Three Searching Questions
Elisha was a prophet of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His name means "God is salvation." He served as a prophet for a period of some fifty years during the reigns of Joram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Joash. Elisha was the successor and disciple of Elijah. He is remembered in the Bible as a man of wisdom and a worker of miracles both on behalf of his nation in times of crisis and in the lives of individuals in time of need. Elisha was a farmer from Abelmeholah. (1 Kings 19:16-21) He was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen when Elijah met him. He was involved with the affairs of ordinary life. Through the power of God he purified the spring of water, (2 Kings 2:19-22), raised the Shunammite's only son (2 Kings 4:18-37), provided an antidote for the poisonous stew (2 Kings 4:38-41), the healing of Namaan's leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-19), and the recovery of a borrowed axe head. (2 Kings 6:1-7) Elisha saw Elijah disappear, going up to heaven in a whirlwind, without dying first. At that moment Elisha cried: "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel...!" (2 Kings 2:12)
At Shunem Elisha met a couple that treated him so very good. They fed him and built a little room for him. He had just what he needed there, "a bed, and a table, and a stool and a candlestick." Through the prophet Elisha God blessed this couple with a little boy. One day when the boy was with his father he had a terrible headache and he died. The account of Elisha raising the Shunammite's son is a touching story which demonstrates the power of God. The account is found in 2 Kings 4:8-37. We read together only 2 Kings 4:26-37," 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. 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. Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? 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. 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. 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. And 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. 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. 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. 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. Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out."
God had blessed this family with a son because of their goodness and the love shown by them to His prophet, Elisha. Sadly the died suddenly. In haste the woman went to Elisha. Gehazi, Elisha's servant was sent to meet her with the questions found in 2 Kings 4:26. "Please run now to meet her, and say to her, 'Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?' And she answered, 'It is well." Let us answer these same three searching questions:
Is it well with you? How can one know if it is well with him? Most would judge by health, good house, nice cloths, a nice car and money in the bank. Those who possess those things would say, "I'm doing fine. Things are well with me." But, all those things can be left behind in one quick moment and you are again faced with the question, "Is it well with you?" Ask the man in Luke 16:19-31 our question. Is it well with you? While on earth he is rich and enjoying life to the full (at least that is what he thought). On earth he would say, "Things are wonderful with me." But when the question was asked after death his answer is far different. "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." (Luke 16:24) It is well with you only if you recognize the terrible effect of sin in your life. (Romans 6:23) It is well with you only if you love the Lord and keep His commandments (John 14:15, 1 John 5:3) It is well with you only if you have obeyed the gospel and have been forgiven of sins (Hebrews 5:8-9, Mark 16:15-16) It is well with you only if you are living a faithful Christian life (Romans 6:1-6, 1 Corinthians 15:58) Is it well with you?
Is it well with your husband? Our concern must be not only for self but also for others. Cain had no concern for his brother. (Genesis 4) Noah had much concern for others, especially for his family. (Genesis 6) Our responsibility is to help others go to heaven. Let it never be said of us that we did not care for others. "When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk they have secretly set a snare for me. Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul." (Psalm 142:3-4) Is it well with your husband or wife? We have a responsibility to help our husbands or wives in their walk with God. (Ephesians 5:21-33) What are you doing to help your husband or wife go to heaven? (1 Peter 3:1-8) Let us all live faithful lives so our influence can help our husbands or wives reach heaven. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58) Is it well with your husband or wife?
Is it well with the child? Are you fulfilling your obligation to train your children to serve God? "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) Children must be taught to respect, honor and obey their parents. Parents, especially fathers, must fulfill their responsibility in "bringing their children up in the training and admonition of the Lord." "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:1-4) Is it well with the child? Do you see that the physical and emotional needs of the child are met? What about the more important spiritual needs, are the spiritual and eternal needs of the child met? Even from Old Testament days God has tried to impress the minds of parents with the need for spiritual training for their children. "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) Parents must love their children and train them to go to heaven. It is well with the child?
The questions asked by Elisha's servant are still important today, (1) Is it well with you? (2) Is it well with your husband? and (3) Is it well with the child? Can we answer as the Shunammite woman? She said, "It is well." If today should be the day your soul was required by God could you truly say, "It is well with my soul?" Do not be a stumbling block to others by your failure to obey the gospel or to by your failure to be faithful. Believe in Jesus with all your heart. (Acts 2:36-37) Repent of every sin in your life. (Acts 2:38) Confess Jesus as Lord and Christ. (Romans 10:9-10) Be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 22:16) Be faithful till death. (Revelation 2:10) Is it well...?
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA