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Sabbath School Lessons on Background Characters in the Old Testament
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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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!
- 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
- Read 2 Kings 4:9-10. Why does Sherry do this for Elisha?
(She wants to advance God's Kingdom.)
- What does this suggest to us about paying the
clergy? (Having something to rely upon - as opposed
to ad hoc charity - is preferable.)
- Read 2 Kings 4:11-13. What do you think about a prophet
offering favor from the government?
- How does Sherry respond to the offer? (Her status
with the government is just fine.)
- 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.)
- Read 2 Kings 4:15-16. Could we have such a relationship
with God that we could make these kinds of promises to
- Sherry seems to say, "Don't tease me about this!"
Is she joking?
- 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.)
- The Crisis
- 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
- 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?
- Does her "don't tease me" remark suggest an
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.)
- Why would Sherry say everything was all right?
- 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
- How many times do you show such sensitivity to those
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Read 2 Kings 4:29. How much confidence does Elisha place
- Read 2 Kings 4:30. How much confidence does Sherry place
in Gehazi? (She wants Elisha to come.)
- 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?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Read 2 Kings 4:36-37. Mission accomplished!
- 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!)
- 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.)
- 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
- Read 2 Kings 5:1-3. Who is responsible for Naaman's
success in life? (God.)
- 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?
- 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
- What would be wrong with doing things the way Naaman
- 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!)
- What results from this "attack" on Naaman's dignity
and logic? (He leaves in a rage.)
- 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?)
- 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
- Was something required of Naaman? (Belief and
- Do you ever mix logic and worthiness into your
request for a miracle?
- Read 2 Kings 5:15-16. Why does Elisha meet with Naaman
now? (The test is over.)
- Why would Elisha refuse the gift? (Elisha did not
deserve payment for God's work.)
- 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.)
- Read 2 Kings 5:20-25. How does Gehazi rate on the honesty
and integrity scale?
- Read 2 Kings 5:26-27. Does this seem a just punishment
for a little lying and "shop-lifting?"
- 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.)
- 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?
- 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.