Women of the Bible

A Great Woman from Shunem — Part 3

    Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, 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. 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.
    Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite woman.”
    When he had called her, she stood before him.
    And he said to him, “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.”
    So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.” 2 Kings 4.8-14

We have discovered some key qualities about this great woman from Shunem. She is perceptive, persistent, devoted, and willing. She is ready to receive the man of God at any time. And now he is here, in her home, in her midst. What does he do? He responds to her willing service by offering to do something in return.

God notices our service. He also knows our hearts. Did God need to ask her what her need was? No. So why did He not just tell the prophet? God allows a simple question to reveal her pure motive. This was her chance to cash in on God, to get what she wanted. Her response? In essence, she said she needed nothing. You see, her desire had been fulfilled simply by the prophet’s presence in her life. His staying in the extra room was all she wanted. That was more than enough.Our deepest desire can and should be filled simply by His presence in our lives. He is enough. Let me say that again. He is enough.

    So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.” v.14

So, she has a need — a deep, painful, personal need. Why did she not voice this? Isn’t this her chance? Perhaps she had unbelief. Or maybe this need didn’t occur to her. (I wouldn’t ask another man for a son!) Or could it be that she just wasn’t looking for anything? Whatever the reason, this observation by the servant Gehazi points out a glaring need — she was barren.

Am I saying today that we should never ask God for something? Is it wrong to petition God with our requests? No. The scripture teaches us to come to God with every need, expecting His care, trusting in His goodness. But we should take care to inspect our hearts. What is our motive?

    You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4.3

This woman’s heart held no ulterior motives. One simple question revealed that. If we wondered what her pressing desire might have been for getting this prophet in her home, we can now see that she was not looking for fame, influence, money, or a child. She had a heart that wanted God.

We can be like this woman. Invite Him in, serve Him gladly, be fulfilled with His presence. We can seek His will above our own, submit to His hand in our lives, accept His way with faith, and desire His purpose. When we pray and ask according to these things, He is glorified in us and through us. His presence is readily seen in us. Let us be great women who seek Him and His presence in our lives.

Next week we will explore how God fills barrenness. He is a wonder-working God!

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