A Model of Faithfulness

Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 8:1-6
1 Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.” 2 The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.

3 At the end of the seven years she came back from the land of the Philistines and went to appeal to the king for her house and land. 4 The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, “Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.” 5 Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land.

Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” 6 The king asked the woman about it, and she told him.

Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

Reflection: A Model of Faithfulness
By Jon Polk

Who do you run to? When met with times of hardship or uncertainty, where does your faith rest?

The Shunammite woman, one of many unnamed faithful women in scripture, found herself in a rough spot. Out of the country for seven years, upon her return she discovered that her house and land had been claimed by others. Now apparently widowed, this was a devastating blow to her livelihood.

Note that she is no ordinary unnamed woman. This is the woman whose son had been raised from the dead. Let’s go back to 2 Kings 4.

A wealthy woman in the village of Shunem heard that the prophet Elisha was coming through town. She prepared a meal for him, and he began to stop there for dinner regularly as he passed through their city. This faithful woman convinced her husband to add an extra, furnished room to their home so that Elisha would have a place to stay during his visits.

Elisha was so moved by her generosity that he asked what he might do for her. His servant Gehazi mentioned that she didn’t have a son and that settled it, Elisha prophesied that within a year’s time, the woman would give birth to a son.

A boy was born as promised, but during childhood, he tragically died unexpectedly. She brought Elisha back to her home, he prayed, and the boy was healed.

In both cases, the death of her son and the loss of her property, the Shunammite woman’s faith did not waiver. There is no indication in either instance that she panicked or was hysterical. Her faith was not dependent on God’s provision but on God’s presence. 

Back to chapter 8, she approached the king straightaway with an appeal for her house and land. At the exact same moment, Gehazi was explaining to the king how Elisha had raised a woman’s son back to life. Coincidence? 

When she recounted her story to the king, he was moved to intervene on her behalf and restored her property, including all the income from the land since the day she left.

This unnamed woman is a model of faithfulness. She recognized Elisha as God’s prophet and provided food and lodging for him. When the promised son died, she confidently called Elisha. When all her belongings were taken away, she approached the king with the same confidence.

During challenging times in life, maintaining faith can be difficult, but we can run to God. In times of uncertainty and instability, we can trust God’s providence.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Our God will come and will not keep silence; before him, there is a consuming flame, and round about him a raging storm. — Psalm 50.3

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 8 (Listen 5:18)
Psalms 55 (Listen 2:43)

This Weekend’s Readings
2 Kings 9 (Listen 6:32Psalms 56-57 (Listen 3:11)
2 Kings 10 (Listen 6:30Psalms 58-59 (Listen 2:32)

Read more about Ordinary Measure of Faithfulness
The Shunammite woman is a tale of the slow, quiet, and ordinary walk of faithfulness.

Read more about God, Can You Hear Me?
It can feel like God is slow to respond. We confuse the patience of God as the endorsement of evil.

Ordinary Measure of Faithfulness

Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 8.2
2 The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.

Reflection: Ordinary Measure of Faithfulness
By Erin Newton

Almost 100 years ago, Amy Carmichael dreamed of moving to Japan to be a missionary. However, God led her somewhere unplanned, India, to do unexpected work, running an orphanage. Much of her days were spent tending to the children and discipling other women. At a time when the most epic events of modern history were occurring, she was in India quietly doing the unassuming work of God.  

The Shunammite woman is a tale of the slow, quiet, and ordinary walk of faithfulness. She started with hospitality. She offered a meal to Elisha and quickly became a reliable and trustworthy resource for the prophet. When tragedy fell upon her house, she immediately sought God’s prophet. Her character was shockingly different from the leaders of Israel and Judah.

When Elisha told her that a famine was coming to the land, she believed and followed his advice, leaving her home and country for seven years. Because of her faith, she was saved from the ravages of the famine which devastated the people, leaving them in unthinkable desperation. She listened, believed, and obeyed what Elisha told her. Upon her return, she was a shining example of the blessing of humble faithfulness.

We never learn her name. Her story is not painted in cathedrals or put into comic books. She is not sought out by the prophet because of her charisma or popularity. She is esteemed for her hospitality and faith. The miracle of her son’s resurrection is set against her unwavering confidence in the power of God through the prophet. We know nothing of her seven years away. But her reward at the end of those years is worth more than many of the inhabitants who refused to believe and whose stories have become warnings.

Let us not be deceived into thinking excitement is proportional to godliness. Sensationalism is not the measure of faithfulness. Walking with God is doing ordinary things day in and day out. In Amy’s time in India, she struggled with some of the volunteers arguing with each other. She felt the Lord call her to write a series of reflections about the ordinary measure of faithfulness.

If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider ‘not spiritual work’ I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love. — Amy Carmichael

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Protect my life and deliver me; let me know be put to shame, for I have trusted in you. — Psalm 25.19

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 8 (Listen – 5:18)
1 Timothy 5 (Listen – 3:22)

Read more about God is Faithful, not Indebted
God proves more faithful than Job’s friends, and as he came to Job, he also comes to us.

Read more about Christ, Our Undeserved Friend
Unfailing faith to stand in grace
And steps to finish out this race.
Christ, he our undeserved friend,
Is with me yet, until the end.