“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
One day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a rich and influential woman lived, who insisted on his eating a meal. Afterward, whenever he passed by, he stopped there for a meal. 9 And she said to her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God who passes by continually. 10 Let us make a small chamber on the [housetop] and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. Then whenever he comes to us, he can go [up the outside stairs and rest] here. 11 one day he came and turned into the chamber and lay there. 12 And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 And he said to Gehazi, Say now to her, You have been most painstakingly and reverently concerned for us; what is to be done for you? Would you like to be spoken for to the king or to the commander of the army? She answered, I dwell among my own people [they are sufficient]. 14 Later Elisha said, What then is to be done for her? Gehazi answered, She has no child and her husband is old. 15 He said, Call her. [Gehazi] called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 Elisha said, At this season when the time comes round, you shall embrace a son. She said, No, my lord, you man of God, do not lie to your handmaid. 17 But the woman conceived and bore a son at that season the following year, as Elisha had said to her. 2 Kings 4:8-17 AMP
Shunem was a city in the tribe of Issachar that lay in the road between Samaria and Carmel, a road that Elisha often traveled. One day as Elisha passed through town, a rich and influential woman who lived there insisted that he stopped for a meal at her house. She did not give him an opportunity to say no thank you — she would not take no for an answer — she was going to be a blessing to him whether he liked it or not. Fortunately, he liked it. And after that, when ever he passed by, he stopped there for a meal.
She was not only rich and influential, but she was obviously deeply committed to the Lord. She recognized that Elisha was a prophet of the Most High God and, out of respect for God, she desired to be a blessing to his prophet. She asked her husband for permission to provide a special room furnished with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, exclusively for Elisha’s use. Not only did she feed him, but she provided a private accommodation for him to use any time he needed it. This woman did not do this with any ulterior motives. She did not do this so that she could brag to her friends that the prophet stayed in her house. She did this because she loved God, she recognized his messenger, and she simply wanted to bless the prophet, and in so doing, she blessed the Lord. She did not expect anything from Elisha in return, she simply did what she felt was right.
One day while Elisha was lying upon his bed, in the rich woman’s house, he began to wonder what he could do for her. I believe that the Holy Spirit stirred him up to begin to think about it. He had some political influence and so he asked her if there was anything that he could do for her. He offered to use his influence for her in the king’s court, but she politely declined. She did not need favor from man — she was already well connected politically. What she did desire — only God could give her!
If Elisha could not intervene for her in the courts of men, he wondered if he could intervene on her behalf in the courts of heaven. Elisha servant, Gehazi, thought he knew what she needed and told Elisha. She was married, but had no children, and now her husband was old. Obviously it was very painful for her that she had borne no children, but she had had to give up on that dream. She put it behind her and went on with her life and yet, deep down in her heart, the desire was still there. So Elisha told her that at the same time next year she would hold a son. She became very emotional and said to the prophet, “Please don’t mess with my emotions — only speak the truth to me because I cannot bear to be disappointed once again after all this time.” Sure enough, the next year, against all odds her son was born.
Many times people only do what’s right in order to impress other people and to be seen of man. Often they will only bless those who can bless them in return and do them some special favor. Before they do anything they always ask, “What’s in it for me?” They are selfishly motivated and they will never have the blessing of God on their life. Because the Shunammite woman honored God by being a blessing to his prophet, God went out of his way to bless her and to give her the secret desire of her heart. She did not pursue recognition or a reward — she pursued God — therefore God stirred up his prophet to speak out her heart’s desire and He blessed her with a baby boy — something that was impossible in the natural!
When you go out of your way to bless God and to be a blessing to His people — then he will pursue you and go out of His way to give you the desires of your heart — even if they are impossible in the natural!