Spiritual CPR

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.    (2 Ki 4:35 NKJV)

Observation: A prominent woman of Shunem had cared for Elisha and had her husband build him a room in their house where he could rest when he was passing by.  In response to her kindness, Elisha asked God to bless her with a child.  When the child was still young, he suddenly got sick and died in his mother’s arms.  She went to find Elisha hoping for a miracle.  Elisha came, prayed, laid on the child, and finally the child came back to life.  This seems like a strange ritual to perform; here are some possible ideas as to why Elisha did what he did.  Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary explains:
(1.) How closely the prophet applied himself to this great operation, perhaps being sensible that he had tempted God too much in thinking to effect it by the staff in Gehazi’s hand, for which he thought himself rebuked by the disappointment. He now found it a harder task than he then thought, and therefore addressed himself to it with great solemnity. [1.] He prayed unto the Lord (v. 33), probably as Elijah had done, Let this child’s soul come into him again. Christ raised the dead to life as one having authority—Damsel, arise—young man, I say unto thee, Arise—Lazarus, come forth (for he was powerful and faithful as a Son, the Lord of life), but Elijah and Elisha did it by petition, as servants. [2.] He lay upon the child (v. 34), as if he would communicate to him some of his vital heat or spirits. Thus he expressed the earnestness of his desire, and gave a sign of that divine power which he depended upon for the accomplishment of this great work. He first put his mouth to the child’s mouth, as if, in God’s name, he would breathe into him the breath of life; then his eyes to the child’s eyes, to open them again to the light of life; then his hands to the child’s hands, to put strength into them. He then returned, and walked in the house, as one full of care and concern, and wholly intent upon what he was about. Then he went up stairs again, and the second time, stretched himself upon the child, v. 35. Those that would be instrumental in conveying spiritual life to dead souls must thus affect themselves with their case, and accommodate themselves to it, and labour fervently in prayer for them.
(2.) How gradually the operation was performed. At the first application, the flesh of the child waxed warm (v. 34), which gave the prophet encouragement to continue instant in prayer. After a while, the child sneezed seven times, which was an indication, not only of life, but liveliness. Some have reported it as an ancient tradition that when God breathed into Adam the breath of life the first evidence of his being alive was sneezing, which gave rise to the usage of paying respect to those that sneeze. Some observe here that sneezing clears the head, and there lay the child’s distemper.

Application: This mother did all in her power for her child, and then left the results to God Himself.  It may not be the same with every parent, after all, many children die and don’t come to life right away, when their parents would want them back.  The promise of the resurrection reminds us that one day, when Jesus returns, parents will be reunited with their children in the most joyful family reunion ever.  I have always loved these words which describe the resurrection morning: “The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’ At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Angels ‘gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.’ Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers’ arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God.  {Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p.645} [emphasis mine]. 
     So while we may not have a prophet today who has the power to bring our children back to life, we do have this scene in which we will be reunited with our children who have died before us.  May we never have to go through the pain and separation that death brings about, but if we do, may we hold on to this scene and its promise – eternity with our children with no more death ever!

A Prayer You May Say: Father, while the pain caused by the death of a child is so overwhelming, it is the promise of the resurrection which can make it bearable.  I pray Father for that day to come soon and that we all may enjoy that awesome family reunion with our loved ones.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



Please login to start chatting. Don't have an account? Click here to register.