As Elisha was passing through the town of Shunem, a wealthy woman offered him a meal at her home. From then on, the woman would prepare a place at the table for him everythime he passed through Shunem.
One day Elisha was passing through Shunem and went up to his room to rest. He told his servant, Gehazi, to tell the woman how grateful he was to have a room. Then he told his servant to ask her what he could do for her to show his appreciation.
"I'm good." The woman replied. "I have everything I need..... but thank you."
Elisha and Gehazi put there heads together and thought. "There must be something we can do for this woman." Then Gehazi spoke up. "She has this large house and no children and her husband is old."
"Yes! That's it!" exclaimed Elisha.
Elisha went to speak to the woman. "By this time next year, you will be holding a son."
"Please don't tease me like that, oh man of God." the woman responded.
Sure enough, the woman became pregnant and was holding a beautiful baby boy in her arms at that time the next year.
One day, when the boy was a little older, he went out to meet his father who was working in the fields. He started to feel sick and told his father that his head hurt really bad. His dad told one of the workers to take him back to his mother. The woman held her son on her lap, but he died. Sadly, she carried him upstairs and laid him on Elisha's bed. Then she saddled up a donkey and took one of her servants to travel to meet Elisha. While she was a long way off Elisha noticed her. "Go see what is wrong Gehazi, for the Lord has not told me." Elisha told his servant. The woman didn't want to tell Gehazi what was wrong. Finally when she reached Elisha she fell at his feet and said. " You told me that you would not tease me with a son. You got my hopes up and now......" Before she could finish, Elisha told Gehazi to grab his staff, hurry to the woman's home and place the staff on the boy's face.
The woman looked at Elisha, "Please come. I won't go home without you." So he went with her.
Elisha called the woman up to his room.When the woman saw her son sitting on the bed, she fell at Elisha's feet crying tears of joy! Then she picked up her son and carried him downstairs. Elisha and Gehazi said goodbye and left for Gilgal where there was a famine in the land.
In Gilgal, Elisha was sitting with a bunch of prophets. He told one of the young men to pick some vegetables and make a stew. After eating some of the stew, on of the prophets said. "There are poisonous gourds in this stew!" Elisha calmly said. "Bring me some flour." He put a dash of flour into the stew and it was ok. All the men ate and it did not harm them.
One day Elisha was speaking to a group of 100 prophets. A man brought him a sack of grain and some loaves of bread. Elisha told him to begin distributing the grain and bread so that all the prophets could eat. "But there is not nearly enough for all the men!" the man said. "Don't worry," replied Elisha. "There will even be leftovers!" ....and there was. Hundreds of years later, Jesus would feed 5000 men with a few fish and bread.
There is a definite theme throughout these stories. and it
is to listen to the needs of others, even when they don't say them out loud. That is called being sensitive to their needs. The woman from Shunem knew Elijah needed food and shelter as he passed though the town. Elisha knew the woman wanted a son... and when she came to him after her son had died.... he heard her heart. Elisha also knew that the prophets would be hungry and he fed them. God calls us to be sensitive to the needs of others. As you go through your day and encounter people along the way, pray that God would help you hear what they are not saying with their mouth.