Today’s reading is on Elisha’s servant Gehazi in 2 Kings 5.
You know when you take a bite of something delicious, immediately followed by a rotten, disgusting one? Or when some pleasing scent passes by your notice, only to be replaced in the next moment by the smell of old garbage or sewage? That foul sensation, made all the more unpleasant from the contrast provided by the enjoyable one beforehand, reminds me a little bit of Gehazi in this passage. Elisha, having been passed the Lord’s blessings that resided in his master Elijah, was in his own right showing the miraculous power of the Lord. 2 Kings 5 tells of the meeting of Elisha and Naaman, a powerful army commander stricken with leprosy, asking for help. After obeying Elisha’s guidance and declaring how he has seen the Lord’s power for himself, Naaman offers payment to the prophet as reward. Elisha refuses, Naaman offers allegiance to God and goes on his way.
Enter Gehazi. Not able to hold his own tongue when the opportunity presents itself, he follows after Naaman, asking for two talents of silver in his master’s name. Two talents of silver – the wage of a few dozen people for about two months – is a huge amount for one person to ask for, much less for something they themselves didn’t do. After profiting off of God’s work enacted through his master, Elisha instead decides to pay Gehazi’s inequity with the leprosy Naaman had removed. Through receiving judgement for his actions this way, we see a few sobering reminders of how easy it can be to misstep in our faith.
- At this point, Gehazi has witnessed a number of miracles in service of Elisha, including raising the dead. He is personally witnessing incredible displays of God’s command over all things, yet still fails to recognize the levity and weight of what he’s seen. I admit to being guilty of this – there are miracles the Lord performs every day that I might see and jump to assume “oh, that’s just how the world is” or “how lucky that happened to that person.” We must train our minds at all times to look for and rejoice in the miracles the Lord provides, so that in a moment of weakness, we too won’t find ourselves affronting God’s instructions and desires.
- Elisha states in verse 16, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” To put something as temporary and fleeting as monetary gain above the Lord is foolish – how much more to put it above sharing the word of the Lord with those who need it. As Christians, we know salvation comes through faith alone, not buying our way into Heaven. Likewise, we should not look to gain anything from others for sharing our faith as Gehazi attempted, but should find joy in our Lord and sharing His gospel.
- Most of all, the Bible is very clear about our relationship with money, and Gehazi’s behavior is a demonstration of how not to behave with it. Matthew 6:24 puts it best: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Putting money in the forefront of our thoughts is easier than ever to do these days. Not that it’s bad to be mindful of your finances either – love of money is the root of all evil, not money itself. But in all manners, including financial, put God first.
All these reminders together help us realize, even if Gehazi was pretty boneheaded in this moment, he was generally righteous in action. He was a prophet’s servant, giving his life to helping advance the Lord’s work in Israel and spreading His message. But ultimately his heart was not devoted to the Lord, and in one opportune moment, Satan slipped into his heart and sin prevailed. Gehazi was not some storybook villain – just an ordinary guy who’s heart was not 100% trained on God. So take this as a reminder today: above all else, we must keep our hearts trained on God at all times. If not, sin is sure to take hold in those moments of weakness. But luckily we serve a forgiving God, and when we do slip up, He will be willing to forgive us when we ask Him with all our hearts. The important part then is to learn from our mistakes so we may better serve the Lord when next these moments arise. I pray that in time in Scripture and prayer today, you may learn a little more how to train your heart on God always, so that you may hold fast on God’s teachings against temptation.