Thank You, Father of Heavenly Lights, for every good and perfect gift You have given me (Jas. 1:17).
Read 2 Kings 5:15–27
15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”
16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.
17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”
19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.
After Naaman had traveled some distance, 20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”
21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked.
22 “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent[a] of silver and two sets of clothing.’”
23 “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.
25 When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”
“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.
26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.
a 2 Kings 5:22 That is, about 75 pounds or about 34 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhen you pray do you expect God to be generous or mean, open-handed or tight-fisted?
Naaman, Elisha and Gehazi all teach us about God’s generosity. God gives to all who seek him, regardless of race, religion or gender. Naaman was a Gentile who worshipped Rimmon (and probably other gods too). God does not exclude or discriminate; he generously blesses any person who chooses to obey him (14,15).
God is generous with grace and forgiveness. Maybe Naaman thought that once he was healed he would continue his high-profile job. But his healing had changed more than his skin (15). How was he going to reconcile his new faith with practical aspects of his work (18)? It is encouraging that the Lord knows the struggles we face as we try to live out our love and devotion to him in our workplaces (18), and he reassures us of his forgiveness (19).
God’s generosity is unconditional. We cannot buy God’s blessing. He gives lavishly and freely because he is good. Elisha knew this (16,26), but Gehazi resented God’s generosity to an outsider (19–27) and struggled to live in dependence on God. When we choose self-sufficiency over dependence on God, we alienate ourselves (27) from the God who loves to give to us and through us.
Why not cultivate a grateful heart by listing God’s good gifts? At the end of each day, review God’s generosity and praise him for his lavish kindness.
God, shape my view of You so that I see You for who You are and recognize Your generous nature.