Positioning by God

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Positioned for Purpose

I knew a man of moderate wealth, not a millionaire but one of good means. I fully believe; and the proof was in his life that this man was given wisdom and opportunities because he returned the favor to God. He was born to nothing. His mother literally gave him away to his grandfather at the age of 5 to pay for a doctor bill that he had covered the cost of during his infancy when he had  pneumonia. This is a true story. He and his Cherokee grandmother were the man’s slaves until he was grown and she was too old to be useful, at which time the grandfather had her placed in a mental institution. He grew up on beans and bread most every day, so he appreciated food and fellowship as an adult. He went to church, and as a teen was saved, and called into the ministry. He married and graduated from a bible college, and after working in the secular world he became the Pastor of one of the largest churches in Ohio. During that time, he invested any extra money he had into two places: future income for his family and God’s work. Both of which he prospered in.  He gave 100’s of dollars away most every day. I was the beneficiary of his $100 ministry often. Most every time I seen him, he gave me money to make life easier, he knew I struggled. He knew because he took the time to get to know people, and when he did he acted on what he learned about them. Because of his kindness he is often a testimony in my life.

Think about the people in your life. Is there someone who has shown you that level of kindness, or someone who you have seen having issues with life? Was it something that you could have done something about? I have to wonder how many opportunities I pass by because I’m so doggone busy.

There was one such woman of generosity in scripture.

Positioned for Piety

It says in 2 Kings 4:8-37

[8] And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman;

From a commentary it says she was possibly a woman of great wealth and riches, of great benevolence and hospitality, and of great grace and piety; that feared sin, as the Targum paraphrases it; a woman of great credit and reputation on all accounts. The Jews say she was the sister of Abishag the Shunammite, and the mother of Iddo the prophet

Because she was of grate stature, and of such a wonderful mindset, scripture goes on to tell us that:

and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. [9] And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. [10] Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither. 

So she not only offered him a place to stay, but food to eat and created him a little hotel room in her home, just for him. She went to great length to make sure he was comfortable. She did so because she knew he was one of God’s men. That should be the mindset that we have over servants of God. We should want to go above and beyond the call of duty for them.

Positioned for Possibility

[11] And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there. [12] And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him. [13] And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.

So I imagine that Elisha is just laying across the bed with his arms folded up thinking about how good this woman has been to him, and he wants to do something for her. He tells Gehazi his servant to call for her and ask her if he can speak to the King on her behalf. Perhaps giving her husband a position of authority. Or some other favor. But she was very satisfied where she was and didn’t want that favor, she politely declined.

[14] And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old. [15] And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door. [16] And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid. [17] And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.

Obviously Gehazi had learned from Elisha. He had noticed that there was no children in the house, and perhaps seen evidence that this woman had truly desired to be a mother, but for what ever reason had never became pregnant. We see her desire when she tells Elisha not to even joke about it! But it’s not a joke. In their older years, it happens. What she had long given up on as even a possibility, God makes it happen and she is blessed with a son.

Positioned for Promise

Have you ever felt as though you’d been chosen by God for a certain purpose, but its either not happened, or not as you expected? Well, the Shunamite woman was experiencing just that in the time that followed. Great, great joy was felt over the son. But then tragedy struck, but she held on to the promise she had forgotten about.

 [18] And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. [19] And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. [20] And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. [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. [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. [23] And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well. [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. [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: [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. [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. [28] Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? [29] Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child. [30] And the mother of the child said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her. [31] And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked. [32] And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. [33] He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord. [34] And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. [35] Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.[36] And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. [37] Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

She never stopped believing that God’s promise that she had long forgotten would be restored. She took the boy and laid him on the Prophets bed where she had gotten the promise, and where later Elisha restored the life back to her son.

But the struggle and the triumph doesn’t stop there! Can I tell you that life doesn’t always go as planned!

The Right Place at the Right Time

4 chapters later the story of the Shunamite woman continues.

Famine has come to the land and Elisha tells her that she’s going to have to leave the wonderful home she has created, and so she does. But when she does, the king takes possession of it! So now she has to go and ask for it back.  But the day she does it just happens that Gehazi is there and the King wants to know what Elisha has been up to. Well it just happens that he can not only tell him, he can show him through the Shunamite woman’s testimony. This didn’t just happen. It put her in the right place at the right time for God to provide for her again.

Positioned for Provision

2 Kings 8:1-6 KJVS

[1] Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the Lord hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years. [2] And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years. [3] And it came to pass at the seven years’ end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land. [4] And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done. [5] And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life. [6] And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.

She was not only given her home back, but a freezer full of meet and veggies!  Okay… no frozen foods but plenty of goodness for which I have no doubt she once again began sharing. I know this was a lengthy blog. I’m usually at about 1000 words. Today at this point I’m at 2,174. But her testimony reminds me of the goodness of God throughout my life and God’s great provision. His word is so encouraging to my soul. I’ve been struggling for weeks to do His work, and today I feel like the Shunamite woman made me a bed and a loaf of bread and said, “rest here for a while. God’s got us covered.” Maybe you needed the rest too. Love ya! Mean it. Please share and encourage someone with God’s word!

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at talk2shari@gmail.com or find her on Facebook!

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