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Lesson 12: Gehazi: Missing the Mark *

Introduction: If I asked you what your goal was for your life, what would you answer? Would your goal be about doing good? Advancing you? Advancing the Kingdom of God? Advancing both you and God? In our Bible study this week we look at those who did good without looking for reward, and those who merely looked for a reward. Let's dive into our study!

  1. Generosity

    1. Read 2 Kings 4:8. We don't know the name of this woman, so let's call her "Sherry" the Shunammite." Compare her situation with that of the widow we studied last week? (In both cases a prophet (this time Elisha instead of Elijah) stops by to eat. The difference is that Sherry has a husband, money and food - which she uses to bless the prophet.)

    2. Read 2 Kings 4:9-10. Why does Sherry do this for Elisha? (She wants to advance God's Kingdom.)

      1. What does this suggest to us about paying the clergy? (Having something to rely upon - as opposed to ad hoc charity - is preferable.)

    3. Read 2 Kings 4:11-13. What do you think about a prophet offering favor from the government?

      1. How does Sherry respond to the offer? (Her status with the government is just fine.)

    4. Read 2 Kings 4:14. Elisha still wants to do Sherry a favor. Compare Gehazi's suggestion with Elisha's original offer? (Gehazi's proposal seems more consistent with the work of a prophet.)

    5. Read 2 Kings 4:15-16. Could we have such a relationship with God that we could make these kinds of promises to others?

      1. Sherry seems to say, "Don't tease me about this!" Is she joking?

    6. Read 2 Kings 4:17. Had Sherry known about this result at the beginning of her relationship with Elijah, would she have thought her work for the prophet worthwhile? (No doubt. Sherry was generous with no expectation of reward. Our great God in heaven blessed her greatly.)

  2. The Crisis

    1. Read 2 Kings 4:18-20. The boy likely had some sort of birth defect that manifested itself now. Why would God allow this when the son came to Sherry as a special token of appreciation?

      1. Do you think Sherry would rather not have had this son, than to have him for just a few years and then have him die?

        1. Does her "don't tease me" remark suggest an answer?

    2. Read 2 Kings 4:21-23. Compare the attitude of the father and Sherry on contacting Elisha? (The mother thought it was an emergency - thus showing she believed that Elisha could do something. The father thought this was a routine visit - he had no expectation of help.)

      1. Compare Sherry's reaction to her son's death to the reaction of the widow we studied last week? (That widow blamed herself, the prophet and God. Sherry looks to the prophet for help. May we be like Sherry!)

    3. Read 2 Kings 4:24-26. What does the Elisha's question tell us about the way Sherry approached? (Her approach told Elisha that something bad had happened.)

      1. Why would Sherry say everything was all right?

    4. Read 2 Kings 4:27. Compare the sensitivity of Elisha to the sensitivity of Gehazi? (Elisha is paying close attention. He looks beyond Sherry's words to her appearance.)

      1. How many times do you show such sensitivity to those around you?

    5. Read 2 Kings 4:28. Is Sherry now blaming Elisha? (To some degree. Her attitude is that she did not ask for a son - she would have been content without one - but having a son and then having him die young was very hard.)

      1. What positive thing do you find in Sherry's actions and words? (She turns to Elisha for help. I don't think God faults us for saying the kind of things Sherry said here.)

    6. Read 2 Kings 4:29. How much confidence does Elisha place in Gehazi?

    7. Read 2 Kings 4:30. How much confidence does Sherry place in Gehazi? (She wants Elisha to come.)

    8. Read 2 Kings 4:31-35. Why did the staff not work? Why did Elisha have to stretch out over the boy twice? Are these missteps or necessary steps?

      1. This seems like a mechanical resuscitation - would that help for someone dead this long? What if the cause of the death was a blood burst in the brain? (I'm not a physician, but inflating the lungs, massaging the heart and warming the body would seem to do no good.)

        1. What does this teach us about the nature of miracles? (God wants us to be part of His miracles - even if what we do seems useless.)

    9. Read 2 Kings 4:36-37. Mission accomplished!

    10. Read 2 Kings 8:1-3. What has obedience gotten Sherry? (It saved her family from the famine, but squatters have taken over her home!)

    11. Read 2 Kings 8:4-6. Why did these series of events happen? Why can't Sherry receive an undiluted blessing?(Sherry and her family were not saved from adversity. But, we can see the hand of God working even in adversity. Had Sherry's son not died and been miraculously raised to life, the King might not have ruled in Sherry's favor with regard to her land.)

      1. What is the lesson for us? (A conflict between good and evil is going on in the world. Give God's working in your life a chance. Don't lose faith in the meantime.)

  3. Naaman

    1. Read 2 Kings 5:1-3. Who is responsible for Naaman's success in life? (God.)

    2. Read 2 Kings 5:9-11 and Romans 13:7. Should Naaman have entered Elisha's house instead of staying in his chariot? Should Elisha have come out to greet him?

      1. Did you notice that Elisha did not speak directly to Sherry ( 2 Kings 4:13)? He first sent Gehazi to deal with Sherry's dead son ( 2 Kings 4:29). Is this a personality issue? Is this because Elisha represents God?

      2. What would be wrong with doing things the way Naaman expected?

    3. Read 2 Kings 5:12. What else is wrong with Elisha's instructions? (Logic. If you want to be clean of something, go to a clean river!)

      1. What results from this "attack" on Naaman's dignity and logic? (He leaves in a rage.)

    4. Read 2 Kings 5:13-14. We've been giving logic some lumps. What logic is used by Naaman's assistants? (You would have done something difficult, why not do something illogical and undignified?)

      1. What lessons do you think God is teaching Naaman? (The miracle was all about the power of God. It was not about Elisha waiving his hands about. It was not about the worthiness of Naaman. It was not about human logic.)

      2. Was something required of Naaman? (Belief and obedience.)

      3. Do you ever mix logic and worthiness into your request for a miracle?

    5. Read 2 Kings 5:15-16. Why does Elisha meet with Naaman now? (The test is over.)

      1. Why would Elisha refuse the gift? (Elisha did not deserve payment for God's work.)

    1. Read 2 Kings 5:17-19. Can Elisha forgive sins? Can he forgive them in advance? (Elisha is saying that with Naaman's attitude, this is not a sin.)

    2. Read 2 Kings 5:20-25. How does Gehazi rate on the honesty and integrity scale?

    3. Read 2 Kings 5:26-27. Does this seem a just punishment for a little lying and "shop-lifting?"

      1. What is the primary issue in Gehazi's sin? (Just as Elisha succeeded Elijah, so Gehazi might have been the next prophet. What disqualified him was self-seeking. Sherry helped Elisha without concern for herself. In the healing of Naaman, the power of God was center stage, not the importance of Naaman or Elisha. Gehazi did not care about God's plan, he cared how things turned out for him. That disqualified him from being God's prophet.)

    4. Friend, how about you? Is your primary goal to do good and advance the Kingdom of God? Or, is your primary goal to advance your own self interests without regard to what is right? Will you commit today to be diligent in doing good and advancing God's Kingdom?

  1. Next week: Baruch: Building a Legacy in a Crumbling World.
* Copr. 2010, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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