Naaman, Gehazi, and the Heart of Greed

Travis West

READ : 2 Kings 5:19b-27 I will run after him and take something from him. (v. 20 NASB) The story begins with Naaman’s leprosy but ends with that very same leprosy clinging to Gehazi. The link between the two characters is greed. Naaman’s lust for power and wealth at the beginning of the story blinds him to the destruction he has caused. His leprosy is a symbol of his sin. Naaman is transformed at the Jordan, where he leaves his …

Giving and Taking

Travis West

READ : 2 Kings 5:15-19a Please let me, your servant, be given . . . (v. 17 Jewish Publication Society) The word “take,” in Hebrew laqach (la-kaKH), appears ten times in this chapter and is implied another ten times. “Taking” echoes 20 times in just 27 verses. This suggests that this story has something to teach about the theology of giving and taking. Naaman begins as a taker. He takes credit for his military victories, takes a slave girl from …

Death in the Pot!

Travis West

READ : 2 Kings 4:38-41 Serve it to the people and let them eat. (v. 41 Jewish Publication Society) It was a simple enough plan: just head out to the fields to see if they could find anything to put into the pot—the big pot—that the man of God had instructed them to fill with food, somehow, in the midst of a famine! What was he thinking? Someone found some wild gourds and sliced them into the stew. (It’s never …

Secret Oil and Pervasive Grace

Travis West

READ : 2 Kings 4:1-7 Shut the door. (v. 4) Two important details in this story are easily overlooked: the role of the neighbors and the fact that the miracle takes place behind closed doors. We’ll take them each in turn. First, it is clear that the community had turned its back on the woman and her plight. The situation the woman and her children found themselves in should not have happened since the Law required the community to care …