Gehazi – Tried and Found Wanting
The Court of the King of Israel was listening, as the Leper began recounting the stories he had to tell. This man had been Elisha’s servant, and had been an eyewitness of incredible miracles. While it was legal to talk to a Leper, it was against the Law to have physical contact with one. You ask, how came a Leper into the King’s presence?
The answer lies in the story of Gehazi.
Ben-hadad, the King of Syria besieged the City of Samaria. (2 Kgs. 6:24-25). Elisha’s house was inside the city, (vs. 31-32) and between the city and the army were four leprous men. Jewish Law requires Lepers to live outside the city, and Gehazi and his three sons were trapped between an advancing enemy army, and the locked gates of Samaria. They had nowhere to go.
When they finally went into the Syrian army camp, they found it abandoned. We note that the first actions of these four were to collect food, drink, silver, gold and clothing. Look back at the history of Gehazi, as recounted in the second book of Kings, and this is very much in character. Having repeated a second trip to hide their treasure, they began to have second thoughts about not letting the King know about the deserted camp. Fearing God’s retribution, they returned to the City gate and reported the matter. (2 Kgs. 7:9-11). King Jehoram knew that Gehazi the Leper had brought the news.
On the heels of this dramatic event, Elisha declares a 7-year drought; at the end of that catastrophic time, Jehoram is listening to Gehazi’s amazing tale of the Shunamite woman whose son Elisha raised from the dead. It is not part of this article to examine the details of the Shunamite woman, but to examine who Gehazi was, and what brought him to his sad ending.
Let us go back to the beginning of this story.
Elisha spent 10 years in training under Elijah. When Elisha received the mantle of Elijah, he returned to the city of Jericho. Here he was in charge of the School of the Sons of the Prophets. Elisha now needs an understudy. He has at least 50+ ‘up-and-coming’ young men from whom to choose. He selects an apparently dedicated young man by the name of Gehazi to be his personal disciple.
Gehazi’s First Test.
The very first mention of Gehazi shows us a man who is fluent in more than his native tongue. In 2 Kgs. 4:12-13 he is an interpreter for Elisha. He interprets to the Shunamite woman the words of the Prophet. A few years later, he is still with Elisha when the woman comes to report the death of her son.
“So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunamite woman! Please run now to meet her, and say to her, “Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?” (2Ki 4:26) and she answered, “It is well.”
Interestingly she seems not to want to deal with him but with the Prophet directly. It may be she with her woman’s instinct, sensed something that the man Elisha missed. At any rate she merely said in effect, “No Problem” and continued on to meet the Prophet.
She is stricken with grief and tries to take hold of Elisha’s feet, in supplication. This woman had showered hospitality on them many times in the past. Elisha said God had not shown him what was her need was. Gehazi simply tries to push her away! Elisha rebukes him, for his insensitivity to the need of this woman.
The man of God needs perception more than he needs protection!
Gehazi’s Second Test.
Gehazi then takes Elisha’s staff, and runs to lay it upon the dead child’s face. While he had the Staff of the Prophet, he lacked the anointing of the Prophet. (Vs.31). He had failed the test of Faith! The child remained dead. When Elisha arrives, he not only makes the mother leave the room, but also makes Gehazi leave. (Vs.34)
Elisha raised the boy from the dead but Gehazi was excluded. He interpreted the prophet’s words to the woman, but had no part in the miracle.
It is possible to have Charisma without Anointing!
Gehazi’s Third Test.
Gehazi next appears in the story of a famine affecting the Bible School. Elisha tells him to share the gift of 20 barley loaves and some wheat in the ear with the 100 people present. Gehazi protests that there is not sufficient. Barley loaves in Israel were small bread buns, five were only enough for one little boy’s lunch in the New Testament.
So soon had Gehazi forgotten the power of God; but we see that there was enough, ‘according to the word of the Lord’ through Elisha. (2 Kgs. 4:43-44).
“People perceive paucity; Prophets perceive provision!”
Gehazi’s Fourth and Final Test.
In the book of 2 Kings 5:20-27 we are told of Naaman being healed of Leprosy, without charge by Elisha, and Gehazi deciding to take money under false pretenses from the Syrian Captain. When he returned stealthily back to Elisha’s house with his booty, he was asked where he had come from. The heart of Elisha was grieving for Gehazi, longing for him to repent. He had failed three times, he now has a final chance to repent.
He lied and Elisha declared that the Leprosy of Naaman would come on him and his descendants forever. Sadly Gehazi was dismissed, now a leper, from Elisha’s service.
Here was a man who wanted to serve God but who lacked integrity.
- He showed lack of empathy in the presence of grief.
- He had the Prophet’s Staff but he lacked Prophetic Faith.
- When put to feed 100 people with a few little barley buns, he protests the possibility of a miracle.
- He displays avarice and lack of character, as he lies to cover up his actions.
John Darby in his Synopsis says, “It seems to me that Gehazi stands here in a grievous position. Smitten by the hand of God, because his heart clung to earth, even in the presence of Jehovah’s mighty and long-suffering testimony, he is now a parasite in the king’s court, relating the wonderful things in which he no longer took part”.
- The man whom God uses must be a person of Spiritual sensitivity and integrity.
- Charisma and appearance may look good to men, but God looks on the heart.
- If you want to serve God, put your whole life in His hands and trust Him for everything.
Substitute a God-view for your World-view, then you will see how God will lead and direct you into a lifelong ministry that will be a blessing to a needy world around you.