The Leprous Heart

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Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman . . . as surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” (2 Kings 5:20)

The story of the prophet Elisha being used of God to heal Naaman of leprosy is well known by students of the Scriptures. There is another story, however, that is closely associated with this miraculous event that is less familiar and perhaps more profound in its message: the greed of Gehazi.

Naaman was the commander of the army of the king of Syria. The Bible tells us that he was a mighty man of valor, but suffered from leprosy. One day he sought out the prophet Elisha in order to be cured. Naaman was displeased with the response he received from Elisha, but he did as he was instructed and went down to the Jordan, dipped himself in the river seven times, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child.

Naaman was hugely grateful for his healing and wanted to reward Elisha, but Elisha refused. Enter Elisha’s servant Gehazi, who had a leprous heart that was beating for things smaller than God. Gehazi ran after Naaman, requesting the reward that Elisha had refused. When Elisha discerned his servant’s actions, the prophet rebuked Gehazi for his greed, and Gehazi became as Naaman had been—a leper, with skin white like snow.

By nature, we all have a bit of Gehazi in us. We have leprous hearts that beat for the stuff of this world rather than our Savior. On the outside, Gehazi looked quite good to the watching world. He was a servant of the great prophet Elisha, which brought Gehazi close to God and God’s Word continually. He was immersed in an environment of all things eternal. But his leprous heart was beating for that which was temporal, and eventually, what he loved most rose to the surface of his life. It always does!

What has your heart been beating for lately? Things above or things below? What have you been running after? Do not be deceived as Gehazi was and think all is well inwardly simply because of your outward environment. As a servant of the prophet Elisha, Gehazi was close to God outwardly, but deep inside, his heart was far from God. Remember, it is not your religion—rooted in your church attendance, prayer life, daily devotions, and service to God—that guards you from a leprous heart. It is always and in every way your right relationship with your Redeemer, because the ultimate reward in both life and death is Jesus.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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