Appealing to YHWH
Rev. Toh Nee Lim | On 06, Mar 2019
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 8:1-6
‘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. 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. 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. And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great thigs that Elisha hath done. 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. 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.’
Let’s recount the whole scenario of this event. Elisha told the Shunamite woman to leave the land and go to another place because there was going to be a 7-year famine in the land. She believed and obeyed Elisha. She took her household into the land of the Philistines and lived there during the period of the famine. The famine, once again, was a judgment of God upon the Northern Kingdom, which is Israel. When the famine was over and the Shunamite woman returned to her former home, she apparently found others living on her land. This Shunamite woman went to the palace and appeal to the king for her house and her land. Somehow, at the moment, in God’s providence, the king was inquiring about Elisha, and Gehazi (Elisha’s servant) was telling him about Elisha raising the Shunamite woman’s son from the dead. The king made a ruling that the property was to be restored to her as well as all the fruit of the land. Let’s study a few truths concerning this portion of scripture.
Let’s learn something about this famine. We are informed here that there will be a famine for 7 years. In this famine, although the Lord preserved the Shunamite woman and her household, yet she is to dwell as an alien wherever she can. The famine is limited to Israel. Famine is one of the curses of Leviticus 26:23-26 which says, ‘And if you will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.’ You can say that this prophecy concerning this famine was literally fulfilled to the dot. It is interesting that the famine is limited only to Israel. Because we learned that there is no famine in the land of the Philistines. The land of the Philistines is on the Southern part of the Mediterranean Coast. So geographically it is possible that there was a siege on the Northern Kingdom, especially the city of Samaria. That is why the Prophet Elisha had a pressing message to the Shunamite women and there was a sense or urgency to flee the city before the siege begin. Famine is always a curse. What is this curse? There is an attack by the enemy. The city of Samaria is surrounded by the Syrian king and thus the famine. Famine is defined as extreme and general scarcity of food, as in a country or a large geographical area. A besieged city had several problems. No food, no water and rampant diseases. When we returned to our sins, we suffer the judgment of a famine. Also, the famine is limited only to Israel, implying the famine is limited only to you and not to others. It means that the curse is only on you and not on others. Next, YHWH sent this famine as a way to cause Israel to repent and turn back to him. It is to cause you to be sorry for what you have done and turn back to YHWH. In the past, when I read the book of Kings and Chronicles, I always felt that the Northern Kingdom deserved the judgment of God. Actually, they deserved the punishment of God because all the kings of the Northern Kingdom were evil, not even one was good. Also, I feel that YHWH must be very angry with them and that is why they were the first to be exiled. To be honest, I realized that I had a pharisaical attitude towards the people of Israel in the Northern Kingdom and I felt that they don’t belong to the lineage of the Davidic Kingdom and deserved whatever judgment that is meted to them by YHWH. I was so wrong. God showed me not once but twice of his attitude towards the people of the Northern Kingdom. And God also showed me that I was very self-righteous when dealing with Christians that are sinful and evil like the people of the Northern Kingdom. No matter what, they are the children of God. This is our wrong treatment of Christians in our church that are sinful and evil. One example is the Jehoahaz, king of the Northern Kingdom. It says in 2 king 13:1-3, 23 ‘Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not thereform. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days. And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them. And the LORD gave Israel a savior, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children dwelt in their tents, as beforetime. And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence yet.’ I mean they did evil and were oppressed but the LORD was gracious unto them. He had compassion upon them and has respect unto them. Why? Because of the covenant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It says clearly that He would not destroy them nor did he cast them from his presence yet. Actually, he would send them a savior and would return to their tent(home) and had rest. YHWH has compassion upon these Christians in the church because of the covenant with Jesus. He sent us a savior in the person of the Holy Spirit. The other person is Jeroboam II, king of Israel. 2 kings 14:23 says, ‘Jeroboam (II) king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty-one years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under the heaven.’ I mean he still remembered Israel. He would not block out the name of Israel. When your affliction is bitter and you have none to help you and you are shut out left and right, the LORD sees. I also noticed that all the prominent prophets of the Old Testament were sent to the Northern Kingdom, Israel instead of Judah; Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Hosea, Jonah. And specifically, it said that YHWH sent them a savior.
I want to speak to everyone that call himself a child of God. Maybe you felt like an alien or stranger among all the people within the church, like I was made a stranger, an alien, among all the JECPP worker. Maybe you survived wherever you can. There is a famine in your life. You have done wrong things and have not walked according as what a child of God should be. You have been rebellious. Yet YHWH had still preserved you as He preserved the Shunamite woman until today. It is to cause you to repent and turn back to YHWH. The bible says Jehoahaz besought the LORD and the LORD hearken unto him. You need to beg the LORD and God will hear you. You notice this famine is limited to you. There is no food, water and there is sicknesses and diseases in your life. There is a curse in your life. The curse is not on everybody but on you specifically. Yet YHWH has sent you a savior in the person of Jesus Christ. He remembered you and has compassion on you. He remembered his covenant promises with Jesus concerning you. He asked you to return today. The 7 years is up. Return today.
The bible says the Shunamite woman did according to the word of the man of God.’ In her past experience Elisha has prophesied that she will have a child and even raised her child back to life. Elisha has helped her before and she trusted him concerning the Word of YHWH. I speak to those in famine. You had encounters with YHWH in the past and He has helped you before. Obedience is crucial. For the people of the Old Testament obedience to the Mosaic Law was crucial because the Mosaic Law was the bible of their day. The Mosaic life of faith is described as a well-worn, straight smooth, clear path or road. For the Christian obedience to the bible (the Old Testament as well as the New Testament) is crucial because it is the Word of God of our day. The Bible is a well-worn, straight, even leveled, clear footpath or highway. Obedience to the word of God is obedience to the covenant with Jesus. Then it will bring fulfillment to the covenant promises that is meant for you. I remembered when we had our famine from 2012 onwards. Our obedience was crucial. I obeyed YHWH to return to the Philippines. I remembered we obeyed the word of God that was spoken to us specifically. We are not to retaliate. We suffered silently. We did not cause a mutiny and we kept silent all those years.
3. The year of Release
2 Kings 8:3 says, ‘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.’
The Shunamite woman sojourned in the land of the Philistines for 7 years; she and her household. It is believed that the Shunamite woman’s husband has died and she is a widow. That is why she is the head of the household. I speak to those who has no husband right now; whatever reason, husband died, husband left you, husband unfaithful, husband irresponsible. You have suffered enough. Seven is a symbolic number. We believe that the number seven has a special significance for us Etab and you are part of Etab today. It is the year of release. The famine of your life is supposed to be only 7 years, not more than 7 years. Can you remember the famine for Jacob’s family that they had to go to Egypt? It was 7 years, not more than 7 years. 7th is the year of release.
There is a great possibility that her land and her house was taken by others when she was away for 7 years. She was quite a wealthy lady in that once she even built a lodging place for Elisha to dwell in. She is quite wealthy in the sense the she dared to go and meet the King of Israel. There is even the possibility that it was the royal household that took her house and her land. So, she appealed to the King. Or maybe someone has seized your inheritance; family inheritance, land inheritance, wealth inheritance, your health. You have lost a lot in these 7 years. I remember that there was a church planter that took our land that was purchased by Etab in Tibiao. I also remembered that many times the church planters were short of money and I had loaned them over 100k and when we were dismissed, they conveniently refused to pay us the money. I also remembered that Pastor Lily and I were forced to sell our house in Singapore to give to this church and now at present we are still paying for the mortgage of our present house in Singapore. I do not know what is your inheritance that was taken from you but you have to appeal to your God.
2 Kings 8:4 says, ‘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.’
It is so interesting that at that time when she went to appeal to the King, the King was conversing with Gehazi. It is obvious that Gehazi, the servant of Elisha had a status in the Kingdom. He was able to visit face to face with the King. It seems that Elisha, himself was influential even among the royal family because in 2 Kings 4:13 he declared this to the Shunamite woman, ‘And he said unto him (Gehazi), say now unto her, behold, thou has been careful for us with all this care (housing him); what is to be done for thee? Wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host?’. Elisha is well known even with the King.
I want to discuss your status with YHWH. Are you influential with YHWH? Has YHWH ever spoke to your in such a way that literally you can sense he is talking to you face to face? Do you have a status with YHWH? Michelle Lao has a powerful experience with God. After she shared an anointed message last week; immediately, her branded bag with the iPhone, Samsung phone, car key, house keys, and money was literally taken from this sanctuary. She had an audience with God that Sunday night. She spoke to God that Sunday evening. She had a status with YHWH. And YHWH took action. The thief was a lady. She had stolen many times in many parts of Iloilo; San Jose college, Iloilo commercial high, CPU and now Etab. But when she touched the child of God, she is caught on CCTV and the police chief of Jaro is relentless in capturing her. And the King was discussing about all the great things that Elisha had done. The king revered Elisha even though it may be an unfriendly kind of reverence. And they were talking about the Shunamite woman, whose child Elisha raised back to life.
2 Kings 8:5 says, ‘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.’ Apparently, the son was with the Shunamite woman when she was appealing to the King. Is this coincidence? In the Kingdom of God there are always coincidence for a child of God who walks with God. The hand of God was in the whole matter. This is not an example of good timing. It is God’s providential care for those who are rightly related to His word.
What happened to the house and land of the Shunamite woman? 2 Kings 8:6 says, ‘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.’ Wow, an officer was sent to help restore her house and land. All the produce of the 7 years was given back to her. YHWH returned to her more than she asked for. I think the Shunamite woman only wanted her house and land back. But those thieves that used her land to produce crops had to return all the produce of the 7 years back to her. That must be a huge sum of money. She didn’t work the land and yet the produce of the land was returned to her. 7 years of produce. I want to say something that is important here. The Shunamite only recognized Elisha as a man of God and decided to build him a place to lodge whenever he passes by. That one act has brought untold blessings to her life. She was given a son that she longed for, she was spared from the famine. Her land and house were restored and all the produce of the enemy was given to her. When you extend your generosity towards a man of God, when you extend your generosity toward this church, you are making an investment that will yield a pretty good return. It shows YHWH’s continual care for the woman who provided for him a place to stay. We have to appeal to God to what rightfully belongs to us and what was stolen from us. YHWH will restore honor that rightfully belongs to you. YHWH will restore financial blessings that rightfully belongs to us. You have to have a relationship with YHWH. This is the year of release. You have to say to YHWH, ‘Father, you have to be fair to me. I have served you for many years (I served JECPP for 26 years; I planted 341 churches for them). Restore to me what rightfully belongs to me. Have you given your youth to serve God; then appeal to YHWH. Yes, I was salaried when I was employed by JECPP. But if I had worked in the secular world with my University Degree I would have earned much more. The other side always say that they took care of me. But honestly if I had worked in the secular world, I would have a condominium and probably a government flat. I have given sacrificially to build this sanctuary. I sold my house in Singapore to build this sanctuary. I gave $115,000 dollars (4 million pesos) for the sin of buying this land. I gave another $115,000 dollars (4 million pesos) for the construction of this sanctuary. Appeal to YHWH whatever you have sacrificed for God. You did serve him. Appeal like the Shunamite woman. Jesus himself encouraged us to appeal in the parable of the unjust judge. In Luke 18:1-8 it says, ‘And he told them a parable to show that they must always pray and not be discouraged, saying, “There was a certain judge in a certain town who did not fear God and did not respect people. And there was a widow in that town, and she kept coming to him, saying, Grant me justice against my adversary! And he was not willing for a time, but after these things he said to himself, Even if I do not fear God or respect people, yet because this widow is causing trouble for me, I will grant her justice, so that she does not wear me down in the end by her coming back! And the Lord said, listen to what the unrighteous judge is saying! And will not God surely see to it that justice is done to his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night, and will he delay toward them? I tell you that he will see to it that justice is done for them soon! Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, then will he find faith on earth?”
In honor of Elisha the woman’s house and field were restored to her. In honor of Jesus, our house and field will be restored to us. And YHWH has never been an unjust judge. Actually, he is a caring and merciful father. If he can forgive and restore the prodigal son who squandered half of his inheritance, how much more will be grant you your appeal. But will YHWH find faith in you to believe; to dare to come before the throne of Grace, to ask for restoration of your rightful inheritance? Again, this is the year of release. We are in the 7th year in this land. Next week, I am sharing about the number seven again. I felt that it is YHWH who gave me this message and next week’s message. Why? Because the hand of God is in it.
4. Appeal to YHWH
2 Kings 8:3 says, ‘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.’
When Elijah appeal, then the fire fell. When the fire fell, it consumes and burn away all the wood, stubble, hay, dust and what remains is genuine faith.
When you act on the basis of God’s word through your leader, God meets your needs. This basis of God’s word today is it is the year of release and it is time for YHWH to demonstrate. It is time to appeal to YHWH.