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Legends and Lessons

Legends and Lessons – Greatness sold cheap (2 Kings 5:20)

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 4-5

Today’s Reflection: 2 Kings 5:20

Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought.  As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”

Subject: Gehazi

Background: Gehazi was the servant of Elisha the prophet.  He had witnessed Elisha’s ministry before the Lord and seen miracles he had performed.  But what Gehazi should have recognized was that by virtue of being chosen to serve Elisha, in God’s eyes he was capable of becoming a prophet himself.  Before becoming a prophet, Elisha had himself been the servant of Elijah, possibly the greatest prophet in Israel’s history.  Elisha had asked God to give him twice the anointing Elijah had been given, and God had heard him (2 Kings 2:1-14).  Just as Elijah had taught Elisha, Gehazi had the same opportunity to learn from and follow Elisha’s example and possibly even exceed his greatness.

Missing the Point: But Gehazi didn’t understand the honour of his calling as shown by his behaviour during the healing of Naaman.  Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army, and he was a leper.  Naaman was directed to Elisha, who agreed to help him, a controversial decision given that Syria was engaged in a brutal war with Israel at the time.  After Naaman was healed, he recognized the authority of the God of Israel and offered gifts to Elisha.  Elisha refused the gifts, understanding that God’s purpose had been accomplished—that an enemy of Israel had come to know the true God.

But all Gehazi could see was an opportunity for personal gain.  He saw a way to profit from something that should never have been sold—the goodness of God.  More importantly the possibility of personal gain was important enough for him to risk God’s purpose for his life.  For two coins and two changes of clothing, Gehazi was willing to give up his calling to be a prophet.  Because of his shortsighted greed, he missed the big picture.  In the end he was punished, taking upon himself the leprosy Naaman had been spared and losing out on the future he might have had.

The Lesson:  God has amazing things in store for each of us.  But the enemy is constantly appealing to our baser instincts—greed, lust, selfishness—to lure us into choosing things other than God’s plan for our lives.  Will we take the time to prayerfully consider what God is leading us to and let that guide our decisions?  Or will we just grasp at what appears to meet our immediate needs, even though we have to disobey or dishonour God to do so?  You can end up like Elisha, or you can end up like Gehazi.  The choice is yours.

Matthew 6:31-33 – 31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

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