The Shunammite’s Son ( part 2 The Promise)
Character in a time of Crisis day 34
And he said, “At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your servant.” 2 Kings 4:16
I wonder if you have ever had a promise, a word, a revelation that you know is not of human origin, and that could only be a promise from God? The account of Elisha and the Shunammite’s son shows us such a promise being given. As I said yesterday, this is the story of two miracles. Today I’d like us to think of the first of these miracles, the promise (in vs 16) that the Shunammite would have a son.
The Shunammite and her husband have been hospitable and kind to Elisha and his servant. They Provided lodging for them whenever they were nearby (vs 8-10). Elisha considers what can be best done for her, and learns she has no son ( vs14). At this time, this was more than merely a disappointment, as it meant that without a son, the family name would die out, and the land and possessions would then pass to others. Additionally, in time she would face the threat of widowhood as her husband was old (vs 14) and would not have the security of a son to provide for her.
In faith, Elisha gives the Shunammite a promise (vs 16) that she would become the mother of a son this time. There is nothing vague or trite about the promise that Elisha gives. He isn’t just saying, ‘don’t worry you’ll be OK’ like so many well-meaning people do, or even you will probably have a child. But about this time next year, you will hold a SON. That specific. Like the episode recorded in Genesis 18 When in an angelic revelation, God appears to another well to do couple who are up in years. And say “Then the Lord said, I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah, your wife, will have a son’. Gen 18: 10
We should not blame the poor Shunammite for expressing what might appear to be doubt or unbelief. Maybe she doesn’t want to get her hopes up to have them dashed again. Perhaps this sounds just too good to be true. But we read in vs 17 that Elisha’s promise to her was fulfilled.
New life is the greatest human miracle and the most wonderful blessing that we can know. We should never underestimate how miraculous the birth of a child is, and especially in such circumstances as is often portrayed in the scriptures. In the births, of, for example, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samson, Samuel, John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus, we see the miraculous intervention of God. The anguished cry of the heart is heard by God, and the answer is given through a baby being born. Although the promises given are to a mother or a couple, the full impact of the pledge is very often to the whole nation. Nowhere is this more clearly expressed than in the promise of the birth of the Messiah in these wonderful words of Isaiah;
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.