|When God revealed
through Elisha that Israel would suffer a seven-year famine, he instructed
the Shunammite woman, whose son he had restored to life, to take her family
out of Israel. She would be able to survive by fleeing to the land of the
Philistines for the duration of the famine. (II Kings 8:1-2)
She did what Elisha told her to do. Her husband, who was much older than she was, is not mentioned in this account, so it is likely that she is now a widow with a teenage son. Her son has inherited his father's property, but without rain, the estate could not support them and their servants.
After the seven years of famine came to an end, she returned with her son only to find their land was occupied. She went to the king to appeal for the return of the property. (II Kings 8:3-5) She arrives just as Gehazi is telling the king about Elisha having raised her son to life. He introduces her as that woman.
Then he [the king] assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.” (II Kings 8:6)In II Kings 4:8-37, we were introduced to the Shunammite woman who gave Elisha the prophet and his servant Gehazi food and lodging when they were traveling through her home region.
We learned she was devoted to the Lord God of Israel, but was unable to conceive a child who would inherit her husband's property. Through a miracle, she conceived and gave birth to a son. Later, her child died, but God raised him back to life. Her story is a word picture (as many stories in the Old Testament are) of the coming Messiah (Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 24:44-47)
The Shunammite woman's life went on to picture the heir leaving for a time and then returning to claim his inheritance. Jesus, the Messiah or the Christ, returned to heaven after his resurrection and promised to return. (Matthew 26:64; Acts 1:9-11)
He also promised to gather his followers, both those who had died still believing and those who are still alive at his return, to be with him for eternity. (Matthew 24:30-31; John 14:1-4; I Corinthians 15:51-53)
He promised a reward to those who remained faithful. (Revelation 22:12)
Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”About two Millennia have come and gone since Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming soon!” (Revelation 22:7) and an angel told John “the time is near.” (Revelation 22:10) Most Christians realize that Jesus has not yet returned, but for those who have died, their time had come, and for those who will die this year, their “time is near.” The promise of his coming is real and literal. Some Christians will have died, and some will still be living when he does return. Many others ridicule the belief in a literal return of Jesus to this earth:
First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ’coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (II Peter 3:3-4)Peter went on to remind his readers that God did judge the world in a past age and destroyed it with a flood. (II Peter 3:5-6) He also reminds us that “the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.God did not reveal to us when Jesus will return; no one knows when. We don't need to know a date; we need to be ready when he does come for us. (Matthew 24:42-44) Just as the Shunammite woman and her son waited as strangers in a foreign country until the time to return had come, so we wait for our King Jesus to return. At that time, we will receive the reward and the inheritance that he has promised.
For the Scripture References and related
Bible Study Guide, go to Bible
Study Guide: The Renewal of All Things