“A GREAT WOMAN”
By Jack Davis
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” – Prov. 31:10.
“The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework” – Psa. 45:13-14.
We read in Scripture of types, such as – “the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and bought her to the man” – Gen. 2:22. Abraham sent his eldest servant to find and bring a bride to his son Isaac – Gen. 24. Hegai prepared Esther to please the king and gain the throne as queen – Esther 2. The choice woman of king Solomon’s day said; “Draw, me, and we will run after thee,” and he said of her; “My dove, my undefiled is but one: she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her.” And to her he said: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
The Apostle Paul wrote: “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” – II Cor. 11:2. In Ephesians five we see Christ loved the church and gave himself for it; “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it unto himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” – Eph. 5:25-27. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” – Rev. 19:6.
From these, and many other scriptures we can see that the Lord is developing a very special people for a special place. There is clearly a necessary preparation, separation, and qualification for that place. Women in Scripture are used to depict groups, or bodies of people, religious or unreligious, good or bad, spiritual or carnal.
God tells us of some outstanding qualities of a great woman in Elisha’s day. These can teach us of characteristics that are being developed in overcoming believers which will constitute the company God chooses for His Son, to reign conjointly with Him. Please note with me three of these: concern, contentment, confidence.
“And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. 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” – II Kings 4:8-10.
Often we find those that are truly concerned with the needs of others, not being self centered, are usually more content with their lot in life. They are not self-seeking. Their lives also often seem to manifest more than average share of confidence. Yet they are not self-sufficient. We are wise to let Him work in us traits of one He calls great.
When Elisha came that way one day, and was resting in that prepared and furnished guest room, he sent his servant to find out what could be done for this woman in return for all the care she had been for them.
CONCERN: This woman showed her earnest care by her actions. She had good perception realizing that this man sent from God to serve the people, had need of such a place. She, like many overcomers down through the ages, was given to practical care. She not only sensed a need but also influenced her husband to a right action. Our Apostle wrote of being a lover of hospitality – Titus 1:8. Peter admonished to “use hospitality one to another without grudging;” (Welcome one another as guest without grumbling, i.e., with a glad heart). Romans 12:13, “Distributing to the necessity of the saints; given to hospitality,” “given,” “pursuing the practice.”
I am reminded of Lydia of the Apostle Paul’s day who, “worshipped God,” and when she had heard them minister the Word, and had “attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul,” the Lord opened her heart. “And when she was baptized, and her household,” she besought them saying, “If ye have judge me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there. And she constrained us” – Acts 16:14-15. Ah yes, the Lord had opened her heart, and she opened her house.
The Lord must give us wisdom in each case, but most of God’s people are not like this today. The attitude is generally, “Oh, let some one else do it.” They seem to have a thousand and one excuses. Oh, let God put such kindness in our heart. Paul thanked God, “which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus” for those saints – II Cor. 8:16. He spoke of Timothy, “who will naturally care for your state” – Phil. 2:20. He rejoiced greatly that the care of the Philippian saints for him had flourished. Do you think that the Bride of Christ will be lacking in this trait? I think not. Jesus made it clear, that greatness comes to those who serve - Mt. 23:11; 20:26-28.
CONTENTMENT: II Kings 4:13, “Behold, thou hast been carful 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 one people.” Her answer seems to say, I am satisfied where I am, and with what I have. By sharing what she had she wasn’t trying to advance or better herself. She didn’t murmer nor complain, wasn’t fretful about how others were treating her, or how they were doing, nor what place they had, She was indeed a person in need. Her husband was old and she had no children (v. 14). We are admonished; “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me: – Heb. 13:5-6. When we find our satisfaction in the Lord He gives us the desire of our hearts – Ps. 37:4.
“WOULD YOU BE SPOKEN FOR” (II Kings 4:13): The prophet is those days had influence with the kings and captains, He could help her standing, and that of her family by putting in a good word. By this I am reminded of a precious fact. As we find our satisfaction in the will of God, we are also spoken for, to the Captain of the Lord’s host, the Captain of our salvation, Who has chosen us to be a true and faithful soldier. It is by His grace that we are strengthened to endure hardness, and sustained to fight that good fight of faith. The Holy Spirit also puts in a good word for us to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
This great woman had no doubt been through some trying experiences that produced in her this contented attitude. We hear this is the testimony of our dear brother Paul. “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both abound and to suffer need” – Phil. 4:11-12.
Thank God for deliverance from the materialistic attitude that abounds in Christendom today. Their doctrine of equating gain with godliness sows seeds of discontentment among those ignorant of divine provisions. This teaching never makes one rich toward God. We are well admonished that “having food and raiment let us therewith be content” – I Tim. 6:8. Those who seek first “things above,” have these and much more added unto them. Oh yes! It will soon be universally evident that Godliness with contentment is great gain. Only as we find full satisfaction in Jesus Christ will we ever come into any real greatness.
Confidence: In return for her kindness Elisha promised this childless woman, that she would have a son, and the Lord fulfilled that promise. Later when the child became old enough to go out to the field, he went out to his father, to the reapers. One day while out with his father he said “My head, my head,” then his father sent him to his mother. “He sat on her knees till noon, and he died,” She took him to the guest room and laid him on Elisha’s bed, She then told her husband that she wanted to hurry to the man of God, and return, Her husband questioned her, and she answered; “It shall be well.”
When she came near, Elisha saw her and sent his servant to question her; Is it well with thee? Is it well with thy husband? Is it well with the child? And she answered, “It is well.” What an overcomer, she didn’t submit to circumstances. Her great faith was like that of Abraham, who believed God, “Who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things that be not as though they were” – Rom. 4:17. She expressed the confidence of triumphant faith. In verse 30 of II Kings 4, we read; “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.” “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: – Vs. 32-33. The Lord eventually restored him to life.
It was interesting to me that the place that she had prepared for another became the place she took her son for healing. We also read that several years later, after famine had driven her from the land for seven years that she was spoken for to the king by Elisha. “And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried unto the king for her house and for her land. And Elisha’s servant said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life. And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now” – II Kings 8:3-6.
The Apostle wrote, “being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ” – Phil. 1:6. We are also encouraged with this promise, “Cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” – Heb. 10:355-36.
by J. D.