Daniel Agee

1st Kings 17 part 2: Three women on the edge and God’s mercy through Eliyahu and Elisha

Daniel AgeeI love the Shunammite woman’s story the most because her story shows us that this picture of a prophet is not just any one. It’s a shadow of the Prophet, the Messiah. She went out to seek him every time. She asked for nothing in return when she gave him a place to stay, she didn’t even ask for a son.

We can see parts of our own walk in the walk of all three women in 1st Kings 17 and 2nd Kings 4, and we are supposed to. [See part 1 of the study on 1st Kings 17.]

God uses a thematic structure throughout the entire scripture. We are supposed to tie the similar stories together. Their similarities teach us a lesson.

Similarities between 1st Kings 17 and 2nd Kings 4

1st Kings 17 2nd Kings 4
Elijah Elisha
Gentile widow Prophet’s/Israelite’s widow
Future of the widow and child is death Future of children is slavery
No means of salvation No means of salvation
Little flour and oil Little oil
Flour and oil didn’t run out until God brought back rain Oil did not run out until the vessels were all filled
Flour and oil lasted one year Debt was paid and kept the rest to live on

The Messiah Himself tied Himself to the story of Elijah in 1st Kings 17 (Luke 4:21–26). Since Elijah’s story is tied to Elisha’s story in 2nd Kings 4, it shows us that Messiah is a part of Elisha’s story, too. 

The Shunammite woman’s life differs somewhat differs but all three of these women need the same solution to their problem. 

Gentile widow Shunammite woman
Widow gets food from God to feed Elijah Shunammite woman provides food herself
Provided a bed in an upper room Provided a bed on the roof/attic
Death of the son ended promise Death of the son ended the promise
Elijah takes boy to his bed (conceal) Shunammite woman hides son on prophet’s bed (conceals)
Elijah wasn’t aware of God’s plan Elisha wasn’t aware of God’s plan
Made three attempts at resurrection Made three attempts to revive
Laid on the child Laid on the child

These stories are equal to each other. The details are equal too, not just the overall concept. In the first comparison of the Gentile widow and the prophet’s widow, the Gentile’s son was facing starvation and death, the prophet’s sons were facing slavery. The Bible is showing us that slavery equals death. 

In a sense, we have the story of two different resurrections. 

All of these stories point our eyes towards the Messiah in one way or another, either to something Messiah did or what He is going to do in the future. 

These two stories were already connected to each other before Messiah was born. The people already knew of this connection. What is it about both stories that Messiah wanted to tie to Himself? The stories are basically the same, but the three women are mostly unrelated to each other:

  • Gentile widow: Does not know God
  • Prophet’s widow: Knows God but not of herself, primarily through husband
  • Shunammite woman: Knows God personally

What these women experienced was through the Messiah. They all needed the same Messiah. By the end of the Gentile widow’s story, she knows God. Although the Gentile widow’s son was resurrected, the primary goal was the widow’s salvation. Elijah was sent to her for her sake. 

For the prophet’s widow, Elisha was not sent for her sake but for the sake of her children. In the life of the Shunammite woman, she bypassed her husband, she bypassed the prophet’s messenger and went straight to the source. The Shunammite woman teaches us that the source of our salvation is not through a messenger but from the Creator. She concealed the death of the son from her husband and the messenger and went straight to God, so to speak. 

Those who are gentiles will be saved, those who are condemned to slavery will be free and the Messiah is not just a messenger, He is the Savior. The Messiah came to save all these types of people. 

Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy.

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