As 2 Kings 5 closes, Gehazi lies and cheats Naaman and then lies to Elisha. Elisha reveals that he knew all that Gehazi had done, and judgment is rendered:
“Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So (Gehazi) went out from his presence a leper, like snow. 2 Kings 5:27
I use 2 Kings 5 in a business class I teach at a local college because of all the extraordinary lessons on leadership embedded in this chapter, and it allows me to talk about God. One student commented at this verse, “that’s really harsh!” Too harsh, in his estimation, for the sin that had been committed.
But think about it. Gehazi had been closely associated with many proclamations of the truth as he served Elisha. He had observed God’s power. He was not, like Naaman, new in his understanding of who God is. Yet he desired something, money, more than he desired this God. So he sought his satisfaction in that treasure.
He deserved hell. He was given leprosy.
If 2 Kings 8:4 is any indication, Gehazi was actually restored to health as he serves the King of Israel, which may indicate (we are not told this) that he repented.
If he was given faith, as Naaman was given faith, then the leprosy in both cases was a grace! Let us assume that Naaman continued in his newfound faith – and since his death has been enjoying communion with God in heaven ever since. Do you think he now sees that season of leprosy as a curse, or the greatest blessing he ever had on earth?
God uses all things, including disability, to make much of himself. He certainly did in my life with my son. I see my son’s multiple disabiities as entirely a grace from God.
I have read too many books where theologians easily and wrongly conclude that God had nothing to do with disease or disability or storms or famine or wars or any number of things that God actually takes credit for doing in his word. I certainly agree that these are hard to understand, but being hard to understand does not mean we should just disregard what is actually written. And how sweet it is when something hard becomes more clear!
God alone can independently do such things we consider ‘bad’ and make it all work together for good and to glorify his name. He is that powerful, and that good.
That is why 2 Kings 5 is not a story for children alone, and why it is particularly good news for those of us who are parents of children with disabilities.