It’s hard to believe it is Thanksgiving week already. It seems like it was just January, and you blink a few times, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.
Thanksgiving is a time of reflection mixed with food, family, friends, fun, and football (at least here in the United States).
Thanksgiving is a great time to show how grateful you are for those around you, but I recognize that it can be another tough here for folks. We thought the pandemic would be behind us by now, but it still lingers.
You might be part of the growing population of people who have lost someone this year, whether it was a result of COVID, cancer, or other tragedy, and my heart goes out to you.
During this Thanksgiving holiday, I want to encourage you to reach out to someone and tell them how much you love them and appreciate them.
In the book of second Kings, two stories remind us how much God loves us, cares for us, and provides for us.
2 Kings 4 opens with a story of a widow that is about to lose everything. And by everything, I mean everything, including her family. Her husband has passed away, and there are debts to be settled, or her sons will be taken as slaves.
Elisha is the prophet of Israel during this time, and she asks the widow what he can do. He further asks her what’s in her home.
She replies, nothing but a flask of olive oil.1
Elisha tells her to borrow as many jars as possible, and as she pours the olive oil from the flask to the jars, it miraculously continues to flow until all the pots are exhausted.
The prophet tells her to sell the jars of olive oil and to pay the debts, and her family can live on what is left.2
God is amazing – He made the olive oil continue flowing so a family could stay together. He cares for each one of us whether we embrace Him or not.
The second story in 2 Kings 4 is equally amazing. Elisha and his servant Gehazi would pass through the town of Shunem every so often. Scripture expressly says this woman was wealthy.3
Each time he passed through, Elisha would join this woman and her husband for a meal. What I find interesting is scripture tells us about her wealth, not her husband’s. Typically wealth was passed through the male line versus the female line, so this would have been quite the exception for the time.
She recognized that Elisha was a prophet or holy man of God and created a place for him to stay when he passed through the town.4
While staying at this home, he went to the room created for him to rest. He asked his servant if there was something the woman needed.
In 2 Kings 4:13, Elisha says to his servant,
“Tell her, ‘We appreciate the kind concern you have shown us. What can we do for you? Can we put in a good word for you to the king or to the commander of the army?”
There must have been a language barrier of some kind because Gehazi seems to interpret for Elisha. She explained that she did not need anything because her family takes good care of her.5
Later, Elisha asked his servant again if there was anything they could do for her. Gehazi replies that she does not have a son because her husband is old.
Elisha calls for her again and says,
“Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!” – 2 Kings 4:16
A year passed, and the woman did have a child. Scripture implies that Elisha continued to pass through this town and stay with them when he was there.
Years later, the young boy fell ill and died. The woman placed the young boy on Elisha’s bed and closed the door.6
Interestingly, she told her husband she was going to see Elisha, who was at Mt. Carmel. Elisha dispatched Gehazi to meet the woman and ask if everything was alright with the family.7
She told the servant one thing and Elisha another thing. Elisha was a man of God and could see something was troubling her, but God had not revealed it to him.8
Once Elisha found out what was going on, he sent his servant on ahead with his staff, but the woman pleaded with him to go home with her. As Elisha arrived at the home, Gehazi informed him that the boy was still dead.9
Elisha went into the room, closed the door, and prayed to the Lord. If a miracle was to take place, it could not be accomplished without the Lord.
2 Kings 4:34-36 records the miracle that took place in this upper room:
“Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes! Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. “Call the child’s mother!” he said. And when she came in, Elisha said, “Here, take your son!”
Her first response after getting back her son (who was now alive) was gratitude. Scripture says she was “overwhelmed with gratitude”10
I can imagine lots of tears, joy, laughter, and praising God for bringing her child back to her. Scripture does not indicate what becomes of this family or how the boy grows up. Like the widow, this story is shared with us as a reminder of God’s provision and love.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, take a few minutes to thank Him for all He has provided for you and your family during this year. Ask Him to bring to mind specific things that you may have forgotten.
This Thanksgiving, my prayer for you is that your heart will be overwhelmed with gratitude for all that God has provided.
Lord, thank you for a fantastic year filled with love, grace, and provision. We ask you to bring to mind those times when You provided for our needs so that we can thank you. Sometimes in the moments of life, we forget to pause and thank you for all that you have done. We thank you and praise you for all you have done and will do in our lives. Amen!
- 2 Kings 4:2 ↩︎
- 2 Kings 4:1-7 ↩︎
- 2 Kings 4:8 ↩︎
- 2 Kings 4:9-10 ↩︎
- 2 King 4:13 ↩︎
- 2 Kings 4:18-22 ↩︎
- 2 Kings 4:23-26 ↩︎
- 2 Kings 4:27-28 ↩︎
- 2 Kings 4:29-31 ↩︎
- “She fell at his feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs.” — 2 Kings 4:37 ↩