May 2

Read II Kings 4 -- 5

The Syrians had . . . brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. And she said to her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. . . . (Ben-hadad) the King of Syria said (to Naaman, the chief captain of his army) . . . Go, and I will send a letter to the King of Israel (II Kings 5:2-5).

Desperate to be healed of his leprosy, Naaman appeared before King Jehoram in Israel with a letter from king Ben-hadad that read: I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may recover him of his leprosy (5:6). Jehoram, who had no faith in God, rent his clothes (5:7), (a sign of deep distress), concluding that King Ben-hadad was seeking an excuse to declare war. Like his brother Ahaziah, Jehoram refused to see the hand of God in his circumstances. Elisha the man of God . . . sent to the king, saying . . . let Naaman come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel (5:8). Naaman obeyed the words of the prophet, and was healed.

Elisha refused the huge reward that Naaman offered him after he was healed of his leprosy. But his servant Gehazi persuaded himself that God had blessed him with the opportunity to be wealthy, so he said to himself: As the Lord lives, I will run after him (Naaman) (5:20). Gehazi exposed his greed as he sought to be rewarded by deception. All he would have to do to make himself rich was to invent a believable lie.

You can imagine how delighted Gehazi was when Naaman showed him high honor by stepping down from the chariot to meet him (5:21). Gehazi then told him this lie: My master has sent me, saying, Behold, even now there has come to me from Mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments (5:22). The schemer thought he could rush back before Elisha discovered he was missing, but Elisha was neither deceived nor surprised. After Gehazi's return, Elisha said: Where have you been, Gehazi? And he said, your servant didn't go anywhere (5:25). It was truly a sad day for Elisha who replied: My heart went with you. . . . Is it a time to receive money . . . garments . . . orchards . . . vineyards . . . sheep . . . oxen? (5:26). Gehazi probably did not think it was much of a sin to gain wealth that he didn't deserve from someone who didn't need it. One lie often leads to another.

Gehazi, servant of Elisha forfeited his opportunity to be the next honored prophet of God. Instead, he became a leper! When Gehazi was tested, as we all are from time to time, he exposed his true character as a hypocrite. He is an example of how impossible it is to develop a Christlike character on a foundation of self-interest.

Let us ask ourselves the question Elisha asked Gehazi: Is it a time to receive (make) money? -- meaning: "What is your goal in life?" We all have but one short life to live. Can we say with the Apostle Paul: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me (Galatians 2:20).

Christ Revealed: By the meal that took the poison out of the pot (II Kings 4:40-41). Meal, made of crushed corn, speaks of Christ, who was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities (Isa. 53:5).

Word Studies: 4:3 borrow not a few means get as many as you can; 4:6 stayed means ceased flowing; 4:10 candlestick means oil lamp; 4:27 vexed means deeply distressed; 4:29 Gird up your loins means Fasten the loose, flowing garments with a belt.

Prayer:

BPM Staff: Steve Harle · Pray for Stephen Wike, Media Management/Crosswalk.com, Inc. · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by a family that loves Jesus · Country: Gabon (1 million) in west-central Africa · Major language: French · Religious freedom · 66% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 3% animism and ancestor worship · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His wonderful blessings (Psalms 150:2).

Optional Reading: Romans 5

Memory Verse for the Week: James 5:16