Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all that gives light, in the shining of whom there can be no variation, rising or setting or shadow cast by His turning.” (Nothing eclipses our Father’s faithfulness!)
“No variableness! With whom? Well, not with me;
My heart is fixed; and I would faithful be:
But yet, alas, I fail in constancy…
No variableness! With whom? With Him, My Lord!
It is the statement of His blessed word:
And they who know Him best with this accord.
Thus unto Him, when shadowed or distressed,
With all that would my inner soul molest,
I’ll go for pardon, comfort, peace, and rest.
And shall I find that He is just the same,
Even though, perchance, I have to come with shame?
Ah, yes – unchanged! Thrice blessed be His name.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, ‘Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.’ So she went and came unto the man of God to Mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, ‘Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: Run now, I pray thee, to meet her.’”
“The Shunammite” – Run, Run, Don’t Walk!
“True zeal makes nothing of hardships in the way.”
- Definition of the word “zeal” in English: Enthusiastic, diligent devotion in pursuit of a cause, ideal or goal.
What in my life am I enthusiastically diligent toward and devoted to?
Is there something that so consumes my energy that I would run with all my might to see that the pursuit of my desire is completed?
“Tie the strings of my life, my Lord,
Then I am ready to go!
Just a look at the horses –
Rapid! That will do!”
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.”
Often in Scripture we find words that are such a common part of our every day speech, we simply don’t stop to even think much about what these particular words mean or are describing.
Today’s Study Text is one of those times that a very common word, run, is written about, but if we stop to consider the context of what is being said, we’ll uncover a much greater truth which applies to our lives each day – it’s best when we are in pursuit of a heavenly goal, to run, not walk!
When we left the Shunammite mother yesterday, she had informed her husband that she was going to go see “the man of God,” as she described Elisha. She also asked that a servant be allowed to assist her in saddling up a donkey. Then this woman gave some very specific instructions to “her servant,” as the Amplified Bible states in II Kings 4: 24. “Ride fast,” she instructed the young man. Then she continued, “do not slacken your pace for me unless I tell you.” This mother had a goal that she was in pursuit of. And here’s where we find the word “zealous” or “zeal” coming into the picture. The English definition of “zeal” is “to be diligent or enthusiastically devoted to the pursuit of a cause, ideal or goal.”
There’s no doubt in my mind that this dear mom had a definite goal in her mind. While it is true that her son was dead so one might say, “What’s the need to be in such a rush?” it becomes obvious that if you or I were in this mother’s place, we, too, would likely have said to ourselves, “the sooner I get to Elisha the better.” And this appears to be the mother’s goal.
She would run – not walk. She wouldn’t let anything or anyone detain her. She had a goal and would not be deterred in accomplishing the purpose for which she set out on her journey.
I don’t know if the mother believed that Elisha had the power to bring her son back to life. But why not? I’m certain she knew the story of the widow of Zarephath. She had knowledge of how this woman’s son was raised from the dead by Elijah. She had every reason to believe that Elisha could do the same for her boy for hadn’t this “man of God” been bestowed a “double portion” of Elijah’s power from heaven?
And so this mother said, “Full speed ahead, unless I tell you otherwise.” But there’s more to this story than the mother running. There’s also Elisha’s response when he saw this lady coming toward him down the road.
The Bible states that Elisha instructed his servant to, “Run to meet her.” Later in the text we find that Elisha didn’t have any knowledge why the woman was in such a hurry – but I have to tell you, this “man of God” had to know that there was an important reason for this mother to arrive in such haste. He had been around this lady enough to recognize that her “devoted pursuit” had a reason behind it. Something very important was pushing her in the direction of Elisha.
And this brings me to a story in the New Testament, told by Jesus and recorded in Luke 15: 11-32. I want to focus on the words in Luke 15: 20, “So he (the younger son) got up and came to his own father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness for him; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him fervently.” The father ran – the son ran. And there were lots of hugs!
Interestingly enough, what the running, zealous mother’s devotion tells us and what the running, zealous father’s devotion tells us is that when we have a goal, a desire, a longing so great in our being – it will captivate our lives and there will be nothing that can keep us from going all out for that which has engrossed our being.
The great English revivalist and preacher, George Whitefield put it best when he said, “I am never better than when I am on the full stretch for God.”
A mother’s devoted full-stretch push to save her child’s life. A father’s devoted full-stretch push to save his son’s soul. And I ask myself, “Will I put myself on the line to fulfill a devoted purpose, call it a “full-stretch-push for others whose lives are in jeopardy because they need to hear the life-giving power heaven has to offer?”
Not long ago I read a poem by one of my favorite authors, Amy Carmichael whose life was an example of a “full-stretch-push” for God.
“Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire.
Let me not sink to be a clod;
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.”
“O for that flame of living fire
which shone so bright in saints of old;
which bade their souls to heaven aspire,
Calm in distress, in danger bold!
Is not Thy grace as mighty now
as when Elijah felt its power?
When glory beamed from Moses’ brow,
or Job endured the trying hour?
Remember Lord, the ancient days’
Renew Thy work, Thy grace restore.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Over the past few weeks, because of the generous outpouring of gifts from God’s “Garden daughters and sons,” we were able to complete our current projects and send 10,000 bookmarks to Papua New Guinea. We also sent 500 bookmarks in the Hindi language to Northern India. Thank you. Now we are undertaking the challenge of sending bookmarks to Russia, Lithuania and Brazil and to several domestic abuse shelters here in the United States.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-349-8619