Today’s Readings: 2 KINGS 2:1-25; 2 KINGS 4:1-44
Today’s readings are fun, interesting and thought provoking. They are classic children’s Sunday School fodder. Even if you aren’t reading through the Bible with us each day, today’s readings will grab your attention and make you think.
The readings are definitely from a different time than ours. Two main characters and a supporting cast of hundreds fill the stories. The two chapters are filled with miracles, prophets, good people and bad. It is fun stuff to read in that there are many opportunities to see how God was working in those days. Flaming chariots, parting rivers, endless jars of oil, feeding of 100’s with a few loaves of bread (I think I read that one somewhere else 😉 ). We even have the raising of the dead in today’s reading.
In 2 Kings 4:8 – 37 we read the story of the woman from Shunem. We never learn her name but we know much about her character:
- vs. 8 – v. 9 She is wealthy woman, but she generous with Elisha, providing first food and later shelter.
- vs. 9 – 10 She is a faithful and consistent woman, she does this for years
- vs. 12 – 13 She is not a greedy person, she appreciates her life.
- vs. 14 – 16 She is a woman with a dream – to have a child one day.
The Lord provides the woman with a child. Elisha tells her that in one year she will be standing in front of him with a child in her arms.
Years pass and one day her now grown son falls sick in the fields. As a faithful believer in the prophet Elisha’s connection with God she seeks his help. Though a wealthy woman with servants she takes out on her own to find Elisha.
She finds Elisha, falls at his feet in distress and anguish. The son that the Lord had provided is dead back at her home. Elisha sends his staff with Gehazi.
2 Kings 4:29 (NLT)
29 Then Elisha said to Gehazi, “Get ready to travel; take my staff and go! Don’t talk to anyone along the way. Go quickly and lay the staff on the child’s face.”
The woman does not trust that the placing of a staff of Elisha will solve the problem. Her son will not come back to life merely by the presence of an object of a prophet. She begs Elisha himself to go.
2 Kings 4:30 (NLT)
30 But the boy’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I won’t go home unless you go with me.” So Elisha returned with her.
Gehazi arrives before the others, lays the staff on the boy and nothing happens. A bit later Elisha and the mother arrive to find the boy still dead.
Elisha does something that is not in any medical book or journal.
2 Kings 4:32 – 35 (NLT)
32 When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed. 33 He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! 35 Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes!
Elisha’s staff did not cure the boy. Elisha’s stretching out on top of the boy did not bring the boy back from the dead. It was the Lord who performed the act. The Lord brought the boy back. Why? Because Elisha first prayed to the Lord. For me the rest, the walking back and forth and the stretching out across the boys was just actions.
The real work was done in the prayer.
Interesting story to read just four days after my post “What should I pray?”