Being Restored by Christ
By David Ibrahim
Somebody once told me that in the Old Testament there is only one character; and that character is Christ. For the first time however, I read a part of the Old Testament where I found Christ in every verse and in fact He asks us a question in almost every verse. Today’s passage, 2 Kings 4:8-35, is all about our relationship with Christ. With that lens, let’s read this text verse by verse.
v8: The notable woman from Shenum invited Elisha into her house for food every time he passed by. Like Elisha, Christ is always passing by in my life. The first question is, am I like the woman eagerly inviting Him in or do I just allow Him to pass by me.
v9-11: Now we see the woman’s invitation becoming more eager. Rather than just invite him for food, she has now reserved “an upper room” for every time Elisha passes by Shenum. Actually the upper room of a house was the place where people would go to cool down and even that she sacrificed. The second question is; do I go out of my way to make Christ feel welcome in my heart or again am I relaxed when it comes to welcoming Christ.
v12-17: When asked “Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?” the woman replied “I dwell among my own people.” What a remarkable response! She is pretty much telling Elisha it’s enough that a holy man is residing in my house. A lot of times we will serve God and even expect something in return. However this woman portrays to us a quality that is sweeter; seeking God’s holy men just for God. So the third question Christ asks us is do you seek me for who I am or for a reward?
v18-20: Is this fair what happened to the woman? Is it fair that she loses the gift she didn’t even ask for? It said at the beginning of the verse that the child grew. In this context, the Hebrew word implies that he was just learning how to walk. From now on, let us view the child as the gift of spirituality that is a result of our relationship with Christ. If we reflect on our own spirituality, we will find that as it starts to grow, sin enters and it dies out. So the question that is asked to us now is, what do I do if I am spiritually dead?
v21: This is the first response. Here we see the woman laying her dead child on Elisha’s bed. If Elisha is a type of Christ, then the bed is symbolic of the altar. So the first response is that I present myself to Christ’s altar.
v22-25: The woman told her husband to send a donkey and servants so that she can meet Elisha. Immediately, the husband asked why, today is not a holy day? Of course the husband said this because he was grieving over his son but doesn’t Satan try to do this to us as well? Whenever we are trying to resurrect our spiritual life, doesn’t the devil come in asking why? In fact, he often tells us to either delay repentance or he puts thoughts in our minds that we are not worthy of forgiveness. What is my response when I am spiritually dead? Do I seek after holiness in meeting holy men of God (the priest) like the woman or do I listen to Satan’s attempt to prohibit me from meeting Christ?
v26-30: We see here a very strong parallel between the sinner woman of the New Testament and this Shunamite woman. Both were in deep distress, clinged to the feet of a holy man of God and in both instances there was a person that was trying to prohibit them from meeting Christ (Elisha was a type of Christ). The Shunamite woman’s response is remarkable. She says to Elisha in verse 30 As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. Is this my attitude in repentance? If Satan tries to stop me, do I give in or do I hold onto Christ for dear life? This is the third response, to stick to Christ like glue.
v31-35: St Augustine has a really nice commentary on this verse. He says Elisha came in person; he was a type of our Lord who had sent His servant ahead of Him with a staff that represents the law… The dead child arose when the living man had fitted himself to him; the Lord accomplished what the staff had failed to do; grace achieved what the Law could not. It’s in these verses that we begin to see Christ’s response to my repentance. The first thing Elisha did was he stretched himself out on the child, mouth on mouth, eye on eye, etc. The fathers say that in the same way that the big man Elisha tried to fit himself on the child’s body, so also Christ the Divine, incarnated and “fit” Himself in the human flesh. The second step was that Elisha rose walked back and forth in the house. Again the fathers say that this was symbolic of Christ walking to the different cities preaching the Gospel. The third step was that Elisha went out again and stretched himself on the child again and of course this alludes to the crucifixion. After all of this, the child who was once dead sneezed seven times and his eyes were opened. Elisha’s actions resulted in the complete rising of the child (seven representing completion). What does this mean for me? When I am truly repentant, the power of Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection is manifested and I am once again raised from spiritual death. Not only that, but I become a part of Him, “his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands” verse 34. This is the victory Christ gives us when we turn back to Him in repentance.
In our relationship with Christ, we will often encounter moments where we are spiritually dead. Like the child we become immovable and paralysed by our sin. However, when we come to Christ in true repentance, clinging onto Him, an immense Divine power is manifested and we are once again made alive in the body of Christ. May we always return back to the source of life and healing so that we may be eternally united with Him in the Paradise of Joy.
Glory be to God Amen.