Gehazi is a picture of the state of Israel opposite the heathen who received grace. The hatred that the Lord Jesus receives when He refers to the curing of Naaman is not so much the fact of Naaman’s curing as the fact that Naaman is cured apart from Israel (Lk 4:27-2927And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”28And all [the people] in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things;29and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff.). Grace shown to unreligious people evokes the hatred of religious people who claim grace as a right.
There is a big difference between the converted pagan Naaman and the depraved Israelite Gehazi. Naaman learned from Elisha that God is a God of grace. That is why Elisha refused his gifts. Elisha wanted Naaman to be impressed by the LORD, the God of Israel, as a God of grace. God cannot be bribed or manipulated with anything a person can give or do.
What Gehazi does must be seen in this light. By his behavior he makes the giving God a questioning or even demanding God. He is guided in his behavior by greed. Despite having experienced so much with the man of God, his heart has not changed. Under all the wonders of grace, his heart has remained cold. It is with him as with Judas. He is caught by the money.
When he sees that Elisha does not accept anything from Naaman, it is shocking for him. What a missed opportunity to become rich in what he considers to be a legal way! It cannot be true that Naaman leaves with all his treasures, without getting a part of them. After all, Naaman has offered it. He devises a trick to get some of Naaman’s wealth.
In the way he speaks about Naaman (“this Naaman the Aramean”), there is something of contempt. Lust for money is a terrible thing among the people of God. Whoever is caught in greed is blind to the value of the person. In his boldness Gehazi even dares to link the name of the LORD to his greed. Using the words “the LORD lives” he takes the decision to run after Naaman.
Except that he uses the name of the LORD vainly (Exo 20:77“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.), he uses deceit. When he reaches Naaman, he hangs up the story that the prophet has changed his mind. Elisha has been visited. In a single sentence, Gehazi destroys everything Elisha wanted to learn Naaman in verse 1616But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will take nothing.” And he urged him to take [it], but he refused.. With what he says, Gehazi blames Elisha, the man of God, as if he were still claiming a reward. The lie he uses corrupts also God’s grace. He has a price tag on the grace of God. He presents God as a ‘claimant’, a God Who takes and is therefore no different from all the idols of the nations. This explains why his punishment is so severe.
Gehazi gets what he asks for and even more. Naaman gives him the enormous amount of two talent silver and also the two changes of clothes. Cunningly Gehazi has his wealth brought to a place where he can hide it himself. However, he does not take into account that he is dealing with Someone for Whom all things are naked and opened and Who has a prophet to whom He can communicate what He sees.
We can apply Gehazi’s actions to much of what is happening in Christianity today. Paul speaks about this in the letter to the Galatians. There are people who claim that the death of the Lord Jesus is not enough to be saved. In their opinion, there is another thing that needs to be added, namely the keeping of certain requirements of the law, such as circumcision. The ‘Jesus-Plus Movement’ has found its entrance with the Galatians. But everything that is ‘plus’ obscures grace. This applies to the law, baptism, the doctrine of the church. All we add to Christ as a condition of being a Christian and being accepted as such is an obscuration of grace.