In my last post, we continued to explore the ministry of Elisha by looking at 2 Kings 5:15-19a where we learned about Na’aman as he Serves the Lord. In this post, we continue with 2 Kings 5:19b-27 were we learn that Geichazi Lies to Himself, Na’aman and Elisha.
“19b Na’aman had gone only a short distance from him, 20 when Geichazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, ‘Here, my master has made it easy on this Arami Na’aman by not accepting from him what he brought. As Adonai lives, I’ll run after him and get at least something from him.’ 21 So Geichazi hurried off after Na’aman. When Na’aman saw someone running after him, he got down from his chariot to meet him and asked, ‘Is everything all right?’ 22 ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘My master sent me with this message: ‘Two young men have just now come to me, guild prophets from the hills of Efrayim. Would you be kind enough to give them a talent of silver [sixty-six pounds] and two changes of clothes?” 23 ‘By all means, take two talents!’ said Na’aman, pressing him. He tied up the two talents of silver in two bags and gave them, with the two changes of clothes, to two of his servants, who carried them ahead of Geichazi. 24 On reaching the hill, he took the bags from them and put them away in the house. Then he let the men go, and they left. 25 He went in and stood before his master. Elisha asked, ‘Where have you been, Geichazi?’ ‘Your servant hasn’t gone anywhere,’ he said. 26 Elisha said to him, ‘Wasn’t my heart there with you when the man left his chariot to meet you? Is this a time to receive silver and clothing — and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female slaves? 27 Therefore Na’aman’s tzara’at will cling to you and your descendants forever.’ He left Elisha’s presence with tzara’at as white as snow.” ~ 2 Kings 5:19b-27 (CJB)
While Na’aman was seeking to live the truth and please the Lord, Elisha’s servant was wallowing in deception and unholy desires. “Do not covet” is the last of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:17), but when you break this one commandment, you tempt yourself to break the other nine. Geichazi had been decaying in his spiritual life, and this was the climax. Now his covetousness took control, it led to lying, and it finally resulted in Geichazi becoming a leper. The disease on the outside typified the decay on the inside.
Geichazi Lied to Himself
When he refused the gifts, Elisha hadn’t been “easy” on Na’aman but had taught the young believer a difficult lesson. Geichazi measured his master’s conduct the way the world would measure it, not the way God measured it. He believed he would be a better and a happier man if he took some gifts from Na’aman and that he had the right to do it. “Be careful to guard against all forms of greed, because even if someone is rich, his life does not consist in what he owns.” Luke 12:15 (CJB)
Surely Geichazi knew that Na’aman’s salvation and healing were wholly by the grace of God and that taking gifts might give the Syrian general the impression that he could do something to save himself. When he returned to Syria, Na’aman would have to account for the missing treasures, and this could only weaken his testimony.
Geichazi took the Adonai’s name in vain when he said as Adonai lives, for he had sin in his heart and was planning to sin even more. We get the impression that Geichazi had no fear of God in his heart and privately used God’s name carelessly. Had he revered the name of God as commanded in Exodus 20:7, he would not have been controlled by greed.
Geichazi Lied to Na’aman
Na’aman’s caravan wasn’t too far away, and Geichazi was able to run and catch up with it. Na’aman did a noble thing when he stopped his chariot and stepped down to meet Elisha’s servant. Perhaps Elisha had another message for him, or perhaps there was a need to be met. For a Syrian general to show such deference to a Jewish servant was certainly an indication that God had wrought a change in his heart. Na’aman greeted him with “Is everything all right?” (literally ~ shalom) and Geichazi replied “Yes.” But all wasn’t well! When a man’s heart is filled with greed, and his lips are filled with lies, he is far from enjoying shalom, which means “peace, well-being, fulfillment, prosperity, safety.”
In carrying out his evil plan, Geichazi not only used God’s name in vain but by using Elisha’s name, he lied to Na’aman when he asked for gifts for two guild prophets from the hills of Efrayim. We must not criticize Na’aman for believing Geichazi‘s lies, for, after all, he was a young believer and lacked the discernment that comes with a maturing spiritual experience. My master sent me was a deliberate falsehood, although unknown to Geichazi, his master knew what he had done. Na’aman not only gave Geichazi more than he requested and wrapped it neatly, but he also assigned two of his servants to carry the gifts for him. When the three men arrived at the hill, Geichazi took the bundle and sent the men back, lest somebody recognize them and starts asking questions. Geichazi was near his master’s house, and he had to be careful not to let him know what he had done.
Geichazi Lied to Elisha
Acting very innocent, Geichazi went and stood before his master, awaiting orders; but he found himself on trial! God knew what Geichazi had done, and He communicated it to His servant. The scene reminds us of how Y’hoshua interrogated ‘Akhan (Joshua 7) and Kefa interrogated Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), all of whom had coveted wealth and lied about it.
Elisha not only saw what his servant had done, but he saw into his servant’s heart and knew why he did it. Geichazi longed to be a wealthy man with land, flocks and herds, expensive clothing, and servants to obey his orders. He wasn’t content to labor by the side of Elisha the prophet; he wanted to have security and comfort. There’s certainly nothing wrong with being wealthy, if that’s God’s will for your life, for Avraham and Yitz’chak were wealthy, and so was David. But it is wrong to get that wealth through deceit and to make that wealth your god. Geichazi used the ministry God gave him as a means of deceiving Na’aman, and that is contrary to God’s will. God judged Geichazi by giving him leprosy and promising that at least one of his descendants in each generation would be a leper.
Geichazi had hoped to leave great wealth to his descendants, but instead, he left great shame and sorrow for years to come. Geichazi could no longer be Elisha’s servant; he had lost his ministry. That is a lesson we all need to bear in mind.
In my next post, we continue to explore the life of Elisha. In this post, we continue to examine 2 Kings 6:1-7 were we learn that Elisha Restores a Student Ministry.