We have now come to the final chapter of Spurgeon’s book of advice to those who work with kids both in church and as parents. In this final chapter, Spurgeon continues to examine what we can learn from the story of Elisha and the Shunammite woman’s son. He turns first to the location where the dead boy was placed and the method by which Elisha raised the boy. Spurgeon notes that:
“The great secret lies in a large measure in powerful supplication.”
Elisha went into the room, shut the door, and prayed to the Lord. As teachers and workers in Children’s Ministry, our power must come from God, and that power comes in large part through prayer. Spurgeon explains:Read More
In 2 Kings 4, we read the story of Elisha and the Shunammite woman. The Shunammite woman was a wealthy woman who always invited Elisha in to stay in her house when he passed her way. Elisha stayed so often that she eventually convinced her husband to build a small room on the roof for Elisha to stay. The woman had no children, and in return for her hospitality, Elisha pronounced to her that she would have a son within the next year.
When the woman’s son had grown he began to complain of a headache and eventually died. The woman put him in the room on the roof and set off to go find Elisha. When Elisha heard the news, he sent his servant (Gehazi) ahead of him to lay his staff on the boy. On his way to the boy, Elisha met Gehazi who eas returning to tell him that the staff had failed to awaken the child. When Elisha arrived and found the boy still dead, he went into the room, laid on top of him and revived the child from death.
In this chapter and the next, Spurgeon explores the lessons to be learned from this story. Although this story deals with the actual physical death of a child, Spurgeon notes that those of us in Children’s Ministry deal with the spiritual deaths of children. That is a reality that is important for us to recognize. Spurgeon explains:Read More
This chapter continues Spurgeon’s discussion of the “the good thing” found in Abijah which started in the previous chapter.
Where was the good thing?
The “good thing” found in Abijah was not found in outward adornment, but the Bible tells us that it was found “in him.” This causes Spurgeon to draw the following conclusion on the difference between outward religion and an inward relationship with Christ:
“The grand point is not to wear the garb, nor use the brogue of religion, but to possess the life of God within, and feel and think as Jesus would have done because of that inner life. Small is the value of external religion unless it be the outcome of a life within.”
The “good thing” was found in Abijah. This implies that it did not require much searching. In other words, the “good thing” was easily discernable in Abijah. Spurgeon notes that piety in children is generally easily discernable:Read More
The Lord usually brings the rod before he brings the axe. So starts this chapter based on the story of King Jeroboam and his son Abijah. In this story recounted in 1 Kings 14, Jeroboam’s son Abijah had fallen sick. So the King sent his wife, in disguise, to see the prophet Ahijah to find out what the fate of the boy would be. The prophet told the Queen that as a result of all the evil King Jeroboam had committed that the kingdom would be ripped away from him and that every male in the house of Jeroboam would be cut off. Regarding the King’s son Abijah, Ahijah told Jeroboam’s wife that he was appointed to die as soon as her feet step back into the city and would not suffer the fate of the reminder of Jeroboam’s family. This was because in Abiajh was found “some good thing toward Jehovah, God of Israel.” The “some good thing” serves as the basis for this chapter and the next. Spurgeon examines the “some good thing” found in Abijah that led God to spare him from the fate that befell the rest of the house of Jeroboam.
What was the “good thing?” found in Abijah
The Bible does not tell us specifically what form “the good thing” found in Abijah took. Despite the lack of information regarding “the good thing,” Spurgeon asserts that there is something we can be certain of. That is that the child must have had faith. Spurgeon reminds us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Since God showed Abijah grace in not allowing his to fall victim to the fate of the rest of King Jeroboam’s family is an indication that Abijah was likely a childhood believer in the Lord God.Read More
This short chapter continues Spurgeon’s observations from the previous two chapters based on the story of Elijah and Obadiah. It begins with yet another observation on the benefits of early piety. Spurgeon notes:
“YOUTHFUL PIETY LEADS on to persevering piety.”
Obadiah observed that, “I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth.” [1 Kings 18:12 KJV]” He was able to proclaim this because time had not changed him or waivered his faith in God. Obadiah had “run the race” and persevered. Many people exalt martyrs who die for their faith, but Spurgeon explains:
“It is not burning quick to the death in martyrdom that is the hard work; roasting before a slow fire is a far more terrible test of firmness…the grace of God to preserve a believer for ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years, is quite as great a miracle and deserves more of our praise than it usually commands.”
Rather than succumb to the popular notions of his day that included the worship of Baal, Obadiah stood firm in the belief in God that he had come to early in life. He also held fast to his piety despite his wealth and position. He worked in the court of the King, in the court of a King and Queen who were adverse to belief in God, and despite all that position offered, he remained faithful to God. Spurgeon observes:Read More
In the last chapter, we were introduced to Obadiah who later in his life worked in the hostile court of the evil King Ahab. In this chapter, Spurgeon discusses the early piety of Obadiah. In 1 Kings 18:12, during his exchange with Elijah, Obadiah states:
“…but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth. [1 Kings 18:12 KJV]”
The Bible does not tell us how Obadiah came to faith or who instructed him. Spurgeon does postulate that based on Obadiah’s name (which means “the servant of Jehova”) that Obadiah’s parents were likely believers. In a time when believers in God were frequently persecuted or even killed, the fact that Obadiah’s parents would name their son “the servant of Jehova” speaks to the faith of his parents and supports Spurgeon’s contention that they were likely believer. On the importance of parents, Spurgeon notes:
“Whether this be so or not [that Obadiah’s parents were believers], it is quite certain that thousands of the most intelligent believers owe their first bent towards godliness to the sweet associations of home…we were consecrated to the service of God before we knew that there was a God. Many a tear of earnest prayer fell on our infant brow and sealed us for Heaven; we were nursed in the atmosphere of devotion; there was scarce a day in which we were not urged to be faithful servants of God, and entreated while we were yet young to seek Jesus and give our hearts to Him.”