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2 Kings 4:8-37, Elisha Raises the Shunammite’s Son

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

Then he got up on the bed and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and while he lay bent over him, the flesh of the child became warm. He got down, walked once to and fro in the room, then got up again and bent over him; the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 
— 2 Kings 4:33-34

NL Daily Devotion for Thursday, November 8, 2018

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by Daniel D. Maurer, Clergy Stuff


Today’s reading is one of those examples of what frequently happens to me when I’m reading the Bible—I forget some of the great stories contained in it!

I know I’ve read this passage before, but, for the life of me, it felt like I was reading it again for the first time.

What’s particularly interesting is that many Christians believe that Jesus was the only one able to bring back someone from the dead. However, here we have Elisha doing just that.

Perhaps the power of God isn’t contained or constrained by a particular time, person, or place. But God shows God’s power when we need to see it.

The problem with that sort of thinking, though, is for all of the parents who have lost a child. Why can’t another “man of God” or spiritual person raise those children to life?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I continue to search and I invite you to do the same within these Narrative Lectionary daily devotional readings.


Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:

2 Kings 4:8-37

Elisha Raises the Shunammite’s Son

One day Elisha was passing through Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to have a meal. So whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for a meal. She said to her husband, ‘Look, I am sure that this man who regularly passes our way is a holy man of God. Let us make a small roof chamber with walls, and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that he can stay there whenever he comes to us.’

One day when he came there, he went up to the chamber and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Call the Shunammite woman.’ When he had called her, she stood before him. He said to him, ‘Say to her, Since you have taken all this trouble for us, what may be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’ She answered, ‘I live among my own people.’ He said, ‘What then may be done for her?’ Gehazi answered, ‘Well, she has no son, and her husband is old.’ He said, ‘Call her.’ When he had called her, she stood at the door. He said, ‘At this season, in due time, you shall embrace a son.’ She replied, ‘No, my lord, O man of God; do not deceive your servant.’

The woman conceived and bore a son at that season, in due time, as Elisha had declared to her.

When the child was older, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. He complained to his father, ‘Oh, my head, my head!’ The father said to his servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.’ He carried him and brought him to his mother; the child sat on her lap until noon, and he died. She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, closed the door on him, and left. Then she called to her husband, and said, ‘Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, so that I may quickly go to the man of God and come back again.’ He said, ‘Why go to him today? It is neither new moon nor sabbath.’ She said, ‘It will be all right.’ Then she saddled the donkey and said to her servant, ‘Urge the animal on; do not hold back for me unless I tell you.’So she set out, and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, ‘Look, there is the Shunammite woman; run at once to meet her, and say to her, Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is the child all right?’ She answered, ‘It is all right.’ When she came to the man of God at the mountain, she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi approached to push her away. But the man of God said, ‘Let her alone, for she is in bitter distress; the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me.’ Then she said, ‘Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, Do not mislead me?’ He said to Gehazi, ‘Gird up your loins, and take my staff in your hand, and go. If you meet anyone, give no greeting, and if anyone greets you, do not answer; and lay my staff on the face of the child.’ Then the mother of the child said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave without you.’ So he rose up and followed her. Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. He came back to meet him and told him, ‘The child has not awakened.’

When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. So he went in and closed the door on the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. Then he got up on the bed and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and while he lay bent over him, the flesh of the child became warm. He got down, walked once to and fro in the room, then got up again and bent over him; the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, ‘Call the Shunammite woman.’ So he called her. When she came to him, he said, ‘Take your son.’ She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground; then she took her son and left.

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