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. (2 Kings 4:17 NIV)
The fourth chapter of 2 Kings does not mention anything about Kings. It does remind us however what it is to live in the sovereign rule of God as expressed through His prophet.
Episode 1 – The Widow’s Need
This episode is fascinating to read from the position of the widow. Here she is on the brink of losing her sons and she knows where to go to make her appeal. This is another lesson to learn about making available whatever we have. For when the widow gave what she had, the Lord did not just cover the debt, but gave her extra to provide for her and her family.
Episode 2 – Kindness of the Shunammite Woman
Some may want to put these two episodes together, but I see enough distinction in these to make them separate episodes. For our introduction to the Shunammite woman is in complete contrast to the widow of the previous episode. The widow was financially impoverished, but this Shunammite woman was well off. In fact so well off she was able to make a room in her house available for the servant. It is this act of kindness, however, in recognition of the man of God that paved the way for her to receive great kindness herself.
Often material comfort does not express inner lack. Identifying what the woman longed for and addressing showed how God is able to make tangible even the desires that we had almost given up all hope on.
Episode 3 – Restoration of the Miracle Son
What makes this episode so intriguing among other things is how the Shunammite woman persists in sticking to the man of God. Her son dies, she doesn’t make arrangements for a funeral, she doesn’t weep with her husband, she goes to the man of God. Even when the assistant looks to see what’s up, she won’t tell him because she knows where the source is. Even when Elisha gives instructions for remote control healing, the woman won’t be satisfied with that.
In all this, God displays His concern for what He has miraculously brought about by providing another miracle to bring the boy back to life. The wordless response of the Shunammite woman affirms the faith she expressed in taking the matter to the man she had rightly identified as connected to God.
Episode 4 – Prophets Enjoy Feast in a Famine
There was a famine in Gilgal, that suggests a massive shortage of food. No wonder one of the prophets brought back some wild stuff to enhance the stew. No wonder, also, that putting that in the stew had some adverse effects. There is wonder, however, that God turns this situation around by just adding a little bit of flour power and the stew is restored.
Not only that but we get another example of making the most of what is available. There should not have been enough bread for the one hundred men, but our little is much in the hands of the Lord. So the man of God could go as far as to say there would be leftovers. Once again God displays that He is an abundant and generous God concerned for the needs of His people and in the business of providing for them.
There is so much to learn and apply when we look to the real King for provision, restoration and blessing.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden