Lessons Learned From The Miracles of Elisha: A Series
Introduction: Earlier this month (May 2022), I started a personal study of the miracles performed by Elisha, the follower of the Great Prophet Elijah. Elisha requested a double portion of the miracles of Elijah as Elijah was translated to Heaven, and his request was granted. In the Book of 2 Kings, Elisha performed 32 distinct miracles. (A miracle also occurred after Elisha’s death when a dead man was restored to life when he was tossed into the tomb of Elisha. 2 Kings 13: 20-21.) The following list is taken from Dake’s Annotated Bible, p. 708.
#1 Drying up of Jordan River 2 Kings 2: 13-15
#2 Healing of the Waters 2 Kings 2: 19-22
#3 Bears from the Woods 2 Kings 2: 23-25
#4 Waters Filling Ditches Without Rain 2 Kings 3: 16-20
#5 Defeat of the Moabites 2 Kings 3: 18-20, 24-27
#6 Optical Illusions 2 Kings 3: 21-23
#7 Increase of Widow’s Oil 2 Kings 4: 1-7
#8 Barrenness Healed 2 Kings 4: 12-17
#9 Resurrection of a Boy 2 Kings 4: 32-37
#10 Pottage Healed 2 Kings 4: 28-41
#11 Bread Multiplied for 100 men 2 Kings 4: 42 -44
#12 Leprosy of Naaman Healed 2 Kings 5: 1-14
#13 Discernment of Gehazi 2 Kings 5: 25-26
#14 Leprosy of Naaman Given to Gehazi 2 Kings 5: 27
#15 Making Iron to Swim 2 Kings 6: 1-7
#16-18 Revealing War Secrets 2 Kings 6: 8-10. 10-12, 13
#19 Eyes of the Servant Opened 2 Kings 6: 13-17
#20 Blinding of the Syrian Army 2 Kings 6: 18
#21 Capture of the Whole Syrian Army 2 Kings 6: 19
#22 Healing the Syrian Army of Blindness 2 Kings 6: 22-23
#23 Foreknowing the King’s Acts 2 Kings 6: 32-33
#24-25 Miraculous Utterances 2 Kings 7:1, 7:2
#26 Confusion of the Syrians 2 Kings 7: 6-8
#27 Seven Years of Famine 2 Kings 8: 1-2
#28 Miraculous Utterances 2 Kings 8:7-11
#29 Miraculous Utterances 2 Kings 8:12
#30 Miraculous Utterances 2 Kings 8:13-15
#31 Miraculous Utterances 2 Kings 9:1-10
#32 Miraculous Utterances 2 Kings 13:14-19
Over the next few weeks, the focus of the posts in this blog will be on this list of miracles from the study of Elisha. At this point, I am not sure how many will be covered, but follow me as I follow the leading of the Lord. Today’s post is the first in this series. We will look at the servant of Elisha, whose name is Gehazi.
Gehazi’s story is explicitly related to several of Elisha’s miracles, although he was probably a player in several others. His involvement will become apparent as we analyze the miracles.
I pray that we will gain enlightenment and respect for the power of God in the life of a holy man as we research the actions of the Great Prophet, Elisha.
Lesson One: Gehazi, A Man Who Lost Everything Because of Greed
(Lesson One includes five of the 32 Miracles performed by Elisha the prophet: Miracle #8, Barrenness Healed; #9, Resurrection of a Boy; #12, Leprosy in Naaman recovered; #13, Discernment of Gehazi and #14, Leprosy of Naaman given to Gehazi) (2 Kings 4:12, 31; 5:20; 8:4).
Gehazi was a man who was the personal servant of the Prophet Elisha. He traveled with him, and the prophet relied upon him. Gehazi was even received as an honored guest in the home of a rich woman, the Shunammite, simply because he was with the holy man of God. When the Shunammite provided food and a place to stay when Elisha passed near her, Elisha said to the Shunammite in 2 Kings 4:13: 13 Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? So, the respect and provisions for the man of God were not only for him but also for Gehazi.
Gehazi served as a mouthpiece for Elisha when directed to do so. For example, when Elisha wanted to bless the Shunammite, he told Gehazi to speak to her.
12 Call this Shunammite.
When the Shunammite declined all offers from Elisha as a reward for her hospitality, Gehazi suggested that she be given a child. (Have you noticed that when God wants to bless your life, He gives you people?) Elisha trusted Gehazi’s judgment because he asked his opinion concerning what might be an appropriate gift. And Gehazi must have been a wise man because he observed that the woman’s husband was old and that the Shunammite was childless. Elisha considered Gehazi’s suggestion perfect because he called the Shunammite a second time and prophesied that she would have a child within nine months. Also, note that God honored the prophet’s words.
As the story goes, that prophecy came to pass, and a child was born, as Elisha stated. Unfortunately, years later, the child died. The Shunammite dashed to Elisha to tell him of her predicament. When Elisha saw her approaching him hastily, he sent Gehazi ahead to ask her if all was well. When the Shunammite reached Elisha, she fell to the ground and grabbed him by the feet. It was Gehazi who removed her hands from Elisha’s feet. Elisha trusted Gehazi so well that when he discovered that the Shunammite’s child was dead, he sent him with his staff to attempt to resurrect him. However, it was not until Elisha went himself that the child was raised from the dead.
On another occasion, in the 8th chapter of 2 Kings, Gehazi is sitting and talking with King Jehoram about the miracles of Elisha. (He must have been viewed as an upstanding man because not everyone gets to sit and talk to Kings.) While Gehazi spoke to the King, the Shunammite woman suddenly appeared. Elisha had advised her to go to another country due to an upcoming seven years of drought. She obeyed Elisha, went away for the famine, and was now returning to reclaim her land. As a result of Gehazi’s testimony, the Shunammite was able to reclaim her land with profit from rental for the time that she was gone. (This story is not told until the 8th chapter, but the event, some feel, actually occurred earlier in the Book.)
And then the downturn in events for Gehazi occurred. He was riding high for a long stretch, but he messed up and missed out. His downfall had to do with the man, Naaman, who we learn about in the 5th chapter of 2 Kings. Naaman was Captain of the host of the King of Syria, but he was also afflicted with Leprosy. When he learned that a prophet named Elisha could cause him to be healed, he took the equivalent of $77,370 in money and goods to pay his “doctor bill” and went and found Elisha. Elisha, being the true man of God, refused to take any money for God’s miracle. After Naaman was healed, Elisha blessed him and sent him on his way. Naaman was genuinely grateful, and his attitude toward the Almighty God was changed for the good. The story should have ended at this point and probably would have were it not for the greed of Gehazi.
Despite a long-standing relationship with the Holy man of God, seeing and being involved in many of Elisha’s miracles, and showing faithfulness towards the Holy man, Gehazi apparently forgot who Elisha really was.
Gehazi ran after Naaman and lied, claiming to Naaman that Elisha had changed his mind. He collected the equivalent of $3840 and two outfits and went home and hid them. But that great prophet “saw” what Gehazi did and “bestowed” Elisha’s 14th miracle upon Gehazi. The Leprosy of Naaman jumped upon Gehazi. (You see, not all miracles are positive and to be desired). In the 27th verse of the fifth chapter, we learn that not only did Gehazi get this awful disease, but it was also passed to his seed. In addition, he lost his job for lying and, of course, his good standing in the community. (This explains why some feel that Gehazi’s sitting with King Jehoram when the Shunammite arrived asking to reclaim her land must have happened before he received the curse of Leprosy. It is unlikely that he would have been able to be in the presence of the King if cursed with this horrible condition.)
So, there we have it. Five of Elisha’s miracles which were all fulfilled during Gehazi’s lifetime and in his presence. Gehazi was directly involved in at least these five great miracles, yet he allowed the devil to overtake him and cause him to be destroyed.
Let’s look at some of the lessons that can be learned from this story related to Gehazi’s life.
1. Lying, cheating and covetousness will take you down, no matter who you are.
2. Being around holy men of God does not necessarily make you a holy person. (This also means that just because your father is saved or your mother is saved doesn’t mean you are saved. It is definitely an individual affair.)
3. When the consequences of your actions hit home, you are not the only one affected. Your loved ones can also be hit.
4. Be sure your sins will find you out. Numbers 32:23.
These are four of the outcomes that I saw in the life of Gehazi. I’m confident that there are others. Please add the consequences that you see in this post’s “Comments” section. I would love to hear from you.
The next post in The Miracles of Elisha: A Series will be “The Great Woman of Shunam: The Shunammite.” Look for it soon.