2 Kings 5:15-27

Gehazi’s Greed

15 When he returned to the man of God [i]with all his company, and came and stood before him, he said, “Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; so please take a [j]present from your servant now.” 16 But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will take nothing.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. 17 Naaman said, “If not, please let your servant at least be given two mules’ load of earth; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord. 18 In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.” 19 He said to him, “Go in peace.” So he departed from him some distance.

20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, [k]thought, “Behold, my master has spared this Naaman the Aramean, [l]by not receiving from his hands what he brought. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him.” 21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw one running after him, he came down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?” 22 He said, “All is well. My master has sent me, saying, ‘Behold, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothes.’” 23 Naaman said, “Be pleased to take two talents.” And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags with two changes of clothes and gave them to two of his servants; and they carried them before him. 24 When he came to the [m]hill, he took them from their hand and deposited them in the house, and he sent the men away, and they departed. 25 But he went in and stood before his master. And Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.”

26 Then he said to him, “Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money and to receive clothes and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants? 27 Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your [n]descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

You can see Gehazi’s heart (and his misunderstanding) through all of this, as he begins to excuse his actions by saying Naaman should have been required to give something for his healing. Of course, how do we know exactly what Gehazi though? He must have told someone later, and word spread that was the excuse he gave for his actions.

At any rate, his next actions betray him even worse. He flat out lies, because he knows Naaman will never believe that Elisha changed his mind about needing payment/reward for something God did. Gehazi must have thought he hit the jackpot when Naaman insisted he take two talents of silver (not a small amount). And when Gehazi finally gets back, he goes in and hides the spoil, trying also to hide his guilt before Elijah.

But in the end, Elijah knew what happened. Of all people to try and fool, Gehazi tried to fool his own master who was a prophet. It is a reminder to us all of two very important things. Sometimes, it is enough to do something good just for the sake of doing good. In addition, all our goodness comes from God, indeed certain things like Naaman’s healing have very little to do with us being good at all. So if anyone deserves glory and honor, it is God.

To be sure, God does not need to be glorified, and often He will bless us when we do something good. But when we allow worldly possessions to corrupt our motives, it is a dangerous place to be.

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