September 22, 2011
Encouragement in Faith
The Prophet’s Chamber
2 Kings 4:8-11
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As we study a few highlights from the life of Elisha the prophet, we get to know how the Lord Jesus loved and helped people in the Old Testament. Elisha travelled around as a prophet, and a woman provided a regular lodging place for the prophet. God moves in the hearts of people to provide for His children in a variety of ways. Yesterday, we saw God use Elisha to provide money through a bountiful supply of oil for a widow and her sons. Today, we will study the Word of God to see a prominent woman use her wealth to provide for Elisha. Keep in mind the widow’s oil as your read through this story.
Now there came a day when Elisha passed over to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman, and she persuaded him to eat food. And so it was, as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat food.
2 Kings 4:8
Feeding a Prophet. God provides food for each one of us every day. A prominent woman of Shunem persuaded Elisha to eat at her house whenever he passed through Shunem (2 Kings 4:8). This woman used her wealth to feed a prophet. God always notices every good deed done for His children. Remember Jesus telling His disciples that whenever they helped a stranger, they were actually helping Jesus Himself (Matthew 25:41-46). This prominent woman was not too important to help a prophet passing through with some food. Notice too that the prominent woman persuaded him (“וַתַּחֲזֶק-בּוֹ”) to eat at her house. She took the initiative and used her persuasive strength to convince him to eat at her house. Compare the Lord’s directions to His disciples as they travelled to stay in just one home as long as they stayed in a city (Mark 6:10).
She said to her husband, ‘Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God passing by us continually.
2 Kings 4:9
The Holy Man of God. The prominent woman got to know Elisha better as he regularly came to her home and ate food. In 2 Kings 4:9, we read that she became convinced that a holy man of God (“אִישׁ אֱלֹהִים קָדוֹש”) was passing by continually. Notice the woman discussed this matter with her husband, and did not act alone. When we see people working to do God’s will, Jesus often moves us in our hearts to help them along the way. In this case, the woman got to know Elisha, and perceived that he was a man of God. If people ate with you regularly, would they become convinced hearing you talk and seeing you act that you are a man or woman of God? Elisha had a terrific testimony for Jesus Christ. Imagine the stories he told around the dinner table about all the great things Jesus had done for him each day.
‘Please, let us make a little walled upper chamber and let us set a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; and it shall be, when he comes to us, that he can turn in there.’
2 Kings 4:10
Building the Upper Chamber. The prominent woman decided to do more than just feed Elisha. I often see that women of God notice needs that men do not. This prominent woman noticed the needs of Elisha and then encouraged her husband to build the chamber. In 2 Kings 4:10, we see that she wanted to add an upper room to her home so that Elisha could spend the night there when he came through Shunem. The prominent woman also furnished the room for the prophet. Did you notice the way that God works here? God gives you wealth, so that you may feed people who are hungry. As you get to know them, and find out they are working for God, then you want to do even more for God by blessing His children. Your wealth becomes a tool for God to use. Most of us do not have great wealth, but most of us do have enough money to share food with strangers. Some of us can even afford to build a room for someone who needs a place to stay. This prominent woman used her wealth to help the holy man of God. What are you doing with your wealth? We know very little about the husband of this prominent woman, and her name does not matter. This prominent woman looked to provide for the physical needs of Elisha, just as women ministered to the Lord Jesus and His disciples in the New Testament (Matthew 27:55; Luke 9:58). As you work today, keep in mind the New Testament principle that we work, so that we may share with those in need. As we work, God provides an abundance for every good deed (2 Corinthians 9:8). That upper chamber stood as a memorial to the faithfulness of the prominent woman in building the prophet’s chamber just for Elisha. What are you building today?
So we learn more about the use of wealth today.
● When you see people in need, especially the children of God, then use your wealth to help them. Be sure to furnish the room.
● When you work, count upon God to provide an abundance for every good deed, so that you bless a holy person of God.
● When you have the ability to use your wealth for Jesus Christ by ministering to the needs of the saints, remember that Jesus will always see everything you do, and He loves to bless you for blessing His children. God will always provide for His own, and you may have the privilege of God using your wealth for His own purposes. Look around and see who needs some help from God.
Application for Today
As I live today, I want to be sure that God uses my wealth, such as it is, for His glory. If my wife comes to me because she sees a need I overlooked, I want to be ready to help further the kingdom of God by using the wealth Jesus has delivered to me as His steward. What will you do with your wealth today?