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Sick of Greed?     2 Kings 5:14-16, 20-22, 24-27     Jan. 23, 2011

 

Introduction

       Greedy people cause others to get tired of them quickly, unless they like to also be greedy. I believe it is generally true that the principal of this statement comes true: water rises to it’s own level. In the text Elisha’s servant caused everyone to know of his character and trustworthiness by his greedy actions. Greedy persons most often display their makeup and make many if not all Sick of Greed.


 

1.   Elisha was Sick of Greed . . Evidenced by His Stand. 2 Kings 5:14-16

        A.   Evidenced by Elijah’s . . Considerate Refusal of Naaman’s Gift. 2 Kings 5:14-16a

14 So Naaman went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, according to the command of the

       man of God. Then his skin was restored and became like the skin of a small boy, and he was clean.

       15 Then Naaman and his whole company went back to the man of God, stood before him, and declared,

       “I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel. Therefore, please accept a gift from your

       servant.”

       16 But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, I stand before Him. I will not accept it.”

 

       B.   Evidenced by Elisha’s . . Consistent Refusal To Naaman’s Gift. 2 Kings 5:14-16a

“. . . Naaman urged him to accept it, but he refused.”


       Elisha knew God had taken care of him and believed He would continue to do so. It is thoughtful and nice of Naaman to offer his gifts but Elijah wanted to emphasize the grace of God. Elijah knew God healed Naaman and all he did was to faithfully represent the Lord. In refusing the gifts offered to him he did it in a considerate manner but consistently refused. He wanted this man to realize the gifts of God are not for sale. Even if he offered his gifts in a sincere and humble manner. Elijah wanted him to know God cannot be bought for a price.

Sometimes kindnesses need to be carefully evaluated to see if there may be a hidden motive.


 

2.   Gehazi Was Not Sick of Greed . . Evidenced by His seeking Gifts. 2 Kings 5:20-22

      A.   The . . Demonstration of Gehazi’s Greed. 2 Kings 5:20-21

      20 Gehazi, the attendant of Elisha the man of God, thought: My master has let this Aramean Naaman off

       lightly by not accepting from him what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get

       something from him. 21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he

       got down from the chariot to meet him and asked, “Is everything all right?”

 

      B.   The . . Deceptiveness of Gehazi’s Greed. 2 Kings 5:22

22 Gehazi said, “It’s all right. My master has sent me to say, ‘I have just now discovered that two young men from the sons of the prophets have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them 75 pounds of silver and two changes of clothes.’”


       The heart of Elisha’s servant Gehazi contained greed for personal gain. He eliminated our guess work about him as he pursued Naaman and demonstrated the motivation of his heart. Do you wonder what his greed did to the attitude of Naaman? Some men seem eager to criticize the actions of God’s people and Gehazi’s actions, although not God like could have caused incorrect thinking about the grace of God. The servant’s greed also caused a deceptiveness that under minded the kindness and graceful action of the prophet. It is sad and distasteful when those who are friends or servants cause disgrace to the causes of the Lord. We don’t know how Naaman felt about Elisha after the action by Gehazi.

 

 

3.   The Consequences of Greed . . Evidenced by Gehazi’s Punishment. 2 Kings 5:24-27

      A.   Consequences in the Action of . . Contempt by Gehazi. 2 Kings 5:24-25

24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the gifts from them and stored them in the house. Then he

       dismissed the men, and they left.

       25 Gehazi came and stood by his master. “Where did you go, Gehazi?” Elisha asked him. “Your servant

       didn’t go anywhere,” he replied.

 

       B.   Consequences in the . . Clinging of the Leprosy to Gehazi. 2 Kings 5:26-27

      26 But Elisha questioned him, “Wasn’t my spirit there when the man got down from his chariot to meet

       you? Is it a time to accept money and clothes, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and

       female slaves?

       27 Therefore, Naaman’s skin disease will cling to you and your descendants forever.” So Gehazi went out

       from his presence diseased— white as snow.


       All greedy people will eventually pay a price for their greed. Note the contempt that possessed Gehazi as he rejected the actions of his master Elisha. I desire to be loyal and to create an atmosphere of loyalty. Actions like that of Gehazi undermine all of the team environment of a working family such as those who served Elijah.

The price he paid for his greed was the return of Naaman’s Leprosy but this time the decease clung to the body of Gehazi. The money and gifts he received from Naaman certainly did not equal the price he paid for his actions of greed. Did you note how Elisha confronted his servant? He knew every detail of Gehazi’s actions and the so called reward he received.