Gehazi Gets Greedy
JUNE 1 - Nº 152 2 Kings 5:16-27
When Naaman realized he had been cured from his leprosy, he and all his servants rushed back to Elisha’s house to thank him. He offered the prophet the extravagant gifts he had brought from Syria (see #151 - May 31). However, despite Naaman’s insistence, Elisha would not accept anything. Elisha knew that he had not cured the commander of the Syrian army—God had! It wasn’t right for him (or anyone else) to receive payment for a miracle God had done. Before returning home, Naaman asked Elisha for a favor. He wanted to take some dirt from Israel back to Syria. He wanted as much as two mules could carry. On it he would build an altar to memorialize all that God had done for him. “From now on I will only worship the God of Israel,” he proclaimed. “But I have one problem,” he added. “Whenever my king goes into the temple of his god, I am required to accompany him. He walks into the temple holding my arm. So, when he bows down, I must bow, too. Please ask God to forgive me when I have to do this.” Elisha told Naaman that he could go in peace because God knew his heart. Shortly after Naaman departed, Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, thought to himself, “My master was too easy on the Syrian official. He should have accepted the gifts Naaman offered. I will run after him and get something for myself.” So Gehazi hurried to catch up. When Naaman saw Elisha’s servant approaching, he stopped his chariot and stepped down. “Is everything all right?” he asked. “Everything is fine,” Gehazi answered. “But my master sent me to tell you that two young men from the school of prophets have just arrived from the hill country. If you could give us 75 pounds of silver and a couple of sets of clothes it would help us greatly with their expenses.” “Certainly,” Naaman responded. “Here, take 150 pounds of silver.” He filled two bags with silver and found two sets of clothing. He instructed two of his servants to carry them for Gehazi. When they were close to town, Gehazi took the gifts from the servants and hid them. Then he went to see if there was anything he could do for Elisha. Elisha asked his servant, “Where did you go, Gehazi?” “I didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi replied. Elisha confronted him about his lie. “Don’t you realize that my spirit was with you when Naaman stopped his chariot and stepped down to greet you?” he asked. “This was not the time or place to accept money, or clothes, or anything else,” he scolded. “Even as we speak, Naaman’s leprosy will begin to cling to you. Now you and your descendants will have to deal with this terrible plague and all that accompanies it.” As Gehazi turned to leave, he looked down—his skin was already white with leprosy!
Gehazi was greedy. He wanted more than God intended for him to have. Greed is always sinful and selfish. It causes us to reach for things we shouldn’t have—often at the expense of others. Greed frequently leads to more sin. In Gehazi’s case, it led to lies and deception. And in the end, it resulted in very serious consequences!