Lessons from the Life of Gehazi
I like to solve the Celebrity Cipher in the newspaper. As opposed to Sudoku which only yields a jumble of numbers upon the solution, when you solve the Celebrity Cipher you have a quote by a famous person. Awhile back the quote was, "No experiment is ever a complete failure, it can always be used as a bad example." Sometimes that’s the way we can look at certain characters in the Bible. We may think, "What in the world is this person doing in the Bible?" The LORD may have put that person there as a bad example. This is what we will see in the life of Gehazi.
II Kings 4:8-37 ~ The Shunammite Woman and Gehazi
The first story is for the ladies. Here we have a story of how a Shunammite woman reaches out to Elisha again and again over an extended period of time. She invites Elisha in for dinner, builds a relationship with him, and even goes so far as to have a special room built for him to stay in periodically when he travels through that way. Although her husband is right there, it is obvious that she is the initiator.
After the woman conceives a son, then the son later dies, the woman seeks out Elisha. Here is the time when Gehazi should have taken the center stage. Elisha puts his staff in Gehazi’s hands, instructs him to go directly to the dead son, and to lay his staff on the child’s face. Gehazi obeys, but nothing happens. If you were Gehazi, how would you feel in that moment in time when you lay the staff on the face of the woman’s son and nothing happens? Gehazi had seen Elisha perform several notable miracles, yet he had no power to perform a miracle himself.
Ladies, who are you more like? Are you like the Shunammite woman, reaching out to folks, inviting them in for dinner, providing for people’s needs, showing hospitality, and contributing to the work of God? Or are you more like Gehazi, who watched miracles happen, but had no power of God to perform a miracle himself?
II Kings 5:1-27 ~ Naaman the Syrian and Gehazi
Now for the gentlemen. This second story shows how Naaman the Syrian came across an international border seeking healing for his disease of leprosy. Even though he doesn’t particularly like what is required of him to be cleansed from his leprosy, he is obedient and washes in the Jordan seven times. This ungodly heathen demonstrated a greater faith in the God of Israel than most Israelites living in that day, see Luke 4:27.
Now let’s look at Gehazi. Gehazi’s greed got the better of him. It wasn’t enough for Gehazi to minister to others, he had to have some kind of benefit coming back to him. His actions at the end of the story show his lack of faith. He did NOT believe in the way that Elisha was ministering because he did the exact opposite of Elisha who refused to take one penny from Naaman. Then Gehazi lies about where he had been to Elisha’s face. Let’s contrast Naaman and Gehazi.
Characteristics of Naaman:
#1- Little knowledge of God
#2- Ungodly heritage
#3- Ungodly job (it was his job to kill people)
#4- More faith than most of Israel
#5- His actions demonstrated his faith
Characteristics of Gehazi
#1- Much knowledge of God (he sat at the feet of Elisha)
#2- Godly, Israelite heritage
#3- Godly job as Elisha’s servant (he was in full time ministry)
#4- Less faith than most of Israel
#5- His actions demonstrated his lack of faith
Naaman didn’t know much about God, but what he did know, he believed with all his heart. Gehazi knew a lot about God, but had no faith in the things that he knew. Who are you more like? Maybe you don’t know much about God, but what little you do know you believe it. Perhaps you know a lot about God from attending services each week, but you really don’t have faith in all those lessons you hear.
Gehazi – his life serves us as a bad example.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman