ESOCS Devotional 28 March 2023
MEMORY VERSE: “So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother.” Mark 6:27-28 NIV
TEXT: 2 KINGS 5:20-27
20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”
21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked.
22 “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent[a] of silver and two sets of clothing.’”
23 “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.
25 When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”
“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.
26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? 27 Naaman’s leprosywill cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehaziwent from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.
This story of Gehazi is a sad story, but it is one which happens thousands of times every day, and in the lives of believers to one degree or another. It is a story that stands in strong contrast with the preceding passage where we saw Naaman healed of leprosy as he turned to God in simple faith. But here we see Gehazi struck with leprosy because he turned away from God to blur the truth of the free nature of salvation.
In one story, leprosy portrays sin in its universal scope as it falls upon all men. But in the story of Gehazi we see the specific sin of greed (covetousness and materialism) and the way it destroys the ministries of men and their capacity to serve the Lord.
Covetousness is a discontent with what we have and an intense desire for something else, something we believe will make us happy or satisfied. As lust, it is often a legitimate desire carried to the point of idolatry which worships the thing lusted for. This is why covetousness or greed is defined by Paul as idolatry twice in his epistles.
Colossians 5:5 says, “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
Ephesians 5:5: “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
In the story of Gehazi we see the process and consequences of greed or covetousness which always hinders godliness and godly service. It is the picture of religious hypocrisy, of failure to progress spiritually, of false values that destroy a man’s pursuit of righteousness, of human rationalization that seeks to find good reasons for a bad thing, of rebellion and insubordination to authority, of unfaithfulness or disloyalty, and of the process of regression or the downward spiral of sin (chain sinning).
The story of Gehazi is a sad one, but in keeping with the honesty of the Word, it gives us all an illustration to teach us a much-needed lesson–that the ministry has no place for those who would make merchandise of it. The Christian businessman has to make a profit to stay in business, but he should never use his business as a vehicle to merchandise people.
- Do you merchandise people in the course of your service to God?
- Righteous God help me to render service the right way, forgive my seeking personal benefit unjustly, in Jesus name I pray. Amen.
FURTHER READING: Exodus 13:1-16; Mark 6:30-44; 2 Romans 3:1-20
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ESOCS Devotional 28 March 2023