A famine was coming upon the land of Israel, and Elisha warned the Shunammite woman to go to a place of provision for 7 years, until the famine ended. She went with her household to Philistia to wait out the famine. At the end of seven years, she returned to Israel and petitioned the king for her house and land. The king was having a conversation with Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, asking about all the great things Elisha had done. Gehazi was telling him about Elisha raising the dead, and happened to notice the woman, whose very son Elisha had raised. Gehazi told the king that this was the woman, and her son was the young man who was raised. She confirmed the story, testifying of the power of God and the ministry of Elisha. Immediately, the king appointed an officer to make sure that her land would be restored in full.
It is advantageous to have influence and persuasive skills in negotiating. However, in the case of a woman without standing in a patriarchal community, who had left her land for seven years, the Shunammite had no influence and no one to speak for her at this time. The Scripture does not say she was a widow, but the previous story did say that her husband was old, and there is no mention of him in this story, signifying that he may have died before she left Israel, or else while they were living in the land of the Philistines. She was a woman alone in a man’s world. As she pleaded for her land to be returned, the servant of the man of God noticed her and spoke to her, asking for her testimony before the king. She willingly told of all that God had done for her through the hand of Elisha. Even though she had just been through the loss of a husband, a famine, and now the potential loss of her inheritance, she still testified of the goodness of God. Is that not a model for us today? What will we do when the prognosis is poor? What will we do when it seems all may be lost? What will bring about the blessing is to praise the Lord in spite of the specter of loss before our eyes. The Shunammite praised God, testifying of His power and goodness, and her land was restored completely. What better example of why Christians should praise in the good times and praise in the bad times. Our human nature may sometimes get the best of us, but when darkness falls over your day (or week or month), try to muster a praise. Try to remember the goodness of God in rimes past. Try to utter the narrative of a previous blessing, and know that God honors the testimony of a believer!