Have you ever heard a sermon on Gehazi? I have preached on Elisha before, but never on Gehazi. In reviewing the life and miracles of Elisha, I thought we need to focus on what happened to Elisha’s assistant, Gehazi. So, last weekend I preached for the first time ever on Gehazi.
Gehazi in the Old Testament book of II Kings was the assistant to Elisha. There was an assumption that Gehazi would have succeeded Elisha, as the dominant prophet of his time, just as Elisha had succeeded Elijah. When the Shunnamite woman’s son died, it was Gehazi who took Elisha’s staff and raced ahead to reach the boy, even before Elisha did.
But Gehazi got in trouble. We see this happen all too often among Christians, even among Christian leaders in ministry, in our day. There is a lesson to learn from Gehazi. When God used Elisha to heal the Syrian army commander, Naaman, of leprosy and to bring Naaman to faith in the true God, in return Naaman offered to pay Elisha a substantial amount of wealth. However, Elisha refused. He said, “As the Lord lives,” I will not receive it. There would have been nothing wrong with receiving the offering, but God led Elisha to make it crystal clear to Naaman that you cannot purchase healing or salvation — but that both were all and only by God’s grace.
Observing all this, Gehazi decided to go after Naaman. He made up a false story of how they needed some of his offering after all — a considerable sum which Gehazi was going to keep for himself — unethically profiting from the ministry. What is even more interesting is that Gehazi used the same words, “as the Lord lives,” as had Elisha. How often do we see people do that? Are we ever guilty of assuming the Holy Spirit will lead us to do wrong? Or that God will be with us in doing something unbiblical?
Well, God called Gehazi on it. God revealed to Elisha what had happened, and God judged Gehazi immediately with the very leprosy from which Naaman had been healed.
Scripture warns us, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” What a warning from the life of Gehazi!