June 21, 2013

Paying the Price

2 Kings 5:19-27

“My master was too easy on Naaman … I will run after him and get something from him.”
—2 Kings 5:20


Gehazi was upset that Elisha had not accepted any payment for healing Naaman, an enemy Syrian. As Elisha’s servant, some of that payment would have trickled down to him. He didn’t care that someone had come to saving faith in the God of Israel; Gehazi was only interested in how he could gain from it.

Gehazi hauled his loot home and hid it. But Elisha trapped him with a simple question, saw through Gehazi’s lie, and announced God’s punishment.

By asking Naaman for a reward payment, Gehazi put Elisha’s (and thus God’s) integrity at stake. Naaman had experienced his healing as an act of grace freely given, but then Gehazi put a price tag on that grace.

When Elisha exposed his servant’s greed, treachery, and lies, he exposed Gehazi’s soul. Gehazi was filled with envy and selfishness. His punishment was to suffer a disease that made him as hideous to others as his soul was to God.

We may cringe at Gehazi’s punishment, but he had a chance to “come clean” about his deeds—and he chose not to. Even more serious, his actions may have harmed Naaman’s faith in the one true God. He would have to pay severe consequences for his actions.

God takes our sins seriously, especially if they do damage to another person’s faith in him.

Lord, help us to be pure in heart and to be true servants to you. Forgive us if we have hurt another’s faith through our actions. Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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