Haftarah Portion: Vayera (2 Kings 4:1-37)
Gospel Portion: Matthew 8:5-13
Commentary By: Daniel Clayton
The Torah portion of Vayera is filled to the brim with rich, meaningful accounts and messages. There is much that could be said about this portion, but as we’re focusing on the Haftorah this year round, I will just ask you to keep the binding of Isaac in mind as I go through it all.
In the span of Elisha’s life and happenings, he encountered a particularly hospitable woman who opened her house to him whenever he might be passing through. The kindness this woman showed was apparently remarkable enough to put in him the desire to repay her.
... “Tell her this: ‘You have shown us so much hospitality! What can I do to show my appreciation? Do you want me to say anything to the king for you? or to the commander of the army?” She answered, “I’m happy living as I do, among my own people.” He said, “What, then is to be done for her?” Gehazi answered, “There’s one thing- she doesn’t have a son; and her husband is old. Elisha said, “Call her.” After he called her, she stood in the doorway. He said, “Next year, when the season comes around, you will be holding a son.” “No, my lord,” she answered. “Man of God, don’t lie to your servant!” But the woman conceived and gave birth to a son the following year when the season came around, just as Elisha had said to her.” (2 Kings 4: 13-17)
What a miracle! A son is born to this woman, a reward for her steadfastness and good character. Sadly, however, that isn’t the end of that story. Verses 18-20 relay to us what happened to this little boy and what led to him laying in his mother’s lap, his life having left him. Her response is not one of bitterness or sadness, but one that is possibly a mixture of despair and faith.
“... I must get to the man of God as fast as I can...” (verse 23)
I believe she knew that Elisha could bring her son back to life. Not because of his own power, but because he was a man in whom the spirit of God dwelt. And her trust was not wrongly placed, for her son did indeed come back from the dead. (verse 32-37)
Now to tie it to Yeshua, we see a similar account in Matthew.
As Yeshua entered K’far-Nachum, a Roman army officer came up and pleaded for help. “Sir, my orderly is lying at home paralyzed and suffering terribly!” Yeshua said, “I will go and heal him.” But the officer answered, “Sir, I am unfit to have you come into my home. Rather, if you will only give the command, my orderly will recover. For I too am a man under authority. I have soldiers under me, and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” On hearing this Yeshua was amazed and said to the people following him, “Yes! I tell you, I have not found anyone in Isra’el with such trust!’...“Go; let it be for you as you have trusted.” And his orderly was healed at that very moment. (Matthew 8:5-10, 13)
The attribute that the woman and the Roman officer had in common is something that is available to us today: trust. Not necessarily trust of raising someone from the dead. Trust like Abraham had when he took Isaac up the mountain to, in his mind, sacrifice his son. A simple trust that says, “God, you are Master, your will be done.” Abraham, the Shunamite woman, and the officer weren’t any more special than you and me to have those things done in their lives--they simply trusted. And we are called to the same level of faith. A faith that acknowledges that God is sovereign, that we know His will is best, and that He is intimately aware of that which affects us. Trust in Him, for He will not let you down.