It Shall Be Well
Text: 2 Kings 4:18-37
Turn in your Bibles to 2 Kings 4:18-37. And while you are finding that let me introduce the message with a story about faith.
Joke: Let ‘er Crawl Preacher
Many times this is not the case, our faith is simple not strong enough to overcome the facts. Take the story of a preacher preaching about a Revival in his church.
Let 'er Crawl PREACHER
During a fired-up sermon, the spirit impressed a great illustration on a local pastor.
He said, "Our church needs to get back to the basics. We need to become like a babe, and learn to get up on our hands and knees and crawl like we've never CRAWLED before. This church needs to CRAWL before the Lord."
As the pastor paused briefly, From the back of the sanctuary came a voice crying out, "Let 'er CRAWL preacher, let 'er CRAWL."
The pastor continued, "Then we need to work on studying the word and strengthening ourselves to where we can STAND and be strong in our faith. We need to STAND for the LORD."
From the back of the sanctuary the voice replied back, "Let 'er STAND preacher, let 'er STAND."
Encouraged even more, the pastor continued his illustration by saying, "The church needs to then take one step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other until we can WALK with the Lord they way we should. This church needs to WALK for the Lord."
From the back of the sanctuary the voice replied back, "Let 'er WALK preacher, let 'er WALK."
By now the Pastor was fully inspired by the encouraging Brother in the back. Spurred on by the response the pastor continued with enthusiasm, "The church needs to then get into a stride where we can RUN for God. But first, it's going to take each and every member of this church, each and every one of you, to join in. You're each going to have to make a commitment to tithe, you're each going to make a commitment to study the Word daily, you're each going to have to commit to pray daily, and you're each going to have to commit to assembling here as part of this body each and every time the church doors are open. Then and only then, can this church RUN for the Lord."
After an exceptionally long and thoughtful pause the voice cried out from the back of the sanctuary with a somewhat disappointed tone, "Let 'er CRAWL Preacher, Let 'er CRAWL."
The Crises of Faith 2 Kings 4:18-21
And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.
Her Great Loss
Shunem was a little village in the tribe of Issachar, to the north of Jezreel and south of Mount Gilboa. South of Nazareth in the North and Samaria in the center of Israel.
With the death of her child, there was a crisis of faith.
Here were the facts she must face and the facts that her faith must overcome.
Her child was dead, this child who was the fulfillment of the promise of God. Yet now the boy, that very symbol of the love and power of God was gone.
The crisis was how to believe God in her heart when in her mind she knew God had failed.
Our Great Battle
We must understand that faith is only faith when it is tested by crises.
Faith is a shield, Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 :16 … taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. If it is a shield then we must understand it was meant for battle. It requires no faith to stand in time of peace. "Faith is useless unless we are under attack.”
The battles for faith that you and I will face, are those in which everything in the around us tells us, "God is wrong, God is a liar, God is not true."
The facts cannot be denied, the reality of what we face is as obvious as the lifeless body of mother’s child.
Illustration: Gladys Aylward, was missionary to China before WWII.
She was forced to flee when the Japanese invaded Yangcheng. But she could not leave her work behind. With only one assistant, she led more than a hundred orphans over the mountains toward Free China.
In their book The Hidden Price of Greatness, Ray Besson and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker which was turned into the movie, “The Seventh Inn of Happiness” starring Ingred Bergman, we are told what happened: "During Gladys's harrowing journey out of war-torn Yangcheng ... she grappled with despair as never before. After passing a sleepless night, she faced the morning with no hope of reaching safety. A 13-year-old girl in the group reminded her of their much-loved story of Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea.
“But I am not Moses,' Gladys cried in desperation.” “Of course you aren't,' the girl said, 'but Jehovah is still God!”
Transition: So, when we are left with nothing to stand on but faith, will our faith stand?
The Cry of Faith 2 Kings 4:22-26
And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well. 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, 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.
“It shall be well.”
In spite of undeniable loss, the reality of the fact of death, and the loss of her son she cries out, “It shall be well.”Just one word in the Hebrew: Shalom, peace.
Not just a by word so she wouldn't have to answer questions, not just some blindly repeated phrase. This I believe was a statement of her faith in God and in God's word through Elisha.
Her promised child was dead, but she knew, she believed, she had faith that, "It shall be well."
Raising Our Battle Cry
Do we dare to believe even when faced with the fact that God is wrong? Actually, this is faith. This is the battle each of must face.
Will we also be able to truly say, "It shall be well" when everything around says it is not well and may never be again.
Can we say even when we are sinking in a sea of doubts and fear, “Oh Lord as long as I hold this hand up reaching out to you, It shall be well?"
Will I overcome the facts of this sinful, hurtful world with faith in God’s Word, God’s promises and God’s love?
When my health is failing, Can I say to those that ask, "It shall be well?"
When my bank account is empty, Can I still say "It shall be well?"
When trusted ones have betrayed me. When I've been fired from my job, When my marriage is failing, when my marriage has failed. When loved ones have are taken away in death. When my church is struggling, will I still believe and say, “I don’t know when or how but Lord, I know it shall be well?”
Illustration: The Father of the demon possessed son comes to Jesus and his disciples in Mark 9:23-24
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Transition, In order for us to have faith that overcomes facts we must understand what that faith is built upon.
The Core of Faith 2 Kings 4:27-37
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.
The Bedrock of Her Faith
Notice the persistence and determination of those with faith.
Gehizi tries and fails, Elisha prays, Elisha tries and fails, Elisha works, Elisha rests, Elisha tries again and finally he succeeds.
Not once did God tell Elisha what would happen. His faith was not based upon special revelation but upon God’s promise through him to the Shunamite woman and his knowledge of who God is, of the very character of God. That was the core of his faith and it would not accept the fact of a child taken after God had given His word.
The Bedrock of Real Faith
Please listen many people are failing as Christians because they think that faith is something it is not.
Faith is not willpower. It does not grow strong simply because you wish it or force it to.
Faith is not some kind of ESP, or mental visualization. It doesn’t make things happen out of thin air or simply use your imagination to bring things into existence.
Faith that overcomes fact is not even simple belief in God, a general, generic kind of “Sure I believe God can do anything.”
What is faith then? Faith is a direct, active belief in God’s character, God’s Love, God’s power and especially God’s Word. Let me show you what scripture says.
First lets look at God's Character
Bill Gothard's God, When dealing with adoptive children he advised. "The first thing you must do is get them to thank God for taking their parents." That's not my God!
Author of all that is good James 1:16-17 Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Faithful in all his promises Hebrews 11:66 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
That is the kind of faith that overcomes the facts of a world filled with loss and death, pain and suffering. God is not the author of those things He has defeated those things.
Next we must believe in God's Love
I hear preachers frightening church members about going to heaven and standing before the judgment seat of Christ. The “Great Movie Screen in Heaven Sermon.” Let me tell you that’s not God and that is not the love of God.
The definition of God 1 John 4:16-19 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Love, not dread, is what I will feel when I see Jesus. That’s the kind of love that overcomes the fact of my sinfulness and my weakness. God’s love overcame that when he saved by His grace.
We must also believe in God's Power
His power will overcome the crises
Romans 8:28 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
This is faith that overcomes the facts of a world that sometimes just doesn’t make sense, a world that seems to be out of control and spinning downward to hell. If we have faith then we believe that God’s is still in control. God still rules and reigns in the affairs of man.
Finally we must understand and believe in God's Word
A professor was leading chapel at our Bible college, preaching on moving mountains, or in this case his illustration was of a mound of asphalt in the college parking lot. "If we had faith we could toss that mound of asphalt into the ocean" he proclaimed.
If we can have faith to move mountains, why don't we see more land leveling? Because nowhere in this book are we told to move Mt Everest or a mounds of asphalt in the parking lot.
Faith is based on the revealed word of God. This is how I know what I am supposed to have faith about and in.
Ps 119:80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.,
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When I know what God says to me, as a New Covenant believer in his word, then my faith overcomes the facts of disappointment, depression and despair.
Job in the midst of his suffering and the doubts of his family and friends, confronted with the facts of a life turned into nothing but pain, Calls out in Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: …16 He also shall be my salvation”
What is your cry today? A cry of faith or of despair? Are you calling out, "Oh, Lord, why?" or "Oh, Lord. It shall be well."
Can you believe it here at Calvary Baptist Church? Can you see a church with the pews filled? Can you see lives being touched, families being strengthened, missionaries being sent, people being changed by the power of God?
Can you say “It shall be well” for your family? Even when faced with the impossibilities of modern life, the dangers, the drugs, the finances, the task of just staying together. Will you still say, "It shall be well."
Can you say it in your life? Can you look at your own life of those things in the past and the prospects for the future, your ability to make it day by day. Can you say, "It shall be well?"
Can you believe it in your soul? Can you look at your heart, at the part of you only you and God can see and can you say, "It shall be well?" You can if you know God, If you know his word and especially if you know his love. If you've claimed Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then, It is well with your soul!
"It Is Well With My Soul" Music of the Faith By Charles W. Colson
Millions of people have found comfort in the great gospel hymn "It Is Well with My Soul" since it was written more than a century ago. But few people know the tragic story behind the composition of the hymn--a story of a soul finding peace in God even in the midst of grief and loss.
We pick up the story in 1871, the year of the great Chicago fire. One man who was particularly hard hit by the fire was a Christian named Horatio Spafford, who had invested heavily in real estate along Lake Michigan. The great fire wiped out Spafford's holdings.
This was not the first disaster to strike Spafford and his wife. Only a short time earlier they had suffered the loss of their son. Yet, even worse was to come.
Two years later, Spafford decided to take his wife and four daughters to Europe on vacation, where Spafford planned to assist his friend, evangelist Dwight Moody, to run an evangelistic campaign in Great Britain. But last minute business kept Spafford home in Chicago. He sent his wife and children ahead on the oceanliner S.S. Ville du Havre.
And then, tragedy struck. Halfway across the Atlantic, an English vessel rammed the Ville du Havre and cut her in two. In the chaos that followed, Mrs. Spafford watched helplessly as her four daughters wore swept overboard to their deaths. Within just twelve minutes the ship had sunk.
The rescued survivors were taken to Wales. From there Mrs. Spafford cabled the terrible news to her husband, who was awaiting news of his family's fare. The cable consisted of just two words: "Saved alone."
Spafford immediately boarded the next ship and set off for Wales to be with his wife.
As his ship approached the mid-Atlantic, he looked out over the billowing waves that had taken the lives of his beloved daughters. Inspired by the sight, Spafford wrote the words of his now famous hymn:
"When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It Is well, It is well with my soul."
(c) 1998 Prison Fellowship Ministries
Song "It is well."
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate and hath shed His own blood for my soul
My sin O the bliss of this glorious thought My sin, not in par, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more; Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord O my soul!
Chorus It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul