In II Kings chapter four the Bible registers the story of a Shunammite woman. No name was given, just the place where she lived. Shunem was located in the tribe of Issachar, to the north of Jezreel and north of Mount Gilboa. The Bible views the Shunammite as wealthy, influential and respected, a woman with kind heart, and compassionate. We see that in her good deeds toward the Prophet Elisha. As she watched him often passing by, she perceived him to be a man of God. Her perception led her to provide Elisha a furnished chamber to rest while in his journey. She not only had good perception, but she was also an initiator of action. She was willing to receive the Prophet Elisha in her house because he was “a man of God.” Her good deed toward Elisha was for love of God. Although they were wealthy and had everything they wanted, they did not have children. Children in those days were not inconvenience, but considered a blessing from God. They were not aborted, but they were given their place on earth to fulfill God’s plan for them. Elisha was most grateful to her and wanted to reward her. Knowing this detail, he promised her a child. Knowing her husband to be old, she pleaded the prophet with these words: “No, my lord, you man of God, do not lie to your handmaid.” Nevertheless the Shunammite woman conceived and bore a son at that season the following year, as Elisha said to her. A true Abrahamic miracle!
A covenant is an agreement between two people; it will only work if both parties will honor their obligation to it. Therefore it is conditional. God had a covenant with Abraham, from which the nation of Israel was born. The Lord also promised Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan, from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates. When Abraham was tested on the mountain “The Lord will provide,” God blessed him by saying, I have sworn by Myself, says the Lord, that since you have done this and have not withheld or begrudged your son, your only son, in blessing I will bless and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants like the stars of the heavens and like the sand of the seashore. And you Seed will possess the gate of His enemies. And in your Seed [Christ] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed and [by Him] bless themselves, because you have heard and obeyed My voice (Gen. 22:17-18). Although Abraham kept the covenant between God and him, his descendants did not; reason why they lost their beautiful Promised Land covenanted with them, conditionally upon their keep of the contract.
The Israelites, while living in Egypt, were undefined as a nation. They were a family composed of twelve brothers, whose numbers grew greatly, as God was preparing them to make a nation out of them. The 430 years that they remained in Egypt, they grew to a staggering number, causing the Egyptians to kill their babies and force hard labor on them, bringing them to a slave’s status. Jacob, his wives, and sons were living in Canaan before they sojourned to Egypt until the famine took them to Egypt in search of food. These were days of uncertainties in the mind of Jacob, as he made decision to move to Egypt, a distance of 121 miles from Canaan, their Promised Land; they were already there, but not in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in the space of time ordained for it to happen. Many years had to pass, many things had to happen in their lives, including in Moses’ life. A nation to be a nation is required for a good number of people to fill the spaces. A nation, out of seventy people is hardly enough to be formed into one. God’s plan was for them to grow and multiply before He took them out of Egypt for the purpose to form a nation unto Him- a royal race.
From the beginning of times, Satan tried to destroy YAHWEH’S plan to bring about His purpose of redemption for humankind. It started with Cain who killed his righteous brother out of anger and resentment. But YAHWEH gave Adam and Eve a third son who carried the righteous lineage and from his descendants, Noah was born ten generations later. From the family of Shem, one of Noah’s son, Abraham was born. The gap between Noah to Abraham was also ten generations. Here is the summary of Abraham’s lineage:
1. Noah – name means: Comfort or Rest
2. Shem – meaning: Renown; prosperity
3. Arphaxad – meaning: A healer; a releaser
4. Shelah – meaning: Sent Out, Branch or Javelin
5. Eber – meaning: To pass over, through, take away
6. Peleg – name means: Division
7. Reu – name means: Friend
8. Nahor – the name means: Breathing Hard
9. Terah – name means: Spirit, Spirited or Inspired
10. Abram – a high father – later to be called Abraham – father of multitude
(Genesis 4:25-26; 6:1-10; Ezra 9)
When Adam and Eve sinned, they made a choice to disobey YAHWEH to believe Satan’s lies. That was the sin of rebellion Satan imparted to them. From that time on, the sinful nature entered their souls, and they became slaves to it. In spite of it, YAHWEH gave them a promise of redemption. To the serpent, YAHWEH said, and I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel (Gen. 3:15). Why is YAHWEH bringing the Holy Seed to the picture and for what purpose at that point in time? Who is Satan’s offspring and who is the woman’s offspring? How was that going to happen? Adam and Eve were childless at that time. We do not know how long had they been created before they sinned. One thing is for sure: YAHWEH had a plan to restore men to Himself one day. It was going to happen through the woman, independent from a man. Adam and Eve had two sons after this. Cain the first born, was a tiller of the ground. Abel, the second son was a keeper of sheep. Because Cain defiantly offered YAHWEH a sacrifice contrary to what he was supposed to and his prideful and hateful nature, causing him to kill his brother, he was not from whom the Holy Seed would have come.
Thus Abraham believed, and it was reckoned and placed to his account and credited as righteousness (3:7). Faith is the thing that connects us believers to the Patriarch Abraham. When learning about his life’s background, we see that faith guided him to obedience to the call to leave his country. Although he had come from a family who worshiped false gods, God called Abraham out of that to a place he hadn’t known before for a purpose to form a nation out of his descendants. He gathered his things, wife and nephew and took off to a place God chose for him. The Lord said to Abram, Go for yourself away from your country, for your relatives and your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing… Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had acquired in Haran, and they went froth to go to land of Canaan (Gen. 12:1-2,5).