The Bible never identifies her name or what she looked like, but it beautifully describes the caliber of woman she was. In 2 Kings 4 it tells us that she lived in a place called Shunem, she highly respected her husband, and she was virtuous like the woman described in Proverbs 31. Oh, what a multitude of lessons this one lady, named by the Bible as The Shunamite woman can teach us all.
This powerful story speaks of a man of God named Elisha who visited in her town often. When he made stops in town, she always invited him in and fed him. She perceived that Elisha was a true man of God, so she asked her husband for permission to make a room for him to rest in for the times he travelled by their way. So that they did.
By inviting Elisha in, this woman was honoring the God that was in him. She was welcoming Jesus so to speak to rest in her home on a continual basis. Her honor wasn’t for Elisha necessarily but, for the Jesus he carried. She made room for Jesus despite her busy life, her worries, and her cares. This was because she sensed an unspeakable favor on His life.
Since the woman had shown such honor to Elisha, he then asked his servant Gehazi if there was anything they could do for her. Gehazi informed Elisha that the woman was barren and her husband was up in years. They called unto the woman and in verse 16 Elisha says to her, “Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms.” The woman became fruitful just as Elisha had spoken. She conceived and bare a precious son. All because of the room she made for him and the honor she showed him.
Many times worries of life overtake, distract, and cause us to fail to keep our prayer life strong. When in reality these life issues should cause a harder push in prayer on our part. Worry will come, troubles will ensue, and pushing in prayer will feel impossible at times. But, being silent and not praying is exactly what the thief (satan) wants. Remember, Jesus even says in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” To continually rest in Jesus will cause a peace unexplainable. To believe and trust Jesus won’t fail you no matter your circumstances is to live in a place called, “peace”.
Shunem, the place the Shunamite woman lived means “double resting place” and it represents living under the favor and presence of God. She found herself in the very presence of God because she was not too busy with her life worries to make room for Him. No where does it mention that she told Elisha of her inability to bare a child. She didn’t let her problems become bigger than her purpose to show honor and attention to God.
Take a look around you, this world is justifiably consumed with worry. Yet, God wants His children to put on the full armor, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11. Whether you believe it or not, we are in a war, a holy war. But, before you even begin to feel scared, might I remind you that we are the victors? The only way you can be overtaken is if you allow the enemy to overtake you. Jesus has already won the war. One of our many tasks is to remind the enemy of that truth.
If you don’t come to recognize the authority that God has given you as his child then you will live in fear of everything. The enemy only has power over those who don’t realize who they are in Christ Jesus. This realization or perhaps revelation of who Jesus is and that He dwells in you is so life altering.
The most dedicated of Christians can still have an identity problem. You may believe in Jesus, you may even have faith and hope in Him because of what the Bible says. But, until you realize that He is very alive and His Word can live through you, you are of no threat to the enemy.
God has given us such an authority to push back the powers of hell in our lives and the lives of those around us. Just as Jesus did. This doesn’t make problems obsolete. But, it does make them bow to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Your commitment and true passion to prayer causes the powers of hell to stand at attention. Proclaim the power God has given you through salvation! It is truth, it is firm, and it is your only sure foundation.
Just as the Shunamite woman, you have to recognize who Jesus is. Then, you must make room for Him in your life through prayer. Not for two weeks, not for two months, but daily. Elisha had a permanent place in the Shunamite’s home. He was welcome at any time.
Jesus desires a permanent and intimate place in our homes as well. Relationship, prayer, seeking, and hungering for Him are all tools to develop you into who He always intended for you to be. You will never outgrow your “bended knees”.
It was always in God’s design for us to live and dwell with Him and it will forever be in our God-given yearning to make room for Jesus.
This article is based off of a sermon preached by my wonderful husband, Joshua E. Willoughby.