To the extent that one lives in goodness without sinning, a person may feel a sense of pain and distress when he sees sin and evil in the world. The holy God wants His beloved children to cast off every form of evil by fighting against it to the point of shedding blood and to have nothing by which they can be condemned. However, some believers in God have no qualm of conscience while committing sins and they don’t even realize their own sin and evil. Such was the case of Gehazi, who was the attendant to Elisha.
- Naaman the commander came to Elisha the man of God
Naaman was the commander of Aram, which was one of Israel’s neighboring countries. He had wealth, fame, and authority, but he had a problem. He was stricken with leprosy. One day, he heard from a girl taken captive from Israel that if he went to Elisha the Prophet he could be cured of his leprosy. Elisha was a disciple of Elijah and a servant of God. He gained a double portion of his teacher’s spirit by following his teacher until the end.
Since Naaman was of goodness, he didn’t neglect the word of even the little girl who had been taken captive from Israel. He gained permission from the king of Aram and departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothes to give the prophet. Now he arrived at the doorway of Elisha’s place. But his messenger went out and delivered Elisha’s word, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.”
Naaman was bewildered. He came all the way from a faraway place and prepared heartily and took many things to give Elisha. But Elisha didn’t even meet him, but sent his messenger with his word. Naaman’s pride was hurt. Moreover, the Jordan River didn’t seem quite good enough, but Elisha told him to wash in it. He was speechless. He remembered that there were better and cleaner rivers in Aram. Naaman went away thinking this way and was furious. The high expectations he had crumbled away.
He was about to go back to his country in distress, but his servants said to him, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” Then, Naaman changed his mind and obeyed. He listened carefully to his servants, which shows his humbleness and goodness.
Naaman dipped himself in Jordan. At the first, second, and third?then the seventh dipping, an amazing thing occurred. His ugly leprous skin became as clean as a child’s skin. Here, the Jordan River spiritually represents salvation and the water is the Word of God. In other words, if we clean ourselves with the Word and live completely in the truth, we can be healed of all kinds of diseases. The number ‘seven’ is the number of perfectness, so ‘dipping seven times’ means that we should wash ourselves perfectly with the Word of God.
Naaman was cured and he went to Elisha to thank him and give him the offerings he had brought. But Elisha didn’t accept them. Naaman greeted him with a grateful heart and professed that he would serve only God and departed.
- Gehazi came down with leprosy because he deceived Elisha
Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, coveted so very much what Naaman had brought to give Elisha. He followed Naaman and he lied saying that Elisha wanted Naaman to give him a talent of silver and two changes of clothes. Naaman then gave Gehazi two talents of silver and two changes of clothes. On the way back, he sent the other two servants away and hid the things in his house. Knowing everything, Elisha asked Gehazi, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And Gehazi said, pretending not to go anywhere, “Your servant went nowhere.”
Elisha made a dreary remark to him, saying, “Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money and to receive clothes and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants? Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Elisha was a servant of God and he knew Gehazi’s sin. So, to give Gehazi the opportunity to destroy the wall of sin against God and repent, he asked where he had been.
However, Gehazi continually lied saying he had gone nowhere. If one doesn’t repent and keeps sinning, God’s curse cannot help but come upon him. In the end, Gehazi got leprosy and fell into a miserable situation. He thought nobody knew his behavior. But, God knew it and God let Elisha know it. Therefore Elisha knew everything Gehazi had done.
- God sees and knows everything
Genesis Chapter 4 talks about the incident of Cain secretly striking and killing his brother Abel. Even at that time, God knew all about it. So, God said to Cain, “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.”
Genesis Chapter 18 describes that God said that Abraham would have a son the following year. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. But God said that Sarah would have a son. Sarah was listening to His Word at the tent door which was behind Abraham. She laughed, and God saw it all.
Jesus, who is one with God, also knew and knows who speaks of what and He knows what they think. He knows what will happen. He knows everything. Jesus said to Nathanael in John 1:47, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Jesus didn’t see him in person, but He knew everything.
Also, the prophets of God upon whom the Spirit of God came could know things that men could not ever know. Sitting still in one spot, Elisha knew what kind of strategy the Aramean king and his servants had devised. He talked about it to the king of Israel and had him take defensive measures against Aram. It was so exact that the king of Aram thought that some of his servants had let the king of Israel know about it (2 Kings 6:8-12).
It was the same with the Apostle Peter. Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property and though they vowed to give it to God, they wanted to keep some of it when they had it in their hands. So they kept back some of the price and they laid it at the apostles’ feet. They did it thinking no one knew anything about it, but Peter knew it.
So, Peter harshly rebuked Ananias who tried to deceive God. Then, he died on the spot. His wife Sapphira also deceived Peter and died. Although they did it secretly, they couldn’t deceive God. God had this recorded in the Bible so that people would be able to realize that the woe will be great to those who deceive the Holy Spirit and God’s powerful servants.
- We can receive answers when we obey with honesty
God also knows well whether or not God’s children give tithes and thanks offerings as He teaches; whether they act in faith, pray, obey, and give thanks in everything. Some might seem to lead a great Christian life because they appear to give whole tithes and proper thanks offering and pray well. But God searches our inner hearts, so nobody can deceive God. Of course, we must not deceive others including parents and brothers.
To deceive God includes not only lying but also overstating or adding something to the truth and stealing. Also, many things can be included such as not giving tithes or thanks offerings that one has determined to give to God; pretending to pray; acting in heartlessness; not obeying the Holy Spirit telling one to pray; giving up fasting in the middle, and so on.
If we deceive God or commit sin, we will feel afraid of God. With this fear, we can turn back from the way and lead to the way of complete honesty and truth. When we are under trials, we may feel dreary and troubled. But the precious trials make us go to the prosperous way to answers.
Just as parents lead their children to the right way, even by scolding and reprimanding when they are going the wrong way, trials are given to us in the love that God has for us. So, I hope you will never deceive God and walk the way of truth and honesty in all things.