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Lesson 6: Trusting God? Tell It!

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The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, “Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.” Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land. Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.” 2 Kings 8:4-6a

Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you through this lesson.

By Faith…The Shunammite Woman

A little bit of history

God’s concern for women and their special needs is clearly seen in the Bible. Whereas women were regarded as inferior to men in most ancient Near Eastern societies, God demonstrated His compassion for them in dynamic, recognizable ways. Times were hard, though. Famines were common. The kings were wicked, especially in the Northern Kingdom Israel. Few priests knew how to worship the true God. Elisha, God’s prophet to Israel at this time, ministered in and around Mt. Carmel on the western edge of the Plain of Jezreel—a fruitful farming valley in northwest Israel. Shunem was a little town in this valley.

Getting to know the Shunammite…

1. Read 2 Kings 4:8-17. Since this woman doesn’t have a name other than “Shunammite,” let’s call her “Shuna.”

  • What information is given about Shuna (verse 8)?              
  • What did Shuna think about Elisha, and what did she suggest to her husband that they do for him (verses 9-10)?
  • How did Elisha respond to their generosity (verses 11-13)?
  • What need did she withhold (verse 14)?
  • Hearing about Shuna’s unexpressed need, what does Elisha, as God’s representative, do about it (verses 15-17)?

Shuna and her husband gladly took care of Elisha’s needs. They simply started with a meal, then turned their home into a “Bed and Breakfast” reserved for him whenever he was in town. This gracious gesture supported Elisha’s ministry. Hospitality is a ministry. Women are particularly gifted by God to establish the warmth of a home—emotional and otherwise. Home is wherever you live and can serve as a great ministry tool.

2. Share a time when God has given you opportunity to use your home to minister to someone else.

About 5 or more years later…

3. Read 2 Kings 4:18-37.

  • What crisis was Shuna facing (verses 18-20)?
  • How did she respond to the crisis (verses 21-22)?
  • Elisha represented God to her at this time. When she reached Elisha, what did she do and say (verses 27-28)?
  • How did Elisha respond to seeing her and to her words (verses 25-30)?
  • How was God faithful to Shuna, and how did she respond (verse 37)?

A few years earlier, the prophet Elijah thought he was the only faithful God-worshiper left in Israel. God reassured Elijah that 7,000 people in Israel had not “bowed their knees” to Baal (1 Kings 19:14-18), being faithful to God alone. Perhaps Shuna and her husband came from those 7,000. Living in the midst of wicked Israel, this couple chose to remain faithful to God. God honored their faith by giving them opportunity to respond to His word through Elisha whenever he came to their town.

At least 7 years later…

4. Read 2 Kings 8:1-6.

  • How did God show His faithfulness to Shuna and her family (verses 1-2)?
  • Now, what challenge was she facing (verse 3)?
  • What did the king ask Gehazi to do (verse 4)?
  • While Gehazi was speaking, what happened (verse 5)?
  • How was God faithful to Shuna again (verse 6)?

Israelites could bypass lower officials and appeal directly to the king. Either someone had illegally occupied the woman’s property, or it had fallen to the king’s domain by virtue of its abandonment. King Jehoram was not a good king. Yet, God used this woman’s faith story to move the king’s heart to do what God wanted him to do.

5. Was the woman’s sudden appearance before the king a coincidence? If not, what do you learn about our God?

6. After reading this passage, why do you think God allowed the family in Shunem to experience the crisis in 2 Kings 4?

7. What inspires you about this woman?

Your Faith Walk

8. What situations brought fear into Shuna’s life?

9. How did she respond to God by faith instead?

God loved this woman and her family. He knew what was going on in their lives. He was able to do something about it. But, God did not make the woman’s husband young again nor did God prevent her from enduring barrenness for a time. He didn’t prevent the famine from affecting their family. During her walk, a loving God said no to some things. Yet, she chose to trust Him rather than submit to fear. And, He rewarded her faith with an outpouring of His blessing on her family. Likewise, God may not choose to fix your crisis so you experience no pain. But, in any and all situations, you can count on these truths…

#1 God loves me.

#2 God knows what is going on in my life.

#3 God can do something about it.

#4 I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!

That’s your walk from fear to faith.

Journal Your Faith Story

God gave this woman a story of His faithfulness to her, and He gave her opportunity to share it with an ungodly king! Her faith led her to love God and His Word then led her to seek help from God in a time of pain and crisis. She learned to trust God.

10. Read Hebrews 4:14-16. While there are times when family and friends can help us, God wants us to bring our deepest needs to Him alone. Describe the last time you faced a crisis that only God could handle. Were you able to trust Him with the outcome? What happened? How was He faithful to you in this crisis?

Faith-in-Action: “Declare God’s Faithfulness”

Have you been in a really dark place with not even a glimmer of light? When you are in total darkness, you look for light from any source, don’t you? You see that light and follow it to get out of the darkness. That’s what God does for us—He calls us out of darkness into His wonderful light. And, He uses us as light-bearers to declare His faithfulness and lead other people to Him.

Light-bearers declare God’s faithfulness

We are God’s dearly loved children who can be light-bearers to anyone still living in darkness.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

You and I are chosen to be God’s mouthpiece to the world around us. Our purpose is to declare what He has done in our own lives to those who cannot see the light. God’s plan to meet that need for every woman is…Himself through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus Is the Light of the World

Our God sent His Son Jesus into the world to lead the way out of the darkness. Jesus declared Himself to be the light of the world, giving sight to the spiritually blind (John 9). But, He chooses to use us—frail, faltering, headstrong, often self-centered humans—to be his light-bearers and love messengers to the blind and fearful people we see!

We are the light-bearers. We communicate to those around us who are enshrouded in darkness that God is real and available to anyone who wants Him. That’s the good news, “The Gospel.”

The Gospel—good news about God’s faithfulness

Christianity is Christ! It’s all about a relationship with Him.

“Jesus Christ laid down His life for you so that he could give His life to you so that he could live His life through you.” (Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ)

If you have opportunity to tell someone one thing, tell her about Jesus.

  • Tell her that God loves her and wants a relationship with her, but sin separates her from God’s love.
  • Tell her that Jesus is God, who came to earth as a man, and died for her sins.
  • Tell her that she can be completely forgiven of her sins and receive eternal life with God by believing in Jesus as her Savior.

Declare your story of God’s faithfulness

People love to hear stories. As you have learned to trust God’s goodness in whatever is causing you fear, and journaled about it at the end of the lessons, you now have a story to share. Sharing your story is a simple way to speak about God’s love for you and how He works in your life. You can bring hope to someone who needs it.

How did you first hear about Jesus? Someone told you, right? We get that awesome privilege of sharing that good news with others. There is such joy in reaching out to those who do not know Jesus and introducing them to Him so they can know Him just as you now know Him.

Think of it this way: Imagine you had cancer and were chosen to be part of a special test group for a new cure. The treatment cured all of your cancer completely free of charge. What is the first thing you would do after you were healed? You would blast it all over Facebook, telling all of the other cancer victims about this great cure! Well, sin is a cancer affecting every single person. And you have been cured—forgiven of your sins—by your faith in Jesus Christ.

Do you remember how you felt before you believed in Jesus? Maybe you felt lonely, guilty, and without hope. Maybe you were afraid. You have a story to share about your walk from fear to faith. Your story illustrates the power of God in your life, His faithfulness to you that helps you let go of your fear and trust His goodness. You do not need to be an expert in the Bible or have years of experience knowing Christ. Just share what you know.

And as you declare God’s faithfulness to you on your walk from fear to faith, be sure to include the four truths you have learned that are essential to faith:

#1 God loves me.

#2 God knows what is going on in my life.

#3 God can do something about it.

#4 I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!

God will continue to show His faithfulness to you as you walk from fear to faith.

Reflect

11. God gave this woman a story of His faithfulness to her, and He gave her opportunity to share it with an ungodly king! God has given you a story to tell of His faithfulness to you. Review the various parts of your story that you have already written in the lessons. Choose one or two to expand into your story to share of your faith walk with God, especially your “Walk from Fear to Faith.” Write it out now. Think in terms of what you can share in about 5 minutes.

Pray

Ask God to give you opportunities to share your story!

For a more detailed study of these and other Old Testament women, check out the Everyday Women, Ever Faithful God study.

Related Topics: Faith, Women's Articles, World Religions

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