After being healed of his leprosy — healed by his obedience to the command of Elisha to dip himself seven times in the river Jordan — Naaman and all his servants find the man of God. Naaman declares to Elisha:
“Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift.” (2 Kings 5:15, NIV)
Elisha refuses a gift. Naaman presses him, but Elisha is adamant as God’s healing is not for sale. Naaman then asks Elisha for a gift — for as much earth as a pair of mules can carry. Presumably this earth will be ‘holy ground’ upon which Naaman will be able to worship only the God of Israel. He also requests pardon for the assistance he must provide to his king during worship. The king leans on Naaman’s arm when bowing in worship to the god of thunder and rain. Naaman, as the king’s servant, must bow in tandem with the king. But, Naaman pledges never to “make burnt offerings to any other god but the Lord.” (2 Kings 5:17)
Not rigidly legalistic, Elisha tells Naaman to “go in peace.” (2 Kings 5:19)
Later Gehazi, who is one of Elisha’s servants, believes Elisha has been “too easy on Naaman.” He determines to “get something from him” (2 Kings 5:20) and runs after Naaman’s chariot. Naaman is concerned. “Is everything all right?” (2 Kings 5:21) Gehazi lies, telling Naaman that God’s healing is for sale, after all. He asks Naaman for two talents of silver and four sets of clothing, enough for two men. Of course, Naaman happily gives up what is requested.
Gehazi essentially hides these items in his own house, then goes to Elisha who confronts him. “Where have you been, Gehazi?” (2 Kings 5:25) Gehazi lies again, declaring he’s not gone anywhere.
Elisha says, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money, or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, flocks, herds, or menservants and maidservants? Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” (2 Kings 5:26)
Gehazi becomes “leprous, white as snow.” (2 Kings 5:27)
Father God, thank You that Your Son paid the price for our healing. You accept no gift from us; instead You give us the very earth we need to worship You in spirit and in truth. In Jesus’ Name, we praise You. Amen.