A Great Woman

What Makes a Woman, a Great Woman

2Kings 4:8-37

Pastor Craig Ledbetter                                           

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

22 Mar, 2009  AM



I.        Introduction ()


A.      A teacher gave her class of a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: "My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I pick up things. What am I?" When the test papers were turned in, the teacher was astonished to find that almost half of the students answered the question with the word Mother.

B.      Humorous Story


1.       Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, "I’m tired, and it’s getting late. I think I’ll go to bed." She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day’s lunches. Took meat out of the freezer for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for brewing the next morning. She then put some wet clothes in the dryer, put a load of clothes into the washer, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button. She picked up the game pieces left on the table and put the telephone book back into the drawer. She watered the plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry.

2.       She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk and wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the field trip, and pulled a textbook out from hiding under the chair.

3.       She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope and wrote a quick reminder for the grocery store. She put both near her purse.

4.       Mom then washed her face with 3 in 1 cleanser, put on her Night Solution & age fighting moisturizer, brushed her teeth and clipped and filed her nails.

5.       Dad called out, “I thought you were going to bed.” “I’m on my way,” she said. She put some water into the dog’s dish and put the cat outside, then made sure the doors were locked. She looked in on each of the kids and turned out their bedside lamps, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks into the hamper, and had a brief conversation with the one up still doing homework.

6.       In the bedroom, she set the alarm; laid out clothing for the next day, straightened up the shoe rack. She added three things to her 10 most important things to do list. She opened her Bible, read her chapter in Proverbs, prayed about tomorrow, and thanked God for a good day.

7.       About that time, Dad turned off the TV and announced to no one in particular. "I’m going to bed." And he did... without another thought.


C.      Illustration: A Mom put her son to bed on the eve of his fifth birthday. She was trying to communicate that birthday idea to him. “Kevin,” she said, “this is the last night of your fourth year. Do you understand that?” Kevin was ready to communicate with his hands. For a full year, he had shown people four fingers for his four years, and now he was ready to add a thumb. Seeing his four fingers, his mother nodded, and said: “When you go to sleep tonight, you’ll still be 4-years-old. But do you know how old you’ll be in the morning, when you wake up?” Kevin nodded enthusiastically, added his thumb to his four little fingers and said, “Tomorrow, I’ll be a handful!”

D.      There are two people in the Scripture this morning in 2Kings 4


1.       A Great Prophet


a.       Elisha – man of God

b.       He had learned under Elijah, and had been the one who asked God for a double portion of the Spirit that was on Elijah, and got it!

c.        Times were hard. He gave the nation hope and direction from God through those hard times!


2.       A Great Woman


a.       Not great because of her name (she is unnamed)

b.       Not great because of her money, or her abilities, but because of special characteristics that every woman in here should want, especially mothers


3.       I want to honour the mothers in our church this morning by learning from a great woman – the only woman in the entire Bible who is called great. We need good examples, good role models. Well, here is one for you

4.       As a matter of fact, the Bible is full of them:


a.       Jesus had a great Mother didn’t He?

b.       Moses had an awesome Mother – Jochebed

c.        Hannah was an amazing Mother

d.       Solomon had an awesome Mother – Bathsheba

e.        John the Baptist had a great Mother – Elizabeth

f.        And the list goes on!


E.       Let’s learn from a Great Woman – a Great Mother, who lived in a little town called Shunem. And let’s see what makes a person truly great in God’s sight!

F.       The Truth is, our world does not need great economists, or great doctors, or great politicians…

G.      We Need Some Great Women!


II.      Message


A.      She Was Great Because of Her Kindness (2Kings 4:9-11)


1.       Elisha was a travelling preacher. Covered hundreds of miles every month, going from place to place, preaching in every village, and teaching in several Bible Colleges (called schools of the prophets)

2.       He regularly travelled by a home in Shunem, owned by a man and his wife

3.       The husband was a very busy man – that’s a good thing. Didn’t notice Elisha always travelling by. He just didn’t.

4.       But his wife did. She wanted to be a blessing to the pastor – to the man of God.

5.       She offered Elisha supper. He at first refused. But she wanted to be a blessing. She got a blessing out of giving, and out of being a blessing

6.       Hey, greatness begins with giving of your time, and yourself to others!

7.       She had an open home. Every time he was passing by there, he was always welcome to come for a meal!

8.       But the woman wanted to do more


a.       There were no hotels, and very few inns along the way

b.       Elisha often had to sleep outside

c.        This woman had an idea – build a small flat for the prophet. Just for him

d.       The idea pleased her husband and they built it along the wall of their property so he could come and go as he pleased and did not have to feel like he was intruding in their home life.

e.        A simple flat – a bad, a table, a stool and a lamp – perfect

f.        It blessed Elisha and his faithful servant named Gehazi


9.       Now, she didn’t do this to get anything back – just being a blessing is blessing enough

10.    But God was going to bless her back anyway – He always does!

11.    Thank God for mothers! They are usually kind by nature!

12.    That’s what makes you great!


B.      She Was Great Because of Her Desire (2Kings 4:12-17)


1.       Elisha wanted to be a blessing back


a.       Isn’t it wonderful when people start being a blessing to one another?

b.       All of sudden, people who have been blessed by someone start going out of their way to be a blessing back, and in no time, life is full of people just piling on help and blessings


2.       Elisha asks Gehazi to go she what she would like? Honour from the king? A promotion? A government job? Protection by the army from an enemy?

3.       This wonderful wife did not want anything. She was content. What a way to live! Tru, real hospitality gives and seeks nothing in return – and THAT is what God honours!

4.       She had everything she wanted. No complaining, no murmuring.


a.       She had a husband, and loved him

b.       She had a home

c.        She had God – loved God, and worshipped Him faithfully

d.       She had her people – family around her, good neighbours

e.        We take things for granted and think we are missing something


5.       Elisha knows God wants to honour this woman’s kindness, and presses for a way to bless her

6.       Gehazi has noticed no children around the home. No teenagers, no grandchildren.

7.       Elisha quickly called for the woman, and announces in under a year, she would be holding her own little baby!


a.       Oh how that shocked her!

b.       She didn’t want to have a false hope


8.       You see, she secretly, deep down wanted to be a mother – it was, and still is, an honour! A great thing to be a Mom!

9.       For so many years, her desire was to be a Mom. But it had become evident that she and her husband could not have children. Now they were old. And she finally had given up praying for a baby. But God had not forgotten!


a.       The same things had happened with Elizabeth and Zachariah

b.       Sarah and Abraham


10.    Elisha could have put a good word in for this woman and her husband at the royal court of king Jehu, but instead, he put a good word into the court of heaven for her!

11.    What are your desires? Your deep longings that you have given up on because it just doesn’t seem possible anymore?


a.       How many young women desire praise and accolade and attention like Brittany Spears?

b.       Only to realise years later, she wishes she was a Mom, a Mother, a woman of faith and trust in God?


12.    God honours women who honour Him, and He will do the impossible, if you only believe in Him and will trust Him!


C.      She Was Great Because of Her Faith (2Kings 4:18-20)


1.       Now comes the trying of her faith. All great women (and men) were forged by fire – great trials

2.       There is no real greatness without real faith – faith that can stand the trials and testings

3.       The young child grows up. He is probably around 12 or 13

4.       It is harvest time. – the busiest time of the year!

5.       And for the first time, the young boy is allowed to go out into the fields and work along side his Daddy! Oh how proud they both must have been!

6.       There were hundreds of workers, cutting down the barley and wheat stalks, binding them, sifting them and storing them away for the winter

7.       As the sun beat down on all those workers, the son collapses, grabbing his head


a.       Possibly sunstroke

b.       An aneurism

c.        Don’t know

d.       Probably just too much work for the young boy

e.        Sent home to his mother. Probably just thought it was a migraine from heat exhaustion and would recover


8.       The mother knows something is wrong and cradles him in her arms. Surely some rest would be all that he needed.

9.       But then, at noon… he… died!

10.    Sudden tragedy!

11.    Her blessing, her God-given thrill and joy was gone!

12.    How should she react? What does she do now?

13.    This child was a miracle child. A promised child. She had not demanded God to give her this boy – GOD had freely given him to them! This child was not a possession that she owned – he was a gift that she treasured!

14.    And now he was ripped away from her world!

15.    But that is NOT the end of the story!

16.    This woman has a faith that made her great! And God likes faith!


D.      She Was Great Because of Her Determination (2Kings 4:21-30)


1.       She doesn’t bury the child! She is determined that this child will live again!

2.       She is determined to trust in the Lord with all her heart!


a.       She doesn’t despair, give up, quit, get mad, or start blaming!

b.       Could have blamed the husband for working him too hard, or not watching out for him, etc.

c.        Could have blamed herself for not waiting a little longer before letting him go out to the fields

d.       Could have blamed herself for not doing something more than just rocking him while he was faint

e.        But instead, she believes God! Oh that women today believed God!


1)       The apostle Paul in Acts 27:25, in the midst of a deadly hurricane said, “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God!”

2)       Listen to how Abraham handled the impossibility of trusting in God in Romans 4:18-22: “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”

3)       Proverbs 3:5,6 says “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”


3.       She is determined to find Elisha!


a.       She remembers that GOD used Elisha to give her that child!

b.       Puts the lifeless body of her son not on his bed, or on her bed, but on Elisha’s bed!

c.        She informs her husband that she has to go and find Elisha


1)       The husband is surprised

2)       She has not told him that the child is dead yet – he would never have let her go if he knew that his son was dead

3)       It was not a normal worship time (like our Sundays and Wednesday evenings) and so Elisha could have been anywhere!

4)       But she trusts that GOD will guide her!

d.       She heads out at full speed!

e.        She found Elisha! At Mt Carmel, 20 miles away. Took her 3-4 hours to get there!


4.       She is determined to get Elisha back to her house to raise that boy back to life


a.       Elisha sends Gehazi to go and find out what is wrong? Elisha knows nothing about what has happened. Sometimes, God showed His prophets things, and sometimes, He lets them discover them on their own

b.       Notice her response – “It is well”


1)       Now that she has found Elisha, it truly is well

2)       Even though her son is dead - with God, all things are well

3)       She believes everything will be okay now!

4)       She has hope (Rom 5:3-5) and she is not ashamed of that hope no matter how foolish it may have seemed!


c.        I believe this woman had more faith than Elisha


1)       Elisha kind of flippantly just send Gehazi with his staff to go and lay it on the body – not real faith or struggle in faith – just kind of cocky

2)       Elisha has to be pushed to leave Carmel and to come to her house


d.       Hey! This woman moved Elisha to help her. Elisha was FOLLOWING HER now

e.        THAT’S determination, and THAT is greatness!


5.       Great women don’t give up! They have a determination to believe God, and hope when others have given up! Isn’t THAT the characteristic of a Great Mother?


E.       She Was Great Because of Her God (2Kings 4:31-35a)


1.       Her eyes told her that her son was dead

2.       Gehazi told her that her son was dead

3.       But God is greater than death!

4.       God steps into the situation now and teaches us how to trust Him when things are dead


a.       Get alone (4:33) – bring your problem not to a counsellor, or to a drinking buddy, or to another friend. Bring your impossible problem to God!

b.       Pray (4:33). Pray like you have never prayed before. Earnest prayer is


1)       Total effort – not a passing comment to God, or a quick word in passing

2)       It is a passionate act – an all consuming act

3)       Where you hunger, yearn, desire, ache for God to hear and act on your behalf

4)       Jesus prayed earnestly (Luke 22:44)

5)       Elijah prayed earnestly (James 5:16,17)


c.        Try everything (4:34)


1)       Here, Elisha tries mouth to mouth resuscitation

2)       He is not laying some old stick on top of this lifeless body, he is laying HIMSELF out. Elisha is giving everything he has got for this boy

3)       The pressure of his body on top of the child’s body compresses the heart and helps the blood to flow slowly

4)       And the flesh started to get warm again!

5)       Elisha is doing everything HE can, and God starts to do what only HE can


d.       Expect Life Again


1)       Elisha looked in the eyes of that boy to see if there was any sign

2)       Doctors do it today!

3)       But Elisha is looking to see God bring this boy back to life

4)       Don’t ever give up!

5)       Everything you do has to be done by faith, looking for GOD to act


a)       Soul-winning

b)       Training up you children

c)       Loving and honouring your husband or your wife

d)       It doesn’t matter how dead your relationship might be, or your heart may be, or someone else’s heart may be! TRUST GOD!


e.        Don’t Stop until you have succeeded (4:35a)


1)       After a while, Elisha would stand up and walk around, and then try again

2)       He wasn’t going to stop until he succeeded

3)       Oh that we would never give up! We have the victory! We have the answer!

4)       I believe he was totally worn out, but he kept at it

5)       I believe the woman outside that door was wrestling just as hard in her heart in prayer

6)       Neither were giving up!

7)       And neither should you!


a)       Do you have a wayward son or daughter?

b)       Do you have a Mom or a dad who is spiritually dead and not interested in getting saved?

c)       Do you have a financial situation that is impossible?

d)       Stay doing right! Stay trusting the Lord’s way, and trusting His word to work!


f.        Expect the Unusual (4:35a)


1)       This is great! We are dealing with the impossible, so expect the unusual!

2)       The child surprises Elisha by sneezing

3)       I bet Elisha jumped out of his skin when this dead boy shook all over and took a deep breath and then sneezed real loud!

4)       And then to watch him take another deep breath and sneeze again, and then again. Seven times

5)       And then he sat up, blinking his eyes and looking around wondering what had just happened!


5.       Hey! Do you know what? This was not a miracle by Elisha, or by this woman. This was an act of God almighty!

6.       GOD made this woman great! Simply because she trusted in Him, and waited on Him, and expected only from God (Psalm 62:5). Every good thing in our life, every miracle is only because of the Lord!


F.       She Was Great Because She Got What She Wanted (2Kings 4:35b-37)


1.       A great woman is great because she gets what she wants!

2.       This woman did not want a bigger house, or a better husband, or praise and possessions

3.       She wanted REAL treasures


a.       She wanted her son back

b.       She wanted God to get all the glory

c.        She wanted to raise a son to trust the Lord as much as she did

d.       She wanted a family


4.       And do you know what? She got it all!


a.       Just like Hannah got what she wanted – a son

b.       Just like the widow woman in Luke 18 who stayed at it, stayed on the unjust judge until she got what SHE wanted


5.       Plenty of you ladies know how to get what you want, but have never directed your efforts in prayer towards God for some REALLY BIG things!


III.   Conclusion


A.      We have learned a little about a Great Prophet named Elisha. But he wasn’t the main thing in this Scripture was he? No.

B.      We have learned more about a Great Woman. Unnamed, but called GREAT by God!

C.      She is a great example of real greatness!

D.      We need some Great Women today


1.       Our world’s problems don’t need better economists

2.       Or better politicians

3.       Or better doctors

4.       or better counsellors

5.       We need great Mothers

6.       God gave us a great example


E.       Why was this woman called Great by God?


1.       She Was Great Because of Her Kindness

2.       She Was Great Because of Her Desire - What was her desire, deep down, and secret? To be a Mom!

3.       She Was Great Because of Her Faith

4.       She Was Great Because of Her Determination - She is determined to trust in the Lord with all her heart

5.       She Was Great Because of Her God

6.       She Was Great Because She Got What She Wanted


F.       It all begins by the new life. Not a religious act, but a yielding to the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you!

G.      No mother, no matter how devoted she may be, no matter how sacrificial, no one is more important than Jesus, and no mother can live without Jesus!

H.      If you are not born again this morning, today would be the best day to repent of trying to live without Him as Lord of your life, and simply ask Him to save your soul and make you His child!

I.        He seeks to save you from YOUR sins and make you HIS child, and fill you with HIS Spirit!

J.        Happy Mother’s Day everyone!