But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” (2 Kings 5:8 ESV)
Two men and leprosy give us another insight into the importance of humility in considering the matters of God.
The commander is given a great deal of kudos before we are informed of his leprosy. The favour he finds with the king and even with the servant of his wife is what allows him to be referred to the prophet in Israel.
Yet for all his good qualities, the instructions from Elisha trigger a reaction in Naaman that is less than noble and challenges his sensibilities. It takes the good counsel of his servants for him to actually apply the simple orders of the man of God. It is reinforcing his good character, that his response is effusive and humble thanksgiving.
His desire to be generous is clear when he actually gets to give something. His conscientious response to the healing and acknowledgement of Yahweh as the one true God makes a remarkable connection of the goodness of the Lord far beyond the realm of Israel.
In contrast to Naaman, we have the servant of Elisha. Here is someone who is well aware of the acts of God. He is also more than aware of how Elisha is a man in tune with the will of the Lord.
It takes something far greater in him to ignore what his master says to pursue Naaman. It is not as if Gehazi was in lack and even if he was he was serving a man who constantly ensured those in lack had their needs met. The greed in Gehazi overwhelmed him and so he lied twice in a bid to pursue his desire for gain. Once to Naaman to get the goods and the second time to Elisha in a bid to cover up the deed.
Where Naaman received the cure because of his obedience, Gehazi got a curse through his greed. Though this will not be the last we hear of Gehazi, here we learn from him of the futility of solely pursuing material gain. We also learn from the example of Elisha that it is not about looking for payment for good works, but about being sensitive to the leading of God in ensuring He gets the glory.
There are times when God will ask us to do the unconventional and inconvenient. Our ability to follow God rather than our own inclination can be the difference between enduring the curse that separates from community and health or enjoying the cure that brings wholeness with creation and especially the Creator.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden