Light on the Rock Blogs
Gehazi, God’s mercy and you
We all know the story of Naaman the Syrian commander who was told to dip seven times in the muddy Jordan River and his leprosy would be healed. He finally did that, and was healed indeed. See the story in 2 Kings 5.
But do you know the rest of the story? Don’t assume you know or can guess the encouraging end of the story.
Naaman, upon being healed, offered Elisha a lot of silver and expensive garments, but Elisha declined. But Elisha’s assistant – Gehazi – ran off after Naaman and asked and received expensive garments and a lot of precious silver for himself – enough apparently to buy vineyards, more garments and lots of servants or slaves. Elisha was aware of it, and we start now in scripture reading. But don’t assume you know already how it all ends. I hope this will inspire and encourage you. We pick up at the point where the happily healed Naaman has just left Elisha’s home to go back to Syria.
2 Kings 5:20-27 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." 21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said, "Is all well?"
(BUT NOW ELISHA LIES in his covetousness for silver and garments, which were very expensive)
22 And he (Gehazi) said, "All is well. My master has sent me, saying, 'Indeed, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of garments.'" (No such thing had happened.)
23 So Naaman said, "Please, take two talents." (That’s 150 pounds of silver! Sixty eight kilos! That would be worth over $53,000 in today’s silver, 2023)
And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and handed them to two of his servants; and they carried them on ahead of him. 24 When he came to the citadel, he took them from their hand, and stored them away in the house; then he let the men go, and they departed.
25 Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, "Where did you go, Gehazi?" And he said, "Your servant did not go anywhere." [Another total LIE]
26 Then he said to him, "Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? 27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever." And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow.
Gehazi had coveted, and had lied and God was not pleased. But leprosy clinging to all his offspring for forever and ever? That’s a very serious and severe punishment. In fact in reading it recently I pleaded with God to be merciful today if there are still any descendants of Gehazi who are leprous because of Gehazi’s sin of so long ago.
It was very shortly after that when I learned of God’s mercy on Gehazi that I somehow had missed before. Maybe you had missed it as well. It was like God was telling me, “ Hey, let me show you something about my mercy that you obviously have missed before.”
I don’t believe there are any children or descendants of Gehazi suffering today because of his sin. But how could that be? That was the curse placed on him. But our God is so merciful, as he was even to Ahab, even to Nineveh, even to king Manasseh and so many others.
In 2 Kings 8, we read this, starting with the widow whom Elisha had been blessed by and he asked God to bless her with a son. She had moved away from Israel for seven years during a famine and now wanted to return and have her land back. Let’s read how Gehazi figures into this:
2 Kings 8:1-6 Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, "Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years." 2 So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years.
3 It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the king for her house and for her land.
4 Then the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, "Tell me, please, all the great things Elisha has done." 5 Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, "My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life." 6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him.
So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, "Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now."
Here’s what’s easy to miss. Sure, the story goes on to show how the widow received her land and lost income back that she would have had from the land.
But here’s what I hadn’t seen before:
GEHAZI is seen here serving in the King’s court. But I thought he was a leper! He surely had been. And it was totally against the law for a leper in Israel or Judah to come anywhere near other people. They had to stay outside the camp and shout “unclean, unclean” as they walked. You can read this strict law in Leviticus 13:45-46 and Numbers 5:1-4.
There is NO WAY, that a leper in Israel or Judah at least, would be serving in their king’s court!
God’s mercy is perhaps being revealed here. God must have forgiven Gehazi and healed him, or we would not be reading what we do in 2 Kings 8. He would not have been serving openly in the king’s court.
And indeed, I’m confident there are no descendants of Gehazi suffering from leprosy today because of God’s mercy. SO many speak of the harsh “God of the Old Testament”. I see instead in this story and so many others, such kindness, gentleness, mercy and a very forgiving God.
I found this very encouraging that even in my faults and sins, I can count on God’s mercy and forgiveness if I seek him, repent, and turn back to God. So can you. I hope this encourages you, as I know we all still slip up in sin too often. God loves to give his children another chance to live right and be a blessing to others upon forgiving their sin. Praise God our Father and Jesus/Yeshua our Savior/Redeemer for that!
As Paul Harvey used to say on radio, “And that’s the rest of the story.”
Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful message, praise be into our loving Father who has enabled you share this.