Understanding Curses, Part III

“And Elisha said to him, ‘Where have you been, Gehazi?’ And he said, ‘Your servant went nowhere.’ Then he said to him, ‘Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money and to receive clothes and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants? Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave to you and to your descendants forever.’ So he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.” (2 Kings 5:25-27).

In the above passage (from the Bible), we read of a time when a man named Gehazi was cursed. Not only was he cursed, the Bible says that his descendants would be cursed, as well – forever. If this passage doesn’t raise a few eyebrows, I don’t know what will! It is very rich, but we will only be able to touch upon a few points today. By the way, the entire passage is covered in 2 Kings 5:1-27 (the whole chapter). You can read it if you want, but the basics are that the prophet Elisha miraculously healed a high-ranking army commander named Naaman one day. Naaman brought a pile of loot with him, thinking he would offer it to Elisha as a gift for his “healing services.” Elisha, however, refused the loot and sent happy and cured Naaman on his way.

The problem was that, Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, began to dream up some fancy ideas as to how he could use that loot. Gehazi, with a sense of greed and corruption in his heart, deliberately set out to deceive Naaman, and “get back” some of that loot! The end of the story, however, is that the loot ended up “doing in” Gehazi big time. The Bible says that he “went out from [Elisha’s] presence a leper as white as snow.” There is a tremendous amount to be learned from this story, and, you would do well to pay attention! (Because the story is entirely true).

This story is paradoxical, in many ways. Notice Naaman had several servants who were humble, and who helped him obtain his healing. Elisha, on the other hand, had a servant, who became proud, and became cursed because of it. What a paradox! I say this with all reverence and fear, but, you’ve got to give God a lot of credit for “putting this story together” as He did. In fact, if you study the Bible enough, you’ll discover that the whole Bible is miraculously and wonderfully assembled — truly, only the great God of the universe could have done that.

Here you have this man Naaman, who is rather important (in the world’s eyes, he is an army commander) and who happens to be a bit proud. He first gets wind of there being a prophet who can heal (through God’s power) in Israel, and the “word” comes by way of a “little Jewish girl” who happens to be one of Naaman’s servants. Naaman, though, becomes a bit proud along the way, and, has to be convinced again to “keep on going.” Again, grace prevails by way of Naaman’s servants, who encourage him to, effectively, stay humble, so he can receive his healing!

Point number 1: Don’t miss it! If you want to be healed of your affliction (call it a “curse,” if you will), you’ve got to develop a humble attitude – this is one of the key things that the passage is teaching. At any point along the way, you or I, like Naaman, can decide to “turn around” and go home. That would be too bad, because we would miss out on what God wants for our lives!

Point number 2: Because of pride, Gehazi came under the same curse that Naaman was just relieved of. Shame! Gehazi should have known better! After all, he had spent so much time with Elisha. He knew a lot about God, and, the Bible says, “Judgment begins with the household of God.” (1 Peter 4:17). How much do we know about God? Have we used that information responsibly?

Point number 3, which I will infer here, is that, though Gehazi had sinned and come under a curse, all was not over for him. It is true that he became a leper, but if he had only put “two plus two” together, he would have known that if he humbled himself, again, then he would be able to find favor with God, once again. Scripture supports the view that not all was completely over for Gehazi at this point. Yes, he was cursed. But he could have repented (like the Ninevites did), and found favor with God, once again. The curse, “you and your descendants forever,” may sound harsh – it is. But it is not obviously too harsh. God knew what was right to say when He put it in the heart of Elisha to (prophetically) say what he said. The words, “you and your descendants forever” should have motivated Gehazi towards sheer repentance. And we need that in our day, as well. Like Jonah, who was commanded by God to say that the great city of Nineveh would be utterly destroyed in forty days, if God wills, we should say the same to our neighbor (padded with a very godly heart and attitude, of course). Remember, though the curse was pronounced on Nineveh, yet because they repented, God turned the curse around. I am convinced that He could have, and would have, done the same for Gehazi, as well. Why not? God is full of love and patience. Would he not have turned the curse around for Gehazi? I’m sure He would have! For that is what the Bible teaches, through and through.

Let us close with a few verses to meditate on:

“Do not weary yourself to gain wealth. Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings, like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” (Proverbs 23:4-5)

“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.” (1 Timothy 6:10).

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Questions: Am I really seeking His will in my life? Am I pursuing money or items (like Gehazi did)? Are there any areas that I could be doing better in? (Name a few ______________). What area of pride, or lack of responsibility before God, if any, could be causing a “curse” to rest in my life? What can I do about it? (Even the simplest act may be what gets the ball rolling). You would be amazed at how God will meet you when you begin to (1) pay back that overdue debt, (2) say sorry to that person you have offended, (3) start to treat your wife better, (4) etc.

Think about these things, and allow the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind anything that needs fixing up in your life. As you do, don’t fear, but be encouraged! God is on your side, to help you to do the right, so you can escape from that curse, after all.