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Reaping Death, a Trial of Our Faith

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For Our Admonition Part 7

“Reaping Death, a Trial of Our Faith”

Key Verses:  2Ki 4:18 – 4:28

We now continue with the events regarding the Shunammite woman (Click Here for earlier study).  This is the second mention in the Bible of death that will be followed by a resurrection to life. We will cover the death portion of the story and the mother’s response in seeking out Elisha this week and the details of the boy’s resurrection in our next study. There are multiple facets to the story with multiple characters and many spiritual lessons that all have applications to our life and our walk with God (1Co 3:21).

2Ki 4:18  And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. 

2Ki 4:19  And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. 

2Ki 4:20  And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. 

2Ki 4:21  And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. 

2Ki 4:22  And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. 

2Ki 4:23  And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him today? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well. 

2Ki 4:24  Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee. 

2Ki 4:25  So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: 

2Ki 4:26  Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well. 

2Ki 4:27  And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. 

2Ki 4:28  Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? 

This parable (Hos 12:10) is about a young one in the faith, one that has not yet been given dominion to die to this world and instead is overcome and dies spiritually.  This is all of us in our time.  Dominion over sin only comes by and follows our first being slain and overcome.  Thus, the first half of our witness for Christ ends in the wrong kind of death.

Rev 11:7  When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.

The glorification of Christ in us requires that we first die, yet there are two aspects, the positive and the negative side of spiritual death (Heb 4:11).  First, we die spiritually and our overcome by sin and secondly as we are judged we are given the ability to rise up, overcome and begin to die to the lusts of the flesh.  Before we can reap the spiritual blessing of death to the flesh, we reap the wages of our sin (anything not of faith).

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death (spiritual death – negative type); but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The bearing of fruit unto eternal life requires Christ to come again for judgment bringing the fire to chasten us and quicken us by grace poured out through our faith.

Tit 2:11  For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

Tit 2:12  teaching (chastening) us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

As the Israel of God, our reaping of death via our sins gives Christ the occasion to come cleanse His Temple (1Co 3:16) and glorify His Name within us (Eze 36:23).  Christ (Elisha) returns a second time after we spiritually die to bring salvation from our sins.

Heb 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 

Heb 9:28  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Only then can we begin to die in the Lord, losing our life to this world and bearing the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Heb 12:11, Rev 14:13).  The Lord wastes nothing even using our evil for good in bringing salvation and teaching us righteousness (Jer 2:19).

Luk 5:31  … They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.

Luk 5:32  I came not to call the righteous, but (DEAD) sinners to repentance

Rom 7:5  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

The son is the woman’s offspring of her faith or said another way the renewing mindset growing within us (aka the new man).  The son comes to us by the prophesy of the Lord’s priests and prophets, in this case Elisha, a type of Christ, and representation of the Body of Christ in every age.  Faith comes by hearing (Rom 10:17) the Word spoken by God’s Elect that imparts faith to those prepared to hear those words.

2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 

The child grew meaning the child matured spiritually and that led to an appointed day where the Lord begins seeking the occasion to come again to mature us even more.  He does this by causing us to err from His ways (Isa 63:17, Jdg 14:14) to reap the wages of  sin that lies hidden in our fleshly members.

Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

The reaping of the Lord’s harvest comes at the end of the age (Greek word -AION) of us being carnally minded.  The angels of the Lord are the reapers meaning the Body of Christ which is the fire by which the man is harvested, and the old man is, was and will be destroyed.  Christ tells of this mystery in the explanation of the wheat and the tares.

Mat 13:40  As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

Mat 13:41  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

Mat 13:42  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

We go out to this harvest with our “father” to the reapers.  The father in this parable and the woman’s husband is a representation of our old man (2Ki 4:14) that is tied to the law of the Gentiles (Rom 2:15).  This is whom we serve in our belief system that it is by our own works of the flesh by which we are saved.  Before we are given the mind of Christ (a spiritual mind) through the gift of God, we, are of the mindset of our father, the devil and naturally at enmity with the ways of the Lord (Gen 3:15, Joh 8:44).  This mindset has us eating and drinking unworthily reaping the resulting sickness and death.

1Co 11:29  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

1Co 11:30  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

Spiritually speaking, sleeping is the same as death.  Christ must come wake us out of our sleep (Eph 5:14) and He does this by the brightness of His coming.  When Christ comes again, unlike the first time He comes (Rev 13:3), there will not be any healing of the head wound.  The old mindset and head of our father the devil will be no more when we rise.

Php 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Nah 3:19  …. There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous …

The Word we so eagerly embrace and begin eating turns bitter to our fleshly way of life (Rev 10:9), by shining light onto our sins.

Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

The son of faith is placed upon the knees of his mother where he dies at noon which is the brightest part of the day.  There is great significance in these symbols.  Knees are the largest joint in the body and in the physical are essential in our movement and stability.   When we apply knees spiritually (Rom 1:20) we can see they represent sound doctrine.  The knees of the church, the mother of Christ, is pure doctrine that supports and guides our walk on the narrow way.

Luk 8:21  And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

We come to see our state of spiritual death only when we abide in the bright light (noon day) that is Jesus Christ through our fellowship and interaction with His Christ.

Rev 14:9  And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

Rev 14:10  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 

The hour is come for Christ to be glorified (in type and shadow) in this child of faith. 

2Ki 4:21  And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. 

2Ki 4:22  Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.” 

2Ki 4:23  So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.” 

2Ki 4:24  Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” 

2Ki 4:25  And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! 

 

The mother’s response is our correct response when our spiritual son falls into great trial and is sick and overcome in trespasses.  When we see ourselves as chief of sinners in need of repentance, we are told to run to the mountains that are “The Christ” casting all our care upon Him (1Pe 5:6, Psa 11:1).

Mat 24:15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Mat 24:16  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 

Laying our son on the prophet’s bed in the upper room of the house is symbolism for us trusting in the Lord and His promises to raise up the dead.  This is resting from our own works and call upon the elders and those in the church for help.

Jas 5:14  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

Jas 5:15  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

It takes eating a lot of strong meat (bearing trials and chastening) to become mature (Heb 5:13) in the faith.  While we have faith, our faith is initially weak until it is tried in the fire where we buy the true spiritual gold (learn righteousness).

Rev 3:18  I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

Yet we fail first and call upon our “old” husband and lean back on our own carnal understanding.  The mindset of our old man will resist the mind of the Spirit (Rom 8:7) and questions why we would go to the Lord and expose our sins and faults.  Yet that is how we are healed and raised back to life.

Jas 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much

The mindset of being under the carnal law (the husband) has us going to Christ only on prescribed days (Sunday, new moons and sabbath’s) when an offering to God was commanded (Num 28:11).  The Lord is not pleased with are rituals and Babylonian sacrifices, He wants our whole heart (Mat 22:37) and gets it by putting us through these trials of life and death.

1Pe 1:7  NLT These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Rev 13:10  He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. 

Saddling [H2280] a donkey and riding to Elisha symbolizes us being bound [H2280] to our yet carnal and immature stage of our faith but where we are being humbled and coming to Christ lowly.

Zec 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

A donkey or an ass is the perfect symbolism for our spiritual condition when we first come to The Christ.  We, as Christ, come riding our beast albeit one that is being humbled by trials and seeing the wages of our sin.  The scepter of the Word is bringing judgment as Christ (Shiloh) is come to the woman and her son and they are being saved and redeemed by judgment.

Gen 49:10  NKJV The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

Gen 49:11  Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes.

The woman has many things right in coming to Elisha and laying her son on the prophet’s bed, yet she has to learn to glory in her tribulations.  Such is our learning process, as we doubt because the cost of our discipleship (everything) is coming due.

Luk 14:33  So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

It takes much experience of evil (Ecc 1:13) and most importantly our failure to learn this.

Rom 5:3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

Rom 5:4  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Elisha sees the woman coming and sends Gehazi his servant to aid and comfort her.

2Ki 4:26  (Gehazi) Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well. 

2Ki 4:27  And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. 

2Ki 4:28  Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? 

The word Shalom is the Hebrew word for peace and what is translated as “Well” in this story as the woman’s answers questions about her wellbeing.  This is the second time we see the woman claiming peace (it is well) in her life and life of her family when there is no such thing.

Jer 6:14  They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.

Our Babylonian pride, learned over 70 symbolic years, does not allow us to disclose our faults and expose our nakedness to others.  Like Adam and Eve, we will seek to cover ourselves with the works of our hands not truly believing the Lord sees all and works all things.  In the presence of Christ all are being revealed in due time.

1Co 4:5  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God

We don’t easily admit that our faith has been overcome by sin and we are bearing the fruit of death.  We seek to hide this, but the Lord sees our heart, and nothing can be hid when we come into His presence.

Luk 8:17  For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

We have not yet reviewed the other main player in this story who is Gehazi.  Gehazi represents a spirit of disobedience and gainsaying that is the conflict between the ways of God and the flesh.  The name Gehazi comes from two words H1516 and H2372 and means “valley of perception/vision”.  But a low point of vision represents an obscured view of truth where we seek to serve two masters.

Mat 6:23  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Mat 6:24  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 

The lessons in this story are as much about Gehazi failures and his (our) ineptitude as it is about the actions of the woman whose faith is being severely tried.  Gehazi will soon be exposed for his spiritual impotence caught between the spirit and the flesh and faith vs. unbelief.  Gehazi is outwardly godly and religious, yet inwardly is a gainsayer and lover of pleasure (2T 3:1-3:5).  Gehazi cannot perform the greater works as he tries to serve two masters.  Gehazi is unable to raise the dead child later in this story (2Ki 4:31) and we learn from the story of the healing of Naaman, Gehazi’s true spiritual condition.

2Ki 5:20  But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.

Elisha confronts Gehazi on his sin and the problem is clearly identified.

2Ki 5:27  The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee (Gehazi), and unto thy seed forever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

Gehazi is our mixed multitude state of being lukewarm trying to save our old life as well as gain the new.  Here in this story we see Gehazi commit another error by hindering those weak and struggling in coming to Elisha (Christ).  When the young in the faith struggle, those that are stronger are to bear their weaknesses and infirmities but by no means hinder anyone or every dissuade anyone from coming to Christ and casting all our care upon Him.  The unconverted disciples make the same mistake and we make the same mistake inwardly hindering the weak and the immature (the young) from coming to Christ (Elisha).

Mat 19:13  Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

Mat 19:14  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Rom 15:1  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

We are to be patient and gentle with the weak, inwardly and outwardly, knowing everyone is exactly where they are written in the Lord’s Book from the beginning (Psa 139:16, Isa 46:10, Act 17:26).

The strong are to minister to the weak and needy; but do it only in a gentle and peaceable way (Gal 6:1).  The fact Elisha puts up with a “weak in the faith” Gehazi (within ourselves and without) proves his obedience to these commands.

2Ti 2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

2Ti 2:25  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Our preventing babes from coming to Christ and laying at His feet is much displeased by the Lord and a sign and a reason for us to examine ourselves.

Mar 10:14  But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

We are guaranteed fiery trials to try our faith (1Pe 4:13).  None of disciples which are His Elect asked to be elected nor did we count the cost before accepting.  When the heavy trials come, we cry out to Christ not wanting to be deceived anymore and reminding the Lord what He already knows.

Joh 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you….

Rom 10:20  But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me

We are always reminded that the Lord works all things, even the failings and shortcoming in our walk and it is through failure we learn to do it the right way.  It reminds me of the old saying about Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb.  He did not first invent the lightbulb, he first discovered 10,000 ways not to make a lightbulb.

Pro 24:16  For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Next study Lord willing, we will finish this parable and look at the intimate details of what Christ (Elisha) does to revive us and how we are being brought back to life and given back to our spiritual mother.  We will begin with the failed efforts of Gehazi to first revive the child and later see Elisha enter in and perform the miracle of raising one to newness of  life.

2Ki 4:33  He (Elisha) went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD.

2Ki 4:34  And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm.

2Ki 4:35  He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.

Sincere questions and comments are always welcome.  You can also email me directly at peterjwilson56@gmail.com

A Servant of Jesus Christ,  Pete

Sincere comments and questions are encouraged!