In 2 Kings 8 we read of a woman who had been the beneficiary of the powerful kindness of God through his servant Elisha. The Shunammite woman’s son had died and then God used Elisha to raise him from the dead (2 Kings 4.18ff).
Elisha then warned her that a famine was coming and that it was wise to leave her homeland. This advice was taken. In chapter 8 we learn that she has come back to her land to find it in someone else’s hands. She goes to the King and asks for grace. She asked the king for her land back.
A funny thing happened though. As she entered to make her requests known, the King was having his ears filled with the mighty deeds of God through Elisha. More specifically, God’s mighty deeds to this very woman! (2 Kings 8.4-6). This is absolutely amazing. The King, with a somewhat softened heart, gives the woman all of her land back plus the produce from the fields she would have earned had she been there (2 Kings 8.6).
We can’t help but see gospel themes come to the surface as we consider this.
The woman is helpless and seemingly hopeless. She has been banished from her land because of God’s judgment upon idolatry and sin. She comes to the King for grace. She comes to get what she does not deserve. The King is compelled, because of the work of another, to be sensitive to her. He gives her a rich reward. He gives her a reward that would have been hers had she done the work herself.
In the gospel we too find ourselves going from helpless and hopeless to blessed and rich. The great work of God in Christ has been presented to the King on our behalf. His work that was done in our place, the perfect doing and dying of Jesus, is given to us. We are richly blessed with his righteousness and enabled to dwell securely and happily in Christ. Furthermore, just like this woman whose latter case is better than the first, we too having been given the righteousness of Christ stand in a position that is far better than where we stood with Adam before sin and judgment. Instead of being morally pure in our untested holiness, we stand eternally righteous having been credited so based upon Christ’s tested and proven obedience.
I can imagine how this woman went home to her home singing of grace and mercy. How much more should aliens and strangers like us go forth from the throne of mercy with his praise on our lips and his beauty on our minds?! We have been given much.