Thursday, January 27, 2011

Keeping the Chamber Ready

2 Kings 4:8-37 tells the story of the Shunammite woman, a woman the Bible refers to as a "great woman" in verse 8 and Elisha. This woman (we never learn her name) saw Elisha pass and constrained him to come and eat bread with them. She didn't just ask, she insisted. After that, Elisha would stop whenever he passed that way and eat with them.

This woman saw that Elisha was "a holy man of God" and she decided to make a chamber there for them in the wall and to furnish it for his comfort so that he could rest there when he passed by.

She never knew when he might be passing that way, but she obviously kept that chamber prepared for him in case he were to visit.

One day when he was visiting he had Gehazi his servant call her to the room and as she stood before him he asked her what she wanted, but she would not tell him. Elisha asked Gehazi what to do for her and he told him that the woman had no child and her husband was old.

So Elisha had her called back and she stood in the doorway of the chamber she had prepared.

He told her she would have a son about a year from then.

She responded, "Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.

A year later she had a son.

And that son grew and grew until he was old enough to go into the fields with his father.

While in the fields with him one day the boy became sick complaining of his head hurting and was carried back to his mother who held him in her lap until around noontime when he died.

What did she do when that promise died?

Did she scream, cry, fall in the floor in hysterics?

No, not quite.

She took that promise and laid it on the bed of the man of God and shut the door.

She called her husband to have him get a chariot ready and have one of the young men take her to the man of God.

Her husband wanted to know why she was going to see him now and her only reply was, "It SHALL be well."

Elisha saw her coming in the distance and he told Gehazi to go meet her and see if everything was well with her, her husband and the child.

Her reply was, "It is well."

When she finally got the Elisha she "caught" his feet and as Gehazi came to pull her off Elisha told him to let her alone because he knew something was wrong.

She finally said, "Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?"

Elisha told Gehazi to go and take his staff, and not to stop for any reason, and then lay the staff on the boy's face.

But the woman was not going to let it go at that. She didn't get the promise from Gehazi, she had gotten it from Elisha.

Verses 31-37 tell the rest of the story:

And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the lord, and he went up , and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

I have heard this message preached by some great men. Most recently, I heard Bro. Cody Marks preach this titled: "What Do You Do With A Dead Promise."

I think the point he brought out that has so changed me was the fact that this woman that the Bible refers to as a "great woman" took it upon herself to build a room for the man of God and obviously she kept that chamber ready for him at all times because she knew he was a man of God and when he passed by she wanted him to STAY.

After she received that son that he had promised her she didn't forsake that chamber just because she had gotten what she wanted. We know this because when her promised son died she placed him in that room WHERE THE PROMISE WAS MADE!

When he died she went back to where the promise came from.

Now, I am going to be real here for a minute. I have to be honest and say that within the last year with all that has gone on in my life I might have allowed some stuff into my chamber that cluttered it up. I haven't been as diligent about keeping it ready as I should be.

Oh, he could have gotten in there, but there may have been a little dust on the table, and maybe the linens on the bed were not as fresh as they could have been.

God has made me some specific promises in my life, and the other night after a TREMENDOUS service He dealt with me about them.

"I will keep my promises, but there are things in your life that you know you should be doing better. You take care of those things, I will take care of my promises."

And then I heard this message and I knew it was for me.

I have got to get the broom out, break out the duster and freshen the linens, because when He passes by, I don't want Him to look into the chamber in my life I have prepared for His presence to dwell in and it not be prepared for Him to stay.

When He comes by me, I want Him to stay awhile.

And when I find myself holding on to a dead promise I want to have that place ready so that I can take that promise back to where it came from.

God, sweep the corners of my heart, continue to work in my life. I want to be ready when You come by here, I want to ALWAYS be prepared for You.

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