Episode 9: Choose Faith as a Lifestyle – Part 1
God never intended for faith to be relegated to Sunday mornings.
His desire is for it to flow into every day of the week, and for it to stretch beyond the church building, and into our home.
God’s word proves to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our way when it comes to living this truth.
Join me as we study the pattern provided to us through the life of the Shunamite woman.
If you’ve been around long, you know this is a place purposed to move us out of motions, checklists and Sunday morning faith – and into authentic daily walking, not just hearing, but doing faith that catapults us into the life of purpose that God desires for us.
I’m not sure that there is any better way to look that the results produced by a lifestyle like this than the Shunamite Woman
The Shunamite Woman
It’s ok if there are crickets right now. What I am finding is that hardly anyone knows this radical, nameless woman.
She is someone you have GOT to know. Her life lesson is one that every person that desires true relationship with God needs to study out. If you’re like me you can’t read her story, check the box, and move on. You’ll miss a whole lot of depth if you do. We’re going to pack and unpacking her. We’ll lay her story out on a table, and examine it from all different sides to see all God has packed into this short albeit power packed snippet of scripture.
A Deep Dive
Over the next few episodes we are going to take a deep deep dive into this woman and explore how this little known nameless woman and the lesson of her life has the ability to radically take us to that authentic soul satisfying relationship with God we all are desperately yearning for, and desperately need to embrace if we are ever going to be able to become the vessel God is calling us to be.
Before we dive into her, we’ve got to do some backtracking and set things up a bit.
In the New Testament – Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy – 3:16
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”
Paul was penning the words. God was the author of the words. Because this statement is made, we need to understand that every bit is in there for a reason. It lets us know even the lives recorded whether named or unnamed are in there for a reason.
I love Character studies, and digging to see why did God put this person in his word?
Often my approach to studying the Bible includes…
Reading over the scripture, looking at it; asking, and praying, digging to see. What does this teach me, why would God include it – and how can I apply it. This year specifically as I’m approaching it I’m really asking God to show me how I can see him specifically. Jesus is all throughout the Bible. I want to see him all the way through it. Praying and asking – How do I see you in this?
Approaching the Bible like this is so helpful. It opens our eyes to see amazing things that God is teaching through each life that’s included.
Sometimes we look toward the Bible, and our mind instantly goes to the powerful things that men have done. We tend to look to their lives and minimize the power of our own. Thinking something like – I’m not slaying any physical giants. I’m not up against an army like Gideon. I’m not leading like Paul. We minimize our impact thinking because we are a woman that we are limited in our impact.
As women though:
We have to keep in mind the second part of what we learn in Genesis Chapter 3. As a result of sin we are told our husband will have rule over us. We are called to be subject to them. To be obedient to our husband. Whether we have a husband or not as women that was still spoken over our lives. At times we can come against that thinking that a man’s position is superior. We may want to challenge it, oppose it. We can take on a mentality that desires their position negating our own.
But God’s desire when he spoke that to Eve wasn’t judgement. Just like their expulsion from the Garden wasn’t punishment — it was protection, teaching them about the grace of their God. This positioning of Eve was meant as a way of bring about repentance in her. He was teaching her something really beautiful about obedience, which is a picture of our relationship to God.
He put her in the hands of a loving husband. We miss that because of what we see played out in relationships today. Often we see people mistreat each other. That wasn’t what Adam and Eve lived at all. There was power in Eve’s obedience here. Much the same, we’re going to find there is power in the obedience of the Shunamite Woman.
We want to be obedient to the position God has created us for. To really live our purpose as God desires, we have to learn to embrace our womanhood. Doing so requires some digging, and learning – Looking to His Word to ask how does God define us? What does He have to say about us…
As we study the lives of Biblical women that attitude begins to be peeled back. You really start to see women in scripture shine – and the appetite to learn about them, and our desire to surrender to our placement in God’s Kingdom is increased.
I ran into the Shunamite woman when I decided I really wanted to get to know the Bible for myself. What piqued my curiosity about her is that she’s nameless. Some say the fact that she is nameless is because God doesn’t think that women are important. That’s easy to buy into until you dig into the Bible to see, there are remarkable things written about nameless women in scripture.
Other Nameless Women
The Wise Woman of Abel – acted quickly- evil came to her city and she stood as an intercessor and saved her city
The Widow of Zarephath – facing starvation she shows hospitality to one of God’s prophets
The Woman of Samaria – The woman who Jesus broke through cultural barriers to reveal himself to
The Woman who lived a sinful life – known sinner – rather than defending herself she admits her sin and Jesus steps in as defender.
The Woman with the issue of Blood – Desperate for a healing she defied conventions of the day to reach for Jesus and when she did she received her healing.
The Syrophoenician woman – A Gentile whose daughter needed a healing. She’s the woman that Jesus says – It’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the little dogs. Her response to him shows amazing faith and moves Jesus to heal her daughter from Spiritual bondage.
The Widow with two coins. She surrendered everything she had to God – and completely trusted him as her provider.
There are way more, but that’s where I’m stopping. Names are important to us, but there is really only one name that is important and that ‘s Jesus. SO we can’t let the fact that some women don’t have names taint our view of God or our position.
God doesn’t give us a name for these women on purpose – but He’s placed them in scripture. He gives us the message of their life. I love how looking at them shows us a reminder, we aren’t working to build a name for ourselves. We’re working to build a name for Jesus – Their life reflects him.
When I approach scripture, I like to dig into the background and take note:
what book is it part of, where is it taking place, who is part of the message. This helps get my wits about me before digging in.
Approaching her this way we find…
The Shunamite Woman – 2 Kings 4 & 8 – High level. Her son dies and the prophet of God brings him back to life.
What book is she found in….
Kings is a historical record of the Kings that ruled over Israel and Judah. We don’t know who the writer is, but more than likely it was a historian from the tribe of Judah.
We’re no longer in the rule of Judges. The Israelites rejected God’s plan, and the separation God was calling them into. They said they wanted to be like the nations around them. God gave them what they wanted with the first King being Saul.
What we see played out in this overarching theme; Kings struggling to rule, often falling into sin. We see God raising up Prophets challenging the people to return to the plan God had laid out. Again – he’s sending a rescuer. We see this trend of the people continue where they are wavering, and inconsistent when it comes to following him. And we see God’s consistent trend of trying draw his people to repentance.
Who are the Shunamite people… We hear Shunam/Shunamites mentioned several times In scripture – we find Abishag – she was the young woman who was brought to minister to King David – Shunamite Woman – Shulamite in Song of Solomon – Solomon loved the Shulamite. Shunamite is a female inhabitant of Shunam.
Where is Shunam
Shunam to Mt Carmel 15-20 mile distance would have taken about a day to travel. Keep that in mind as we study her…
Who is involved in this piece of scripture –
Shunamite, Elisha, Gehazi, Her husband.
For anyone not familiar or needs a refresher on Elisha, we need to get an idea of who he is in order to really grasp some of what this nameless woman teaches us.
He’s a man of God. He’s a prophet. Elijah was his mentor – Elijah is one of the two men of the Bible that never died. He’s taken up to Heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha asks him for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah says yes – as long as you see me when I’m taken. Elisha sees the chariots from heaven swoop down and taken him up. The request is granted, and we see him do astonishing things. He multiplies the poor widow’s cruse of oil. He multiples 20 loaves of new barley to feed 100 men. Involved in the curing of Naaman the Syrian of leprosy, even after he has been dead. A dead body is laid in Elisha’s grave. The body touches Elisha’s and the dead man is revived, and stood up on his feet.
Elisha paints a picture for us of Jesus. There are many parallels between Elisha and Jesus, and there are also parallels he paints for us between Elisha and the Disciples. The things he did pail in comparison to what Jesus did, but when you study his life you can’t help but see similarities. When we see these similarities – the life of the Shunamite woman begins to go from surface level momentary miracle, to a radical lifestyle shift that proved to lay a foundation for this miracle to happen.
Understanding he paints a couple of different pictures for us is important. For the purpose of this study I want us to see him for the parallels that exist between him and Jesus.
That wraps up what I wanted to dive into with the first episode of this series. Guys I cannot even tell you how excited I am about this series. Thank you for hanging out and walk through this with me…
Knowing this background information allows us to take our study from surface level to a deep rooted understanding. This will make the personal application easier to see.
So there you have it, the background information that paves the way to our next episode.
To prep for our next episode – Take what we discussed today with you. If you need to refer back listen again, or checkout the show notes!
And in the meantime…
Grab a notebook – and begin to dive in to 2 Kings Chapter 4. But before you dive in and start to read – do yourself a favor – pray first… prayer before Bible reading is a necessity. We don’t want to try to figure out God’s word with out inviting Him. He is the author of it all. We want him to order our thoughts, unlock our understanding, and magnify our takeaways.
When it comes to scripture Repetition unlocks revelation. Don’t just read over her once. Read over her multiple times – and meditate on what you read.
Too often scripture meditation is coupled with a mentality that thinks it’s something weird or awkward – or impossible.
I challenge to see you are already well versed in that art of meditation. Think for a second…
You meditate on your last argument with your spouse. Or what you’re going to say to them about the trash not being taken out, AGAIN. You might even rehearse conversations in your mind. The kind you want to have – or those you wish would have gone differently. You know countless lyrics to endless songs. You’ve memorized numerous movie lines, and can readily quote them at the most opportune time.
All of this requires meditation. Meditation is defined as focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity. When we look at it like this, that weird awkward association is thrown straight out the window. The barrier is removed, and we see scripture meditation as something we can certain take on.
When we do — and we couple it with that repetition… we find….
It’s awe inspiring, how you can look at the same piece of scripture time and time again and different things stand out to you each time. It solidifies for us that the Word of God is alive –serving as a well that never runs dry.
There is always more to learn about Him. This is a lifetime relationship and consistent pursuit of our Heavenly King. I can’t wait to dive in next time, to learn what he’s teaching us in the life of this Shunamite woman.
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