Trading Eternal Treasure for Temporary Gain
Scripture Reference 2 Kings 5 : 15-27
15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.” 16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused. …
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 leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.
Naaman has been healed completely of his disease. He could have chosen conformity to the intuition of the flesh but instead he listened to the Word of the Lord, acted upon it, persevered to dip himself the full seven times into the Jordan, and consequently he was transformed! This is the message of the Gospel that if we hear the Word and listen to it by doing what it says then our lives will be transformed. I believe most wrestle with this truth not due to a failing of God’s Word but a failing to fully adhere to God’s Word.
Naaman’s confession says it all, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” Only God could have removed the infectious and destructive disease covering his skin and only God can remove the infectious and destructive power of sin covering our souls.
Upon receiving this gift from God it was Naaman’s intention to give a gift to the servant of the Lord. However, Elisha refused the gift, perhaps mostly due to the deceptive nature of wealth as alluded to in verse 26. Elisha was committed to serve the Lord even as his master Elijah had done, undistracted by the allure of wealth. Perhaps Elisha perceived that Naaman was attempting to buy the gift of God after the fact as is portrayed in Acts 8:20, but it is doubtful in this context.
Elisha would not receive payment because the miracle was from God and all glory therefore belonged to God. Gehazi however, did not see it the same way. Gehazi was not only distracted by the allure of wealth, he pursued Naaman and acted dishonestly with both Naaman to obtain it and later with Elisha regarding his deliberate act to get it and then to conceal it.
This clearly illustrates the power and influence of sin in our lives. Rather than Gehazi focusing on the glory of God in miraculously healing Naaman, he instead focused on obtaining the wealth that had been offered. Rather than heeding the Word of God as illustrated in his master’s life, he instead reasoned in his own soul that he should have the wealth. Gehazi allowed the allure of the temporal material gain to take his focus completely off of the eternal treasure that was already his through living by faith! The result? Gehazi’s actions were not as secret as he had hoped, rather God knew fully what he had done and subsequently the man of God also knew. Elisha confronted Gehazi with his sin and Gehazi chose to deny it rather than confess it. Gehazi’s actions were found out. God’s Word says, Num. 32: 23 “ … and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” The trade-off: The disease that Naaman had sought God’s deliverance from became infused with Gehazi because sin will always find us out. No one sins in anonymity.