In 2kings 5:26, Elisha asks his servant a disturbing question, “… is this the time?”
When I read this verse recently, the weight of it hit me like a bolt out of the blue. I pondered on it all day long and ended up adopting it for my sanity.
Is this the time for so many things we are doing or saying or dreaming about? As rhetoric as this sounds, many of us should ask and answer this question on a frequent basis. It’s simply the right thing to do.
Let’s look at how this question came about in 2Kings Chapter 5.
Naaman, a general of the army in Syria, the Bible describes as a truly great man, but afflicted with a grievous skin disease, came to Prophet Elisha seeking healing from leprosy. Elisha was recommended to him and in his desperation, Naaman went to see the prophet armed with lots of gifts.
Elisha sent a message through his servant to Naaman instructing him to dip himself seven times in River Jordan to receive his healing. On hearing this, Naaman was angry at the audacity of the prophet but eventually, he obeyed. He dipped his body and received instant healing! He went from having leprosy to smooth skin like a baby. This miracle opened the way for Naaman’s acknowledgment of Elisha’s God: “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now, therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.” – 2Kings 5:15
Out of excitement and gratitude, Naaman was eager to gift the prophet items from the treasure he brought along. As a man of integrity, Elisha rejected his gesture. Unfortunately, his servant Gehazi witnessed his master declining Naaman’s token of gratitude. He couldn’t fathom why his master turned down the goodies. He decided to take matters into his hands. “Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.” 2Kings 5:21.
So, he ran and caught up with Naaman and deceived him into thinking that Elisha changed his mind about accepting the gifts for his healing: “My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.
And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him” 2Kings 5: 22-23.
Gehazi went home, hid the loot, and went before his master. Elisha asked him where he had been. He lied he went nowhere. Being the anointed prophet Elisha was, he exposed Gehazi: “Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?”
Elisha cursed Gehazi for allowing greed to consume his reasoning. No sooner, Gehazi was struck with the same leprosy Naaman was delivered from. How ironic! To add salt to this horrible injury, Elisha decreed that the curse will affect four generations of Naaman’s family: “The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow” – 2Kings 2: 27. What a costly price to pay for materialism!
What would Gehazi have become if he did not permit greed to rob him of his health and God’s timing? Let’s look at it: Elijah the prophet that called fire on 400 prophets of Baal was Elisha’s master. When his time to leave the earth came, Elisha, was at the right place, at the right time to receive Elijah’s mantle of anointing. It pays to be sensitive to God’s timing. Can you imagine adding Elijah’s anointing to the anointing Elisha already had? Double portion anointing! Elisha was so powerful that even in death, he raised the dead: “And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet” – 2Kings 13:21
On the other hand, his servant Gehazi, ended up as a leper in place of hypothetically having triple portion anointing (Elijah and Elisha’s anointing combined). It is hard to grasp the fact that in spite of the miracles he witnessed his master Elisha performing, he still had an unbelieving heart – he was not broken. If truly Gehazi feared God and trusted in God’s timing, today, we might have been reading about a very powerful prophet called Gehazi.
Disastrously, Gehazi’s flesh robbed his latter years of being better than his former. He also destroyed the destiny of four generations with a sentence of leprosy. God have mercy!
The truth is God’s timing is the best; it comes without heartache or consequences. It might look like God is taking forever to answer our prayers. One thing we fail to realize is summed in 2Peter 3: 8-9: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
I pray we will not be in a haste to take our prayers from God’s hands and do what we think is right. Spiritual leprosy will not be our portion, in Jesus’ name.
Always remember, God, the creator of time, knows how important timing is. Time is the most expensive commodity in the market of life. We must always be sensitive to God’s timing and encourage ourselves that although it tarries, it will surely come to pass. We pray for the spirit of discernment so, as the sons of Issachar, we will also know the signs of the times and the seasons, in Jesus’ name.
It doesn’t pay to move ahead of God’s timing.
Fola Ojelowo has a passion for writing about God’s goodness.