Tuesday, December 20, 2011

benefits of heeding God's Word

And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed an official for her, saying, "Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now."
2 Kings 8:6

When you read the interplay between the kings and the prophets, you are struck by the way the kings had an adversarial relationship with the men God was using to speak His Word. Most of the kings only listened to the prophets when it was convenient. And this is particularly true of Elisha's ministry. Yet God went out of His way to show that those who honored the prophets would be honored by Him.

The outstanding example is the unnamed Shunammite woman. We know some facts about her. She and her husband were wealthy (2 Kings 4:8). They owned fields and were substantial farmers in their home town. At one point she was childless and God blessed her with a son out of gratitude for her family's care of Elisha. God even restored her dead son to her after she sought out Elisha's help.

Elisha warned this Shunammite woman of a severe famine. She left her livelihood and land holdings in Israel for Philistia while the seven year famine ravaged the land. By precedent, her home and fields ceded to royal control. She must have been a widow at this point. Her husband does not come to the king, and Gehazi's story centers exclusively on her.

So moved was the king of Israel by her story that he did the unthinkable. He deeded all her land holdings back to her (woman did not get to own property in that culture) AND he generously gave her a portion of stored food from the royal storehouses equal to seven years of crop production on the land. God's grace came upon her again by her obedience to the Word of the Lord through the prophet. It was as if she had never left her home.

The simple truth is that God rewards obedience to His Word. And the benefits are often more than we can imagine. That is a principle worth emulating from the woman who listened when kings would not!

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