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1. Are the open-heart, open-home type, always ready to entertain? What is neat about such people? What’s aggravating about them?
2. Why did this woman want to provide accommodations for Elisha?
- she was thinking of opening Shunem’s first bed and breakfast
- she loved to entertain
- she had the gift of hospitality
- her heart went out to this traveling minister
- she thought her life would be blessed by blessing a “holy man”
3. What seems strange about this story? Do rich people often help the prophets? What are women particularly sympathetic (see also Luke 8:3)?
4. What does the woman of Shunem suspect after hosting Elisha several times (verses 9 and 10)? Does her husband seem to notice?
5. Why doesn’t Elisha speak to the woman directly (verses 12 – 15)? Do they need a translator? What is this “home” she refers to? What does that say about her character?
6. How does Elisha conclude the woman wanted a son? Is the woman lacking in faith, being cautiously optimistic or is she realistically hopeful (verse 16)?
7. What happens to dash those hopes? Was this son’s birth and death a set up for greater things to come? Or did his death catch everyone off guard?
8. After years of hoping, how would you have reacted when Elisha said, “Next year you will hold a son”?
- “Sure, Pops!”
- “This is too good to be true.”
- “Don’t get my hopes up.”
- “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
- “I know God will do it.”
9. How do you explain the woman’s covering up that her son had died?
- she and her husband did not have good communication
- she was in shock
- she didn’t want to say the words
- laying on the boy in the ‘man of God’s’ room showed she wasn’t willing to accept his death as final
10. Why did the woman say, “Everything is all right”?
- she had accepted her son’s death
- she was in denial
- she had faith for a miracle
- she was determined to share her distress with no one but Elisha
11. How would you describe Elisha’s remedies for the dead boy?
- hard to believe
12. When was the last time you went out of your way to provide for someone like this woman did? How did you feel about what you did? What reward do you expect for serving others?
13. When you have a problem, to whom can you “tell it like it is” and not pretend “everything is all right”?
14. What was this woman’s focus?
- what she had
- what she didn’t have
15. How would you answer Question #14 for yourself? How do you balance focusing on your own needs with care for others?
16. How does your experience of loss relate to this story?
- I had a loved one die in my arms.
- I couldn’t face my loss.
- I “froze out” people close to me.
- I’ve hidden my pain from others.
- I’ve resented God for giving me someone only to take them away.
17. Do you fee you have passed through the “denial” stage of grief? What about your loss are you still struggling to face?
18. (If you have ever had such an experience), how does this story remind you of your experience of miscarriage?
- the years of waiting for a child
- the shattered dreams and hopes
- the difficulty of talking about it with others, even my spouse
- pretending everything is all right
19. Are miraculous faith stories like this a thing of the past? Why or why not? Have you ever witnessed a raising from the dead, or even a miraculous healing? Or is this story simply a parable for God’s inner healing?
20. Many people pray feverently for a terminally ill one, yet death comes anyway. What happened to those prayers? As death comes inevitably, isn’t all healing temporary?
21. Are you wrestling with a tragedy “that shouldn’t have happened”, yet did? What promises have you claimed? What hope?
22. Have you ever had a friendship with a member of the opposite sex that people didn’t just quite understand? That you didn’t understand? Is it necessary to label or define relationships? When is it wise to do so?