Making all things well- the Shunamite woman
Olubi and Sarah Johnson
In our article this week, we will be examining the story of the Shunamite woman in 2 Kings 8.3-37.
This woman did not have children but God gave her a son in her husband’s old age through the ministry of Elisha. This child died and was raised from the dead by Elisha causing this woman’s act of faith to be recorded in:
Hebrews 11:35 KJV: Women received their dead raised to life again
What was the secret of this woman’s development and act of faith?
It is instructive to note that at the beginning this woman did not even believe that God could give her child:
2 Kings 4:16 KJV: And he said, about this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.
However, God fulfilled His Word through His servant in spite of her initial fear and unbelief:
2 Kings 4:17 KJV: And the women conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.
This shows us that even when we do not have enough faith God is faithful to have mercy on us and help us in spite of our unbelief.
However, as we shall see He expects us to develop our faith as it will still be demanded and tested in the future.
This Shunamite woman developed her faith over the years of her association with Elisha and so God made all things well with her.
How did she do this?
1. She honored the man of God with a pure motive: She gave him regular meals, built a chamber for him and did not do it for personal gain or reward. So when Elisha asked what should be done for her she did not ask for a child even though she really wanted one. Her motive in serving the man of God was pure.
2. She refused to be offended at God or His servant when the child died and so was able to act with wisdom: She did not cry or even let her husband know what had happened. If she had been offended or given place to fear she would have dishonored God and His servant by words or actions triggered by her emotions which would have been ‘understandable’ given the grievous situation she was faced with of the death of an only son. Many Christians today would have been offended both at God and His servant.
Some would even claim the man of God was a false prophet who had only exploited the woman and her husband for his meals and a chamber!
By controlling her emotions she was able to act with wisdom: she laid the dead child on Elisha’s bed, shut the door so no one would enter and start a panic.
Furthermore, she did not alarm her husband knowing he would not be able to handle the situation spiritually or emotionally. Rather she went directly to the man of God in private instead of maligning his character by her words and actions in public and so allowing God’s name and integrity to be blasphemed as so many would do today.
3. She acted and spoke in faith saying “It is well” when apparently all was not well as child had died! She, like God, called the ‘things which were not as though they were’ (Rom. 4.17). It is instructive to note she developed this faith over many years of association with Elisha as she obviously went to hear him regularly on Sabbath and feast days:
2 Kings 4:22-23 KJV: And she called unto her husband, and said, send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. 23 And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.
In response to these things God honored her faith and caused the child to be raised from the dead and caused her to fulfill her destiny to be recorded in the annals of scripture for eternity!
It was to test her faith and so cause her to fulfill her destiny that God allowed the child to die: God did not kill the child! Satan did. (Jn.10.10).
However God allowed it knowing the woman’s faith had been developed enough to triumph over this trial or temptation and that without this trial she would not have fulfilled her prophetic destiny to be recorded in scripture.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
It is instructive here to observe that when God allows difficult trials to come our way it is because He has already made available to us the necessary wisdom and power to overcome the trial and in overcoming the trial we will be fulfilling more of our prophetic destiny: to become perfect, entire, wanting nothing. So during severe trials, like this one faced by the Shunamite woman we should:
James 1:2-4 KJV: My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 but let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
So to cause God to make all things well in our lives we need to like the Shunamite woman:
1. Honor those in spiritual authority by esteeming them highly in love with a pure motive:
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 KJV: And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
Galatians 6:6 NKJV: Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches
2. Develop the love of and for God so that no matter what happens you will not be offended at God or His servants:
Psalms 119:165 KJV: Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
Job 13:15 KJV: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him?
3. Speak and act in faith and wisdom in the middle of trials by developing your faith and love using the blood, the Word and Spirit, activating the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, on a regular consistent basis. It is the development of your love and faith that enables you to supernaturally speak and act in faith and wisdom in the middle of a crisis situation.
If you do these things God, through you (not apart from you), will make all things well and you will fulfill your prophetic destiny as recorded concerning you in the scriptures!