Introduction："That's the prophet Elisha, " someone might have pointed out, as they watched the prophet walking down the dusty roads. Elisha's work for the Lord required that he spend many hours traveling from city to city.Body：One day as Elisha traveled to the small farming village of Shunem, he was invited to eat with a woman and her husband who were quite wealthy and well known in Shunem. Evidently they quickly became good friends for II Kings 4：8 says, "And so it was, that as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat..."
After awhile, the woman said to her husband, "You know, I can tell this man Elisha is a holy man of God, and he is coming by here regularly now. Couldn't we please make a little room and put just a bed, table, stool, and candle in it, so that when he comes, he'll have a nice place to himself to rest?" Sure enough, by the time Elisha came back through Shunem, they had his very own room ready.
Elisha really appreciated their kindness, and he wanted to repay by doing something special for them. So one day as he lay resting in his new room, he told his servant Gehazi to call the Shunammite woman and say to her, "Now look, you have been careful to do all these kind things for us, what is to be done for you?Would you like someone to go to the king or to the captain of the king's army with a special request for you?" But the woman told Gehazi, "I live among my own people. I don't need any special help from the king or his army."
Elisha still tried to think of a way to repay this gracious woman for all her help. "Hmmm, what is to be done for her?" he wondered out loud. Gehazi was thinking too. "She doesn't have a child, and her husband is old, " Gehazi said. Ah! That was it!Probably Elisha's reply came quickly："Call her."
When the woman came to the door, Elisha said, "About this time next year, you will be holding a son in your arms." Can you just hear the woman's gasp of surprise?A son of her own'she didn't believe it, so she said, "No, sir, you are a man of God. I am your servant, but don't lie to me." It just seemed too good to be true, that after all these years of seeing other women with children, she would finally have one of her very own! But do you think Elisha was telling the truth?Link：God loved this woman and He was going to surprise her with this wonderful gift!
Gospel：God your Creator loves you too, and wants to give you a wonderful gift! Romans 6：23 says, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Did you know that because everyone in the world has sinned, we are all born facing that terrible payment for sin?God says that payment for breaking His laws is an everlasting death and separation from Him. You and I have broken God's laws in many ways. That's the bad news! But the good news is that, instead of the punishment you deserve, God offers you the gift of eternal life! And it's free to you because Jesus Christ, God's Son, has already paid for that gift.
When Jesus gave His blood and His life by dying on the cross, He knew that He was paying the price for you to have eternal life. Do you remember Jesus' last words on the cross?"It is finished." Jesus knew He had finished paying the price for your sin, so you could have eternal life as a free gift. God made you, He loves you, and He wants you to enjoy Heaven forever with Him. That is why He offers YOU this wonderful gift!
Does it seem to good to be true?That's how the woman of Shunem felt when she heard about this wonderful gift God was sending her. But sure enough, just as the prophet Elisha told her, the next year she was staring down at a beautiful, healthy baby boy, her very own son. Can you imagine how this dear woman and her husband must have praised the Lord for the gift of that son!
What happy days they must have enjoyed as they watched this child grow up! One day their young son went out to be with his father in the harvest fields. Perhaps he was here and there among the workers when suddenly he ran to his father crying, "My head! My head!" The father saw that even though the child did not seem to be injured any way, he was having a terrible pain in his head. Quickly the father called to a servant, "Carry my son to his mother!" The mother sat the child on her knees and held him close, trying to figure out what was wrong with him, and what to do. But suddenly around noontime, the child grew quiet and still. Her darling son, the joy of her life, was dead.
She must have been heartbroken, but the Bible says she took the little boy up to Elisha's room and laid him on the prophet's bed. Closing the door, she quickly went to the harvest field to call her husband. Her face was calm as she said to her husband, "Send me one of the young servants and one of the donkeys. I need to go quickly to the man of God, but I'll be right back." Her husband asked why, but she only told him, "It will be alright." When she and the servant started off, she said to the servant, "Let's go, and don't slow down for me unless I tell you." Quickly they headed for Mt. Carmel, and as they approached Elisha saw them. Even from a far distance he knew who it was.
Gehazi, here comes that Shunammite woman. Run down to meet her and ask her, 'Is it well with you?Is it well with you husband?Is it well with your child?' " When Gehazi got to the woman with the questions, she only answered, "It is well." But when she saw Elisha, she fell down and grabbed his feet. Now she could no longer contain her grief. Gehazi felt she should not approach a man of God this way, so he came near to push her away. But Elisha said, "Let her alone; for her soul is grieved; and the Lord has hid it from me, and has not told me."
The woman was probably sobbing as she cried out to Elisha, "Did I desire, did I ask, a son from you?Didn't I say, "Don't lie to me?" Main Teaching：She was really blaming Elisha for what had happened to her son.Link：When bad things happen to you, do you start looking for someone to blame?It's something you usually want to do, but does that help anything at all?If you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, trust God to work all things out for your good! Romans 8：28 says, " ...we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, ..."
Blaming others only makes you a bitter person and will not help the problem. Trusting God to work it all out for your good makes you a BETTER person. Can you remember those two opposites?Link：In this sinful world, bad things will happen to you, but blaming someone else is not the answer.
Blaming Elisha would not help the mother's problem of losing her child. But as she cried out to Elisha, immediately he realized what had happened. Handing his staff, his walking stick, to Gehazi, he instructed him to go and lay his staff on the face of the child. But the mother would not leave without Elisha, so Elisha went also. Gehazi had run ahead and obeyed Elisha's instructions, but there was no response from the dead child.
Can you imagine how Elisha felt as he opened the door himself and saw that little lifeless body lying on his bed?He could have said, "God, why did You give this little boy and then take him away?" Link：Elisha could have felt like blaming God. But would that help anything?Main Teaching：What does God promise if we know and love Him?Romans 8：28, " ...we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, ..." If you know the Lord Jesus, trust God to work all things out for your good.
Blaming others only makes you a bitter person. Continuing to love and trust God even in times of trouble makes you a BETTER person. Seeing your dad lose his job, finding out you have to move and leave all your friends, even losing a loved one in death can seem like the worst thing that has ever happened to you. You may be heartbroken. Jesus told us that in this world, even as His children, we WILL have trouble. You may not understand why these bad things happen, in fact you may never understand til you get to heaven. But blaming others will never fix the problem. Trust God who promises He WILL work all things out for your good. Link：Elisha could have felt like blaming God, but instead he was quietly trusting God.
How do we know Elisha was trusting God?Elisha went quietly into the room alone and shut the door. What do you suppose was the first thing he did?God's Word says he prayed to the Lord. God revealed to Elisha what to do. Elisha stretched himself over the child so that his mouth was on the child's mouth, his eyes on the child's eyes, and his hands upon the child's hands. Elisha could feel the coldness of the dead body. But the Bible says then the flesh of the child began to warm. Elisha got up and went out and walked back and forth, perhaps still quietly praying. Then he returned to the room and tried the same thing again. Suddenly, "Ahhh, AhCHOO!" The little boy sneezed seven times, and then opened his eyes!Climaz：He was alive and he was well!!
Conclusion：Elisha joyfully called Gehazi, "Go, call the Shunammite woman!" What a shout of delight must have gone up from the mother when she walked in and saw her son alive! Again she fell at Elisha's feet, but this time not to blame him, but to thank him. She took her son in her arms and went out, probably to find his father!
Challenge：Link：This family saw God take an impossible problem and work it out for their good. If you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, will you this week trust God to work all things out for your good?You will face some problem, some bad news or situation this week that will make you want to blame someone else and start saying ugly things. But blaming only makes you a bitter person, it does not help solve your problem.
Will you this week ask God to help you trust Him even when bad things happen?You may not understand how God is going to work things out for your good, but trust Him.
He will keep His promise! And memorize your Romans 8：28 verse to help you remember that promise! You will become a BETTER person instead of a bitter person.Invitation：If you have never believed on Jesus, this promise is not for you, for you are not one of those that know and love God. But He knows and loves you, and wants you to be in His forever family. Won't you stop now and go to "How to Be a Child of God?"