SERMON DATE AND TITLE:20120318: "Desperate For an Answer"

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Desperate For An Answer


        An alcoholic client recently reached the point of despair and said something to himself as he reached for one of his three vices. First, he drank a shot from his bottle-a-day of hard liquor, then, he chased the burning fire of the shot with a long drought of beer. Finally, he took  another drag from his 4-pack a day cigarette.

          Like the Prodigal Son he "came to himself," and asks,

"Is this what life is all about?"

All this is happening while looking bleary-eyed at a meaningless television show. He continues with his interior monologue,

"There must be something more than this."

          As empty as this scenario was, he had still not "bottomed out." Reaching that point of despair often motivates an addict to leave their addiction. He discovered the uncomfortable reality of advanced alcoholism is the presence of "black-outs," temporary amnesic periods, during which my client was told he did unspeakable acts involving such personal and self-degradation that I am unable to write about it.

          This uncomfortable series of incidents, plus his incredibly loyal wife's urging, brought him into my office. He reeked of tobacco and alcohol during his initial interview and confessed he'd taken "a few" drinks to bolster himself before coming to see me. The odor of his presence lingered in my office more than an hour after he left. I burned a scented candle and prayed.

          Despair can either drive you toward or away from God. Desperation can lead to bold petitions. The Godly lady from Shunem in this Biblical narrative determines to make her petitions to God's prophet, Elisha in person. This text involves one of the few Old Testament accounts of resurrection.


Pastor Phil   <><<


Moses prayed, his prayer did save,

          A nation from death and from the grave.

Joshua prayed.  The sun stood still.

          His enemies fell into vale and hill.

Hannah prayed, God gave her a son;

          A nation back to the Lord he won.

Solomon prayed for wisdom.

          Then God made him the wisest of mortal men.

Elijah prayed with great desire,

          God gave him rain, and sent the fire.

Jonah prayed, God heard his wail;

          He quickly delivered him from the whale.

Three Hebrews prayed, through flames they trod

          They had as a comrade, the “Son of God.”

Elisha prayed with strong emotion;

          He got the mantle and a “double portion.”

Daniel prayed.  The lion’s claws

          Were held by the angel who locked their jaws.

Ten Lepers prayed: To the priests were sent;

          Glory to God!  They were healed as they went!

Peter prayed, and Dorcas arose

          To life again, from Death’s repose.

The Thief who prayed. . .for mercy cried,

          He went with Christ to Paradise.

The Church, she prayed, then got a shock;

          When Peter answered her prayer with a knock!

Abrahm stopped praying, cities fell,

          With all their sins into Hell!

The Disciples kept praying, the Spirit came

          With cloven tongue,” and revival flame!

Conviction filled the hearts of men;

          Three thousands souls were “born again!”

When Christians pray, as they prayed of yore

          With living faith, for souls implore,

In One Accord, united stand-----

          Revival fires will sweep the Land!

And sinners shall converted be,

          And all the world God’s glory see!

Author Unknown

Sheepfold Ministries, March 18, 2012

Pastor Phil Roland


Desperate For An Answer

2 Kings 4:8-37

"Desperation often leads to bold petitions. Sometimes we have to have our back to the wall before we ask God in faith believing. This is NOT true of the Shunammite woman. She had faith in God's answer before there was an evidence of an answer to her request."                                 Pastor Phil  <><<


1.   EL-I-SHA = ryilS = God is Savior

      His call was 901 B.C.   He held the prophetic office in Israel 55 years.

2.   SHUNAMMITE WOMAN  - Lived in Shunem - What She Wasn’t. . .
            a. Wasn’t from Royal Blood
            b. No Great Rank, Wealth, or High Social Status
            c. Wasn’t endowed with great Knowledge, or Skill
            d. Wasn’t strikingly beautiful

            e. No Sarah, or Bathsheba, or Esther
            f. Didn’t save her people as did Esther

            g. Didn't lead her people to God, like the Woman by
                        the Well
            h. Wasn’t a great leader or judge, like Deborah
            i. Didn’t even have a Child who became Great,
                        like Hannah, or Jochebed                           

3.   HER HUSBAND - (He was old)

            a. Probably much older than her

            b. Young girls were often married to older men

4.   HER SON - He was 6 to 9 years old at the time of the story             

5.   GEHAZI - Elisha's Servant



NOTE VERSES 23b and 26b:

"It is well. . "KJV  "Everything is fine. ." TLB  "Everything is all right. . ." NIV

Shunammite Woman's Faith Principle:

"Do what you can do, and believe God for what you cannot!"



            A. Obsessional Problem Focused Thinking

                        1. We tend to obsess on the Problem

                        2. The Shunnamite woman focuses on the Solution

                        3. She doesn't "Freak Out," or get Hysterical


B. FAITH Acknowledges that the Answer Lies Outside Ourselves

1. FAITH reaches OUTSIDE of Self

                        2. Faith allows God to move Through the Problem



            A. Shunammiteallows herself to be SERIOUSLY INCONVENIENCED

1. 30 miles to Mt. Carmel where the prophet resided

                        2. 6 to 10 hours to and from home to Mt. Carmel

            B. How LARGE is your circumstance?  (How LARGE is your God?)

                        1. Is ANYTHING to hard for God? Jeremiah 32:26, 27

                        "Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 27 "Behold, I

                          am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for                                 Me?"

                        2. Popcorn Prayer Persistence

                                    a. Impulsive Prayer

                                    b. Reflexive Prayer

            C. FIND the level of faith God has given you, then MOVE ON IT!

                        1. Not, "I'll TRY!"  -  Because, "To TRY is to DIE!"

                        2. But, "I CAN DO this!"

3. You need a "CAN DO" Faith


            A. The Shunammite woman DRIVES HER STUBBORNNESS                                           Unrelentingly

                        1. Donkey Biblical Symbol of Stubbornness

                        2. Shunammite Woman Symbol of Endurance/Perseverance

            B. Stubbornness involves Faith and Unwavering Persistence

                        1. Definition of Stubbornness

                         "Stubbornness is a mindless, emotionless belief in a god or                                         Principle of Life with unwavering persistence"

                        1. What Drives You with Unrelenting Stubbornness?

                        2. What Pushes You with Unwavering Persistence?

            C. Stubbornness Ignores Personal Weariness - Galatians 6:9

             "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall

              reap if we do not lose heart."


            A. The Shunammite traveled back home in the dark

                        1. She moved in darkness in  Unfamiliar Pathways - Heb. 13:5

                        "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such

                         things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you

                         nor forsake you."


a. Thieves wait under the Cover of Darkness

                                    b. Many Pitfalls along her way

                        2. Her Unrelenting Faith in God Lit her way - 1 John 1:7

                        "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship

                         with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses

                         us from all sin."

a. Remember the 6 to 10 hour trip? (One Way)

                                    b. She probably traveled fast, 6 hours or less

                                    c. Her travel would have required 12 hours at least

                                    d. 30 miles each way would have been exhausting

                                    e. She was on a Mission

                                    f. The Distance and the Darkness was nothing to her

            B. In times of Darkness, GOD IS THERE - Isaiah 45:3

 "I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret

              places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who calls you by your name,

              I Am the God of Israel."

                        1. What about You?

                        2. Are you willing to walk in the Darkness of Unfulfilled Needs?

                        3. Can you Trust God anyway?

                        4. With God "All Things" are Possible - Matthew 19:26

"But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is

                         impossible, but with God all things are possible."





Desperate For An Answer  TEXT:

2 Kings 4:8-37 (NKJV)
8 Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food.
9 And she said to her husband, "Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly.
10 Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there."
11 And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there.
12 Then he said to Gehazi his servant, "Call this Shunammite woman." When he had called her, she stood before him.
13 And he said to him, "Say now to her, 'Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?' " She answered, "I dwell among my own people."
14 So he said, "What then is to be done for her?" And Gehazi answered, "Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old."
15 So he said, "Call her." When he had called her, she stood in the doorway.
16 Then he said, "About this time next year you shall embrace a son." And she said, "No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!"
17 But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.
18 And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers.
19 And he said to his father, "My head, my head!" So he said to a servant, "Carry him to his mother."
20 When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.
21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out.
22 Then she called to her husband, and said, "Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back."
23 So he said, "Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath." And she said, "It is well."
24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, "Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you."
25 And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, "Look, the Shunammite woman!.
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."
27 Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, "Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me, and has not told me."
28 So she said, "Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, 'Do not deceive me'?"
29 Then he said to Gehazi, "Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child."
30 And the mother of the child said, "As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you." So he arose and followed her.
31 Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, "The child has not awakened."
32 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed.
33 He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD.
34 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm.
35 He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
36 And he called Gehazi and said, "Call this Shunammite woman." So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, "Pick up your son."
37 So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.