WE ARE IN THE HEBREW MONTH OF IYAR (BEGAN ON APRIL 13 AND WILL LAST THRU MAY 11, 2021). THE MONTH OF IYAR IS CONNECTED TO THE TRIBE OF ISSACHAR.
I CHRONICLES 12:32 SAYS THAT THE TRIBE OF ISSACHAR HAD UNDERSTANDING OF THE TIMES, AND KNEW WHAT ISRAEL OUGHT TO DO.
THE WOMAN FROM SHUNEM THAT IS FIRST MENTIONED IN 2 KINGS 4 LIVED IN THE LAND ALLOTTED TO THE TRIBE OF ISSACHAR IN THE TOWN OF SHUNEM. SHE IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF A PERSON WHO MOVED IN THE ISSACHAR ANOINTING.
WE ALL NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE TIMES THAT WE ARE IN AND WHAT TO DO. LET’S LOOK CLOSER AT HER STORY:
2 KINGS 4:8-10 SAYS:
8 Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a [a]notable woman, and she [b]persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. 9 And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. 10 Please, let us make [c]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.”
BY REACHING OUT TO THE PROPHET ELISHA, INVITING HIM FOR MEALS AND THEN PREPARING A PLACE FOR HIM TO STAY IN HER HOME WHENEVER HE PASSED BY—SHE WAS SETTING INTO MOTION A CHAIN OF EVENTS THAT WOULD CHANGE HER OWN LIFE.
ELISHA COMES INTO THE HOUSE OF SHUNEM ONE DAY IN THE UPPER ROOM THAT SHE HAS PREPARED FOR HIM AND HIS SERVANT GEHAZI IS WITH HIM. ELISHA SENDS GEHAZI TO ASK THE SHUNAMMITE WOMAN WHAT HE CAN DO FOR HER. HE TOLD GEHAZI TO ASK HER IF SHE NEEDED ELISHA TO SPEAK ON HER BEHALF TO THE KING OR THE COMMANDER OF THE ARMY.
THE WOMAN SAID TO GEHAZI, I DWELL AMONG MY OWN PEOPLE (2 KINGS 4:13). BUT GEHAZI TOLD ELISHA THAT THE WOMAN HAD NO SON AND THAT HER HUSBAND WAS OLD.
SO ELISHA CALLED THE WOMAN AND TOLD HER, “ABOUT THIS TIME NEXT YEAR YOU SHALL EMBRACE A SON.” AND THE WOMAN CONCEIVED AND BORE A SON ABOUT THAT TIME THE NEXT YEAR—JUST AS ELISHA HAD TOLD HER (2 KINGS 4:17).
SOMETIMES THE LORD WILL GIVE US A DIRECTIVE, AN INSTRUCTION, A THOUGHT OR AN IDEA AT A PARTICULAR TIME—JUST LIKE HE DID WITH THE WOMAN OF SHUNEM. IT CAN BE EASY TO DISMISS THOSE THOUGHTS, MAYBE THINKING THEY’RE NOT IMPORTANT; OR WE FORGET BECAUSE OF OUR BUSY LIVES AND MISS AN OPPORTUNITY THAT GOD HAD FOR US. IF THE WOMAN OF SHUNEM HAD NEVER FOLLOWED THRU ON HER PLAN TO SET UP A PLACE FOR ELISHA, SHE WOULD NEVER HAD ANY IDEA WHAT SHE WAS GOING TO MISS OUT ON.
THE CHILD GREW BUT THEN ONE DAY, WHILE HE WAS OUT WITH HIS FATHER, HIS HEAD BEGAN TO HURT. A SERVANT BROUGHT THE BOY TO HIS MOTHER, WHERE HE SAT ON HER KNEES TILL NOON, AND THEN HE DIES (2 KINGS 4:19-20).
THE WOMAN FROM SHUNEM GOES AND LAYS HER DEAD SON ON THE BED SHE PREPARED FOR ELISHA AND SHUT THE DOOR. SHE TELLS HER HUSBAND TO GET A DONKEY SO SHE CAN GO SEE ELISHA. SHE DOES NOT TELL HER HUSBAND THAT THEIR SON IS DEAD, AND THE HUSBAND DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHY SHE WANTS TO SEE ELISHA BECAUSE IT IS NOT THE SABBATH OR THE NEW MOON CELEBRATION TIME.
THE ONLY THING SHE SAYS TO HER HUSBAND IS: IT IS WELL. SO SHE DEPARTED AND WENT TO SEE ELISHA AT MOUNT CARMEL. WHEN SHE SAW HIM, SHE LOWERED HERSELF AND GRABBED HIS FEET. GEHAZI TRIED TO PUSH HER AWAY BUT ELISHA SENSED SHE WAS IN DEEP DISTRESS EVEN THOUGH HE DIDN’T KNOW WHY. FINALLY, SHE SAYS TO ELISHA: DID I ASK A SON OF MY LORD? DID I NOT SAY, DO NOT DECEIVE ME? (2 KINGS 4:28)
AT THIS POINT, ELISHA GIVES DIRECTIONS TO GEHAZI TO TAKE HIS STAFF AND LAY THE STAFF UPON THE FACE OF HER CHILD. GEHAZI WENT AHEAD TO FOLLOW ELISHA’S INSTRUCTIONS BUT THE WOMAN TOLD ELISHA: “AS THE LORD LIVES, AND AS YOUR SOUL LIVES, I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU.”
In all of this, you see this woman of Shunem not letting go of the word of God. To her, Elisha represents the word of God. It was his word that brought her a son. She is not entrusting this word to anyone else. She is staying in faith with the word of God that Elisha gave her.
NOW FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR, THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN. (Hebrews 11:1)
BECAUSE ELISHA IS COMPELLED, HE FOLLOWS HER BACK TO HER HOME. GEHAZI RUNS BACK OUT OF THE HOUSE TO TELL THEM THAT HE FOLLOWED ELISHA’S INSTRUCTIONS BUT THE CHILD DID NOT WAKE.
When Elisha comes into the house, he sees the child lying dead on his bed. Elisha prays, then he went up and laid his body upon the body of that dead child: mouth to mouth, eyes on eyes, hands on hands. He stretched himself out on the child and the child’s flesh became warm. Elisha got up, walked back and forth, stretched himself out on the child again—until the child sneezed 7 times and opened his eyes. Then Elisha calls the woman to pick up her son. But first, the woman from Shunem fell at Elisha’s feet again and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out. (2 Kings 4:36-37)
SO FAR, WE SEE THAT THE WOMAN OF SHUNEM SEIZED AN OPPORTUNITY TO BLESS ELISHA WHICH LED TO HER CONCEIVING A CHILD. NOW WE SEE HER MOVING IN FAITH AND ACTION TO REVIVE THE WORD OF GOD ABOUT HER SON—AND BY DOING SO, SHE RECEIVES A MIRACLE! BUT THERE IS MORE…
The story of the Shunem woman picks back up in 2 Kings 8:1-2:
Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.” 2 So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years.
Elisha gives the woman of Shunem a word that she probably didn’t want to hear—because she had wealth, a home, and a field with crops. How many people would leave all of that behind and take their family and go live where they didn’t want to go? Remember, when Elisha had asked her earlier if she wanted to meet the king, she basically told Elisha that she was content to live on her own land with her own people. Now she’s being told to leave it all behind, except to take her family with her—and the Bible says that she arose and did according to what Elisha told her to do.
Now the famine that Elisha warned the Shunem woman about became so severe that people were eating their own children.
2 Kings 7:26-30 states:
6 Then, as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!”
27 And he said, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I find help for you? From the threshing floor or from the winepress?” 28 Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you?”
And she answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son.”
30 Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes; and as he passed by on the wall, the people looked, and there underneath he had sackcloth on his body.
THE WOMAN FROM SHUNEM IS SAVED FROM WITNESSING ALL THESE HORRORS BECAUSE SHE OBEYED THE WORD OF ELISHA THE PROPHET AND MOVED AWAY.
After 7 years, the Shunem woman returns from the land of the Philistines—and she needs to go to the king and make an appeal to get her house and her land back. The king does not know her, and could have easily rejected her request.
Remember that when the Shunem woman built the upper room for Elisha that he had asked her if she needed him to speak on her behalf to the king (2 Kings 4:13). This gets interesting, because at the time Elisha mentioned this to her, she did not need anyone to speak on her behalf, but it appears that the prophet Elisha had spoken this out based on something she would need in the future…because now, after living 7 years in the Philistine camp, she needs favor with the king of Israel in order to get her house and land back.
Sometimes, it can appear that a word from the Lord given to you doesn’t apply…but it could be that the word is for another time, another situation. This is why it’s important to ask God to give you that Issachar anointing—to understand the times and seasons, and to know what to do in the time that you’re in.
Habakkuk 2:3: For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
What happens next is truly incredible. The Shunem woman goes to see the king to appeal for her house and land. It just so happens that at the very moment this woman goes to see the king, that Gehazi happens to be telling the king about how Elisha raised a boy from the dead.
2 Kings 8:5-6 says:
5 Now it happened, as he was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” 6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him.
Now Elisha’s first request to the woman of Shunem is fulfilled—at the right time and right place.
The king, then, orders her restoration and it’s recorded in 2 Kings 8:6:
So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.”
Let’s think about this: The woman from Shunem understood the times and seasons. At a particular point, she felt like Elisha was a man of God. She began to entreat him by inviting him to have meals in her home. She received nothing for this. Then she went further and had a place built for him in her home so he could rest when he needed too while he travelled. If she had not done those things, she would have:
Never had a child
She probably would have died in the famine that was coming upon the land, ultimately losing everything that she had.
But, the woman from Shunem gets everything back!
God is no respecter of persons. What God did for the woman of Shunem, He will do for us.
Stand upon God’s word, like the woman of Shunem did.
Ask God to give you the ability to know what you are to do in the times that we’re in right now. Do not ignore the thoughts, the directions that Holy Spirit may be giving you that you’ve ignored or not followed thru upon.
Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”
2 Chronicles 20:20
Ask the Lord to restore to you what has been lost.
Joel 2:25 says,
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust,