And he said unto him, 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 oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed forever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow. 2 Kings 5:26-27 KJV
In the service of the king David, there were three sons of one woman who gave their whole-hearted devotion to the king – they were: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. They were popularly known as the sons of Zeruiah. These three served king David throughout his reign through thick and thin. Asahel died in the king’s battle. Abishai was there with the king, David, helping him and standing by him when he was a fugitive under king Saul’s administration. Joab was the military head of David’s military formation, and they won lots of battles for the king. However, the reward they got from king David for their whole-hearted service (especially Joab), was a curse on them and their generation. The king said to them, after Joab had killed Abner, the captain of Saul’s army in cold blood, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food.” 2 Samuel 3:28-29 NIV. King David while on his death bed told his son this, “You know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me when he murdered my two army commanders, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He pretended that it was an act of war, but it was done in a time of peace, staining his belt and sandals with innocent blood. Do with him what you think best, but don’t let him grow old and go to his grave in peace. 1 Kings 2:5-6 NLT. Wow, after all his years of serving David, this is what he got as his reward from King David.
This same thing happened to Judas Iscariot. He followed Jesus faithfully (or so it seemed) for three years. When other disciples of Jesus left him because of his hard teachings, Judas remained there with the Lord and the other 11 disciples. When the Lord was sending them out to go and preach and win souls, Judas was there too and also shared his own testimonies of great signs and wonders. Wherever Jesus was, Judas was. He followed ‘faithfully’ (or so it seemed) until the end. However, what did he get for it? Eternal damnation! He sold the king of glory (for 30 pieces of silver), and he ended up in suicide.
Both Joab the son of Zeruiah, and Judas the son of Iscariot suffered the same problem – the ‘Gehazi syndrome’. They followed their masters quite alright, and even sacrificed a lot for their masters, but they did not follow with all their hearts. They followed at their own pace, just the way they wanted it. They did not bother to understand what their master really wanted; they did not understand the principles of genuine service and discipleship. They simply followed according to their own made-up rules, and hence they lost at the end.
Joab never had the spirit of David. He never saw things the way David saw them; hence, he caused a lot of problems for King David. He was his own lord even while under king David. Hence, he did not get the blessings of a faithful and committed follower.
The same thing happened to Gehazi. Despite following a man like Elisha that closely, Gehazi collected nothing from him. When Elisha sent him with his staff to go and raise the dead boy of the Shunammite woman, he came back reporting that nothing happened. For all the years of staying with Elisha and serving him, Gehazi collected nothing from Elisha. No anointing, no grace, no insight, no power to do signs and wonders. Nothing in Gehazi’s life and ministry showed a man who had followed Elisha.
So, it was also for Judas Iscariot. One major thing about these 3 was that there was something they preferred to whatever their master had to offer. Gehazi and Judas Iscariot desired money and the comforts of life, while Joab desired political power. They held on to these desires even at the price of misery.
What about you? How is your discipleship coming along? Are you really following with your heart, or is there something you have held on to at the price of misery? The Gehazi syndrome continues even till today and keeps costing many their place in the program and plan of God for their lives. May God deliver us from this evil, and grant that we will be faithful and sincere disciples of Christ, who will follow him with all our hearts, and who will be indeed fruitful in his service even unto the end. Amen.