2 Kings 4:26
Please run out now to meet her and ask, 'Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?'" And she answered, "Everything is all right."
Sermons
A Searching InquiryJ. D. Jones, M. A.2 Kings 4:26
Infant SalvationCharles Haddon Spurgeon 2 Kings 4:26
It is WellHomiletic Review2 Kings 4:26
Ministerial Inquiry into the Welfare of a PeopleW. Mudge, B. A.2 Kings 4:26
Reasons for TrialsA. Roberts, M. A.2 Kings 4:26
Submission Under TrialG. D. Macgregor.2 Kings 4:26
The Uses of AfflictionChristian Commonwealth2 Kings 4:26
Great TrialsD. Thomas 2 Kings 4:18-31
A Day in a Mother's LifeWilliam Forsyth, A. M.2 Kings 4:18-37
Concerning Accidents2 Kings 4:18-37
Death and RestorationC.H. Irwin 2 Kings 4:18-37
The Empty HomeF. S. Webster, M. A.2 Kings 4:18-37
The Lady of Shunem: 2. the Son Taken and RestoredJ. Orr 2 Kings 4:18-37
This is a touching story. It is a story for children. It is a story for parents. It is a story for every one. The circumstances of this little boy's death were peculiarly sad. He had been an unexpected gift of God to his parents. His mother had not sought for him; but God sent her a son as a reward for her kindness to his servant, and in answer to the prophet's prayer. Perhaps when this sudden stroke came upon her, and she watched the little fellow pine away and die in her arms, the poor mother felt a little disposed to murmur at the strange providence. She no doubt wondered why God had tried her thus, to send her a child entirely unexpected and unasked by her, and then - when he had reached that most interesting age, when he was able to run merrily to and fro, when his childish prattle filled the house with gladness, and when his parents' affections had begun to twine themselves about him - then to take him from her! She may not, perhaps, have had hard thoughts of God, but, with all the faith and patience which she afterwards showed, she certainly was a little disposed to blame Elisha. For we find her saying to him, when she went to tell him of her trouble, "Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?" But God's hand was in it all, as she soon learned. Perhaps she was beginning to make an idol of this child, and God took this way of reminding her that the child was his, that on earth there is none abiding, and that he himself should have the supreme homage of the human heart. Ah yes, she knew something of God's love before, but she never would have known half so much of it but for this trial. The sunshine is beautiful; but sometimes in a time of continued drought we learn that the world would not get on with perpetual sunshine. We are positively glad to see the clouds and the rain. If we could only learn the same lesson for our spiritual life! The sunshine is sweet, but the clouds have their uses too.

"No shattered box of ointment
We ever need regret,
For out of disappointment
Flow sweetest odors yet.

"The discord that involveth
Some startling change of key.
The Master's hand resolveth
In richest harmony." We have here -

I. A BELIEVING MOTHER. We see her strong faith in God in that answer which she gave to Gehazi. At Elisha's command he asked her, "Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child?" And she answered, "It is well." Not a woman of many words, this. But a woman of great thoughts, of practical faith, of heroic patience.

1. It was well with the child. She had no doubt of that. She knew less about the hereafter than we do. She did not know what we know about him who is the Resurrection and the Life, who was himself dead and is alive again. She did not know what we know about heaven - about the angels' song and the pearly gates and the golden streets. But this she felt assured of, that there was a hereafter; that, though the body died, the soul still lived; that her child was with God, and that, therefore, it was well with him.

2. It was well with her husband. It was well with herself. Yes, although sorrow had entered their home, still she could feel and say that it was well all round. She could have anticipated Paul in his unfaltering assertion, for "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Calmly and confidently, even though perhaps her tears were falling while she spoke, she uttered the single Hebrew word which means "It is well." Thank God for believing mothers. A mother's faith in God has rescued many a son from the very grasp of hell itself. How many an eminent servant of God has owed his conversion to the prayers of a believing mother! St. Augustine and John Newton are well-known instances. A word here to bereaved parents. You too may have watched a dear child droop and die. Perhaps you murmured rebelliously under your affliction. Learn to look away behind the veil, into that happy land of which perhaps your darling sang-and as you look there surely you cannot but say, "It is well - it is well with the child." A word here to all parents. Can you say, as you think of your children one by one, "It is well with the child"? If they should die in infancy, it certainly is well with them. But your children of maturer years, who are growing up into manhood and womanhood - how is it with them? Are there not some in your household that you know are still unsaved? O parents, can you rest until you win them for Christ? It is right to give them a good education. But the most important concern of all is the salvation of their immortal souls.

II. A DEAD CHILD BROUGHT TO LIFE. All dead children will be brought back to life. The body only dies; the soul lives forever. This little one, however, was brought back to the life of earth. Perhaps God thought that this poor mother had been sufficiently tried. Perhaps he wanted to give even then some proofs of the possibility of a resurrection. It was an exceptional act then. It is not to be expected by bereaved parents now. They can only say with David, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." Is it not better so? Could we wish them back again? Look upon them in that bright land where Jesus is, and where the angels are, where their little feet are never weary, where their little faces are always bright and happy, where their little bodies shall nevermore be racked by pain or enfeebled by sickness, where their minds shall never know another thought of sin, and tell me if you would bring them back to this world of wickedness, of temptation, of sickness, and of sorrow? Surely not. Surely they were taken away from the evil that is to come. To depart and be with Christ is far better.

1. Notice the means of this child's revival.

(1) First of all, there was prayer. "And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord." So it must be in all efforts for the revival of dead souls. Parents must have recourse to prayer if they would see their children converted. We want more praying families; we want more praying Churches. Nothing but the Spirit of God can make the dry bones to live. If our work is to last, it must be done in prayer.

(2) Then, again, observe that Elisha used the means to bring about an answer to his prayers. He asked for a certain blessing, and he showed that he expected an answer. He stretched himself upon the child, that his body might communicate heat to that of the child, and his breath upon the child's mouth encouraged the returning vitality. It is God's method of converting the world, of quickening dead souls. It is the Spirit of God that alone can quicken a dead soul. But he uses human instrumentality. He uses living Christians. The apostles were men on fire with the Holy Ghost and with zeal for souls, and therefore their labors were blessed. The reason there are so few conversions, the reason the Church has so little influence upon the world compared to what it might have, is that too often the Church itself is worldly, seeking for temporal position and worldly gain, and that Christians show too little of the spirit of their Master. They have a name to live, but are dead. But it is wonderful what one or two living Christians can effect in a congregation, in a community, even throughout the world.

2. Notice also the signs of this child's revival. "The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes." It was enough. Elisha did not wait for the child to speak. He did not wait for him to walk. He recognized the unmistakable signs of life, and at once he restored the child to his sorrowing mother. Christians ought to watch for signs of spiritual life as the result of their labors and their prayers. They should not be discouraged if there seems - but little fruit, do not discourage the slightest indication of a desire on the part of any one to turn from sin and come to Christ. Encourage those who may be seekers after God, groping feebly after the truth, struggling, perhaps, with their difficulties and doubts. What souls have you been the means of bringing from death into life? - C.H.I.







Is it well with thee?
I. WHEN MAY IT BE SAID TO BE REALLY WELL WITH ANY PERSONS? Many would think it to be well with us when we have food and raiment, when our flocks and herds increase. But, if this is to be well, and we are no better than "this world's goods" can make us, we are well only for time, and as it respects our frail and perishable bodies. In this sense, it was well with Dives. For it to be really well with us, we must come to things which concern the soul, and which have a reference to that eternal state whither we are going. Mark, then, what follows: It is well with us if our souls have been awakened — if we have found forgiveness — if the Lord Jesus Christ be precious to us — and if we be now walking in newness and righteousness of life.

II. WHETHER IT BE THUS WELL WITH YOU? You may, as we have seen, be well as it respects this world and your abiding in it. But, is it well with your souls? Would it be well with you, do you think, if God were now to require your souls of you? Inquire, I pray you. Felt you ever your need of mercy? Has a sensibility of your guiltiness ever constrained you to cry for mercy? Have you, like her who had lost one of her ten pieces of silver, sought for it "til you have found it"? Is your heart "sprinkled from an evil conscience"? What do you love most? Christ or the world? — Christ or sinful pleasure? — Christ or the increase of your temporal wealth and honour? — Christ or yourself? What is your chief joy? The Christian "rejoices in Christ Jesus." Is He the object of your rejoicing? In what way are you living? The way in which we live will most clearly evidence whether we have been awakened, forgiven, and "I accepted in the Beloved," or not; and, consequently, whether it be well with us or not.

(W. Mudge, B. A.)

Homiletic Review.
Death is not a calamity to the Christian. "It is well."

I. IN VIEW OF THE UNSATISFACTORY NATURE OF LIFE. Paul would say, "To live is Christ," and yet he testified, "To depart and be with Christ is far better."

II. IN VIEW OF THE HOME PREPARED FOR THE SAVED.

III. "IT IS WELL" WITH THE CHILD OF GOD EVEN IN THIS LIFE.

IV. APPEAL TO THE LIVING. Is it well with your soul?

(Homiletic Review.)

In the late South African War, Major Child, when setting out one morning on reconnaissance duty, had a presentiment he might not return alive, and so said to a brother officer that if he fell that day he wanted written on his memorial stone just these words: "Is it well with the child? It is well." It fell out as he anticipated, but death had no terrors for him, and now he lies on the veldt with this question and answer above his grave. Suppose this question put to us: "Is it well with thee?" Can we answer, "It is well"?

(J. D. Jones, M. A.)

She answered, It is well
I. THE TRIAL WHICH THE WOMAN ENDURED. "Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upwards." "The ills to which flesh is heir" are diffused with wonderful impartiality. The palace is as much accustomed to the visits of sorrow as is the cottage. The robe of honour cannot ward off the touch of pain any more than the garment of beggary. The glittering diadem often encircles an aching brow, and the silken robe often covers a bleeding heart.

1. In her trial there was the disappointment of a strong desire. She seems to have had only one strong desire ungratified. No child had ever called her mother; she had no son to perpetuate her husband's name in Israel. The desire to be a mother was peculiarly strong in the heart of a Hebrew wife, from the national relationship to the promise, that of the seed of a woman would come the Destroyer of the serpent and the Deliverer of Jacob. This desire in the heart of the Shunammite had almost died away, when the prophet assures her she shall yet "embrace a son." As the desire had been strong, so would the joy be great when the desire was realised. Who can blame her if her heart swelled with a joyful pride and a proud joy, as she clasped her baby to her breast, and pictured for him a future of happiness and honour?

2. An additional element in this woman's trial was the blasting of a bright hope. What sweet and sacred hopes cluster round every cradle! We all know the power of hope, and to how large a degree hope constitutes the beauty and blessedness of human life.

3. As another element of this woman's trial — her tenderest affections have been torn. Her child has been taken from her. The grief of "one that mourneth for a first-born" has passed into a proverb. She had lost her first-born — nay, she had lost her only child.

II. HER CONDUCT UNDER THE TRIAL. Notice, first:

1. She is filled with the most pungent sorrow. When trial is sent, it is designed we should feel it. There may be sorrow, there must be sorrow, under the afflictions and bereavements of life; only it should not be despondent sorrow, nor rebellious sorrow, nor murmuring sorrow, but sorrow submissive and sanctifying, like that of this woman.

2. She acquiesces in the will of God. She says, "It is well." This is one of the highest achievements of Christian faith.

3. In her trial this woman cleaves to God. She does not sit down and brood over her bereavement, and nurse her grief, and indulge in "the luxury of sorrow." She goes at once to consult the oracle of God.(1) She may have gone to inquire whether there were not deliverance from her trial.(2) She may have gone to seek strength to bear her trial. The prophet was the mouth of God to her.(3) She may have gone to seek the sanctification of her trial. Whether this was one of the blessings she desired in going to the man of God, may be doubted; it cannot be doubted that this ought to be our main desire in going to God Himself in seasons of trial and sorrow.

III. THE GROUNDS WHICH MAY PRODUCE AND SUSTAIN SUCH A COURSE OF CONDUCT AS THIS WOMAN PURSUED. There are three grounds which may contribute to this desirable result. A consideration —

1. Of what we are who endure the trial;

2. of what He is who sends the trial; and

3. of the purpose the trial is designed to serve.

(G. D. Macgregor.)

I. Affliction comes TO CALL OUR SIN TO OUR REMEMBRANCE, and to humble us for it beneath the cross of Jesus.

II. Another end for which God sends His heavy hand upon His children is TO LOOSE THEM FROM THE WORLD — to make them cease from the idolatry of the creature.

III. Again, another object of the trials which God sends His children is TO MAKE HIMSELF MORE DEAR TO THEM. Dear indeed He is to all who have learned to view Him as a God of love — as the God who hath "so loved the world as to send His only-begotten Son" to die for it — dear is He to all of us whose souls. He has sprinkled with the blood of Christ, "in whom" He has "revealed His Son, and whom He has made heirs, through Christ, of life eternal."

IV. A further end God has in view in laying crosses on His people is THAT HE MAY CONFORM THEM TO THEIR SAVIOUR, by admitting them into the fellowship of His sufferings." "If we suffer," says the apostle, "we shall also reign with Him." Justly then might we feel uneasy to be the prosperous followers of a suffering Lord — light-hearted servants of a sorrowing and weeping Master.

V. But, when God makes His children acquainted with affliction, He has a purpose in His view, beyond any of the objects we have yet enumerated. HE INTENDS BY IT HIS OWN GLORY. Eminently is that glory promoted and set forth by the patience of His people in the hour of trial, and by their cheerful acquiescence in His will. The world is then compelled to see that there is truth, that there is power, in His Gospel. "It is well," very well, with every child of God, however great be "the fight of affliction" he is called on to sustain. For look at the issue of these things! These afflictions are not everlasting. God "will not always chide, neither keepeth He His anger for ever." As soon as the ends of His chastening providence are answered, the dispensation will be changed. "It is well," then, with believers even in their most afflicted moments. The Shunammite spoke truth when she uttered that saying in the midst of her affliction. Christian brethren, are any of us her fellow-sufferers?

(A. Roberts, M. A.)

Christian Commonwealth.
An artist asked a friend to come to his studio to see a painting just completed. He came at the time appointed, but was shown into a dark room, and there left alone. He waited for fifteen minutes, when his friend came in, greeted him cordially, and then took him to the studio. Before he left, the artist said laughingly: "I suppose you thought it queer to he left in that dark room so long?" "Yes, I did." "Well," said the artist, "I knew that if you came into my studio with the glare of the street in your eyes you could not appreciate the fine colouring of the picture. So I left you in the dark room till the glare had worn out of your eyes." So God puts His children into the dark room of affliction, so that they may be able to see the beauty of heavenly things otherwise hidden from their eyes.

(Christian Commonwealth.)

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