But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him.” (2 Kings 5:20)
Greed Got Gehazi
Naaman, commander of the Syrian army, was a great and honorable man during the days of Elisha, a prophet of the Lord. During one of Naaman’s raids into Israel, they captured a maiden girl who believed in the power of God to heal any manner of disease. She was brought into the house of Naaman to serve his wife and the little girl saw that Naaman suffered from leprosy. There was no cure for this dreaded disease and a slow painful death was the only future Naaman had. Through her compassion for her master, she told her mistress about the prophet in Israel who would be able to heal the leprosy. Naaman went down to the house of Elisha the prophet and waited for instructions on how to be healed. To his amazement, the man of God did not come out of the house but sent a servant to tell him to dip seven times in the river Jordan and he would be cleaned. Furious the commander went away angered to be treated with such contempt. At the final pleading of his servants, Naaman obeyed the voice of the prophet and dipped seven times in the Jordan. His flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean. Filled with overwhelming joy, he returns to the house of Elisha to impart the gifts he had brought with him to reward the man who told him how to be clean. The prophet refused the gifts and Naaman departed from him a short distance.
Before coming to Israel, the commander had put together a gift to be given to the man who healed him in the form of ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothing. This was a king’s ransom that any man would be tempted to have. Elisha had no interest in the silver, gold or clothing. His work was to glorify the Lord and give honor to His power and not any wisdom on the part of a prophet. When Elisha refused the gifts, his servant Gehazi was beside himself. When Naaman came to their door, the servant noticed the silver and gold and became excited they were going to be rich from this Syrian lord. To his dismay, his master refused all the gifts. When Naaman left just a short distance away, Gehazi determined to get some of the gifts that were brought; if not for Elisha at least for himself. He overtakes Naaman and lies by telling him Elisha changed his mind and two young men of the sons of the prophets have come and they could use some of the silver and changes of clothes. Naaman insisted Elisha receive two talents of silver with two changes of garments to be carried by two of his own servants. Gladly Gehazi accepted the gifts and returned home. When he came to the citadel he dismissed the servants and hid the treasure in his own home before returning to Elisha. Standing before the prophet, Elisha asks his servant where he had been. Gehazi said he had been no place. The prophet knew what had happened and pronounced the cure of leprosy to fall on Gehazi and his skin became as white as snow.
Greed is a poison that fills the mind with the empty treasures of a passing world. Life was hard in the days of Elisha but everything the servant needed was provided. Living with Elisha would have been a joy to be around a powerful man of God who had received the mantle of Elijah to do the work of the Lord. Elisha had done many miracles from turning bad water to good, supplying water to the land, defeating the Moabites, taking care of a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets and raising the son of the Shunammite woman among other miracles. Gehazi would have known of the great power of Elisha but greed became a powerful demon for him. What good would the silver do him as a leper? He had everything he needed but he loved the treasures of the world more than the treasures of truth and righteousness. The knowledge of God is not limited to the space of time. There is nothing that man does the Lord is not aware. All things are naked and open before the eyes of the Lord. Seeking after the riches of the world is useless, vain, and empty and will only bring the misery of a heart filled with greed. Happiness does not come from silver, gold and changes of clothes. Gehazi should have listened more closely to the voice of Elisha and he would not have gone after Naaman’s treasure. The nature of sin is the folly of the moment. There is a belief that if sin can be enjoyed just for a time it will bring lasting happiness. It never does and never will. The heart that trusts in the Lord will enjoy life here and the blessings of the riches of eternity to come. Greed got Gehazi.