.
In 1 Kings 17, Elisha either saw or heard what Elijah did to raise the lad from the dead. So, Elisha did what he knew Elijah did that worked, laying on the child. Sometimes we have more faith when we repeat what we have seen, than to do something new. Trusting in a tried and true method than coming up with a new way. There were no Biblical examples of a staff being used to raise someone from the dead. The woman chose to cling to Elisha because she had more faith in Elisha than she had in Gehazi.
Sometimes the method helps to release the faith in the administration of spiritual things, and then as we grow older in the Lord and our faith is broadened, then we can stretch our faith in different ways.
Pastor Don pointed out that at first, he felt it was necessary to lay hands on people, to physically touch them, to anoint them with oil. As his faith broadened and he was in situations where there were hundreds of people, he learned that sometimes breathing on a person, or a gesture that encompasses several people at once can also touch a situation. God showed Pastor Don, that each situation is different and can be handled in a different way.
Once he saw a relative, who is a pastor, touch a person’s leg and watched the leg grow out. He saw this relative kneel down, and grab both legs and watched the leg grow out. Pastor Don saw the leg grow out, he asked God to teach him how to do this. The opportunity happened for him to do it the very next week, and at first he did the exact same gestures his relative did, then he realized that wasn’t necessary, that you could pray with a person and God would do it without the kneeling and grabbing the leg. Again, it depends on the circumstances and the faith of the person being prayed for.
Then God showed him that it seems to be a tradition of men that when touched by God people fall backwards. He started watching and realized that it is not necessary to fall backwards, that people can fall to the side, their knees can buckle, nothing happens, they fall frontward. It isn’t always falling backwards.
2 Kings 4:32-33 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD.
He shut the door and prayed, he shut out all distractions and focused on God.
2 Kings 4:34-37 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. And He returned and walked back and forth in the house and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.
Pastor Don then told us he was going to show us where Elisha got the idea for lying on the son. (Heather’s note, I am impressed that the woman first fell at Elisha’s feet – honoring God, THEN went to pick up her son. It is something we need to remember when God acts in our lives.) Pastor Don also pointed out that when laying the staff on the child’s face didn’t work (the new ministry) Elisha went and did what was a proven, old ministry method that had worked in the past.
1 Kings 17:8-24 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” So she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” (13) And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. (14)“For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’ ” (15) So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. (16) The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah. (17) Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. (18) So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” (19)And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. (20) Then he cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” (21)And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!” (24)Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of theLORD in your mouth is the truth.”
There are parallels in how Elijah handled a similar situation. Elisha was Elijah’s mentee, and he would have observed what Elijah did in similar circumstances, and we see that, when his method did not work that he went and did what Elijah did.
Pastor Don pointed out that when God is working through people, he makes sure his servants are taken care of. The widow provided Elijah with food, and the Shunnamite woman provided shelter for Elisha. When a saint is brought into a dangerous area to serve God, God will provide a small number of people of faith, who will identify the saint, and aid him. God is always near us in our time of need.
And with the widow she had a little water and a little oil and flour. She fed this to Elisha, and then God multiplied. God will multiply what you have if you are willing to give, what you are willing to dedicate to God. It is a gutsy faith.
Verse 13 Elijah tells her not to fear. Fear blocks miracles. When the father prayed, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” He did not throw away his belief. We take what we do have and give it to God.
Verse 14 UNTIL THE LORD SENDS RAIN ON THE EARTH. If we give our little bit to God, lack will not occur until God rains down and your strength is returned. God is able, and we can have confidence that He will provide until we can do it ourselves. When the rain comes, then God will stop (Heather’s note, the manna stopped when the Children of Israel went into the Promised Land). God pours out in abundance. we have to remember that Elijah had told the people that there would be a drought for 3 1/2 years, and so God provided for the widow for that time period, until she could provide for herself.
Verse 15 She had no idea what he was talking about, she did according to the word of Elisha. She just trusted God’s word, not knowing if there would be no food showing up, or how her needs would be supplied. She acted in faith.
Verse 17 The woman’s son was sick. Pastor Don pointed out that when God blesses us, like he did for the woman, that satan does not like it. He will come and try to steal away the blessing. When God blesses us, we do need to be ready for a counterattack from satan.
The drought was continuing, the woman had enough food for her and her son and Elijah to eat good, so what happens? Her boy gets sick.
When adverse circumstances come our way, that does not always mean that we are in a state of sin, or have done something wrong. Sometimes God permits the adverse circumstances so he can show up in a big way (like the blind man who had not sinned, nor his parents, but it was so that Jesus could heal him), sometimes God permits the adversity so that as we overcome the situation we grow stronger in faith. It is sort of like training in a gym, you have resistance training to build muscles, and God allows resistance training to build our spiritual muscles. Our job is to do our due diligence, and trust God.
Verse 18, the woman asked what she did wrong? We want to believe that it is a punishment, but that isn’t the case all the time. We are Children of the King and the devil doesn’t like it. Usually we open the door by our own stupidity for satan to act, but he waits for that one slip in our armor.
Verse 19 UPPER ROOM, and the child was laid on a bed, three times Elijah stretched out. It is very similar to what Elisha did. In verse 21 it mentions that the child’s soul came back to him. The soul is the Mind, Will, and Emotions. and let the spirit be rejoined to the body.
And then Pastor Don pointed out in verse 24 – how could you doubt?
The role of fear and doubt is to get you off God’s plan, to go and do your own thing, do earthly stuff. But God has a heavenly plan.
So Elisha went back to what his mentor (Elijah) did and achieved the desired result.
The Bible gives us a modus operandi, we learn to pray the way Daniel, Ezekiel, Elisha did, and get similar results. Pastor Don went into the next verses in this 2 Kings chapter, but I think I will save that for another posting. Today is Friday and that means another Bible study. So I have so many studies to put up for you, from Sunday and the rest of Wednesday, but I don’t want to overburden you with reading.
Praying you have a blessed day.
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