Introduction: If I asked you what your goal was for your life, what
would you answer? Would your goal be about doing good? Advancing
you? Advancing the Kingdom of God? Advancing both you and God? In
our Bible study this week we look at those who did good without
looking for reward, and those who merely looked for a reward. Let’s
dive into our study!

  1. Generosity

    1. Read 2 Kings 4:8. We don’t know the name of this woman,
      so let’s call her “Sherry” the Shunammite.” Compare her
      situation with that of the widow we studied last week?
      (In both cases a prophet (this time Elisha instead of
      Elijah) stops by to eat. The difference is that Sherry
      has a husband, money and food – which she uses to bless
      the prophet.)

    2. Read 2 Kings 4:9-10. Why does Sherry do this for Elisha?
      (She wants to advance God’s Kingdom.)

      1. What does this suggest to us about paying the
        clergy? (Having something to rely upon – as opposed
        to ad hoc charity – is preferable.)

    3. Read 2 Kings 4:11-13. What do you think about a prophet
      offering favor from the government?

      1. How does Sherry respond to the offer? (Her status
        with the government is just fine.)

    4. Read 2 Kings 4:14. Elisha still wants to do Sherry a
      favor. Compare Gehazi’s suggestion with Elisha’s original
      offer? (Gehazi’s proposal seems more consistent with the
      work of a prophet.)

    5. Read 2 Kings 4:15-16. Could we have such a relationship
      with God that we could make these kinds of promises to

      1. Sherry seems to say, “Don’t tease me about this!”
        Is she joking?

    6. Read 2 Kings 4:17. Had Sherry known about this result at
      the beginning of her relationship with Elijah, would she
      have thought her work for the prophet worthwhile? (No
      doubt. Sherry was generous with no expectation of reward.
      Our great God in heaven blessed her greatly.)

  2. The Crisis

    1. Read 2 Kings 4:18-20. The boy likely had some sort of
      birth defect that manifested itself now. Why would God
      allow this when the son came to Sherry as a special token
      of appreciation?

      1. Do you think Sherry would rather not have had this
        son, than to have him for just a few years and then
        have him die?

        1. Does her “don’t tease me” remark suggest an

    2. Read 2 Kings 4:21-23. Compare the attitude of the father
      and Sherry on contacting Elisha? (The mother thought it
      was an emergency – thus showing she believed that Elisha
      could do something. The father thought this was a routine
      visit – he had no expectation of help.)

      1. Compare Sherry’s reaction to her son’s death to the
        reaction of the widow we studied last week? (That
        widow blamed herself, the prophet and God. Sherry
        looks to the prophet for help. May we be like

    3. Read 2 Kings 4:24-26. What does the Elisha’s question
      tell us about the way Sherry approached? (Her approach
      told Elisha that something bad had happened.)

      1. Why would Sherry say everything was all right?

    4. Read 2 Kings 4:27. Compare the sensitivity of Elisha to
      the sensitivity of Gehazi? (Elisha is paying close
      attention. He looks beyond Sherry’s words to her

      1. How many times do you show such sensitivity to those
        around you?

    5. Read 2 Kings 4:28. Is Sherry now blaming Elisha? (To some
      degree. Her attitude is that she did not ask for a son –
      she would have been content without one – but having a
      son and then having him die young was very hard.)

      1. What positive thing do you find in Sherry’s actions
        and words? (She turns to Elisha for help. I don’t
        think God faults us for saying the kind of things
        Sherry said here.)

    6. Read 2 Kings 4:29. How much confidence does Elisha place
      in Gehazi?

    7. Read 2 Kings 4:30. How much confidence does Sherry place
      in Gehazi? (She wants Elisha to come.)

    8. Read 2 Kings 4:31-35. Why did the staff not work? Why did
      Elisha have to stretch out over the boy twice? Are these
      missteps or necessary steps?

      1. This seems like a mechanical resuscitation – would
        that help for someone dead this long? What if the
        cause of the death was a blood burst in the brain?
        (I’m not a physician, but inflating the lungs,
        massaging the heart and warming the body would seem
        to do no good.)

        1. What does this teach us about the nature of
          miracles? (God wants us to be part of His
          miracles – even if what we do seems useless.)

    9. Read 2 Kings 4:36-37. Mission accomplished!

    10. Read 2 Kings 8:1-3. What has obedience gotten Sherry? (It
      saved her family from the famine, but squatters have
      taken over her home!)

    11. Read 2 Kings 8:4-6. Why did these series of events
      happen? Why can’t Sherry receive an undiluted
      blessing?(Sherry and her family were not saved from
      adversity. But, we can see the hand of God working even
      in adversity. Had Sherry’s son not died and been
      miraculously raised to life, the King might not have
      ruled in Sherry’s favor with regard to her land.)

      1. What is the lesson for us? (A conflict between good
        and evil is going on in the world. Give God’s
        working in your life a chance. Don’t lose faith in
        the meantime.)

  3. Naaman

    1. Read 2 Kings 5:1-3. Who is responsible for Naaman’s
      success in life? (God.)

    2. Read 2 Kings 5:9-11 and Romans 13:7. Should Naaman have
      entered Elisha’s house instead of staying in his chariot?
      Should Elisha have come out to greet him?

      1. Did you notice that Elisha did not speak directly to
        Sherry ( 2 Kings 4:13)? He first sent Gehazi to deal
        with Sherry’s dead son ( 2 Kings 4:29). Is this a
        personality issue? Is this because Elisha
        represents God?

      2. What would be wrong with doing things the way Naaman

    3. Read 2 Kings 5:12. What else is wrong with Elisha’s
      instructions? (Logic. If you want to be clean of
      something, go to a clean river!)

      1. What results from this “attack” on Naaman’s dignity
        and logic? (He leaves in a rage.)

    4. Read 2 Kings 5:13-14. We’ve been giving logic some lumps.
      What logic is used by Naaman’s assistants? (You would
      have done something difficult, why not do something
      illogical and undignified?)

      1. What lessons do you think God is teaching Naaman?
        (The miracle was all about the power of God. It was
        not about Elisha waiving his hands about. It was not
        about the worthiness of Naaman. It was not about
        human logic.)

      2. Was something required of Naaman? (Belief and

      3. Do you ever mix logic and worthiness into your
        request for a miracle?

    5. Read 2 Kings 5:15-16. Why does Elisha meet with Naaman
      now? (The test is over.)

      1. Why would Elisha refuse the gift? (Elisha did not
        deserve payment for God’s work.)

    1. Read 2 Kings 5:17-19. Can Elisha forgive sins? Can he
      forgive them in advance? (Elisha is saying that with
      Naaman’s attitude, this is not a sin.)

    2. Read 2 Kings 5:20-25. How does Gehazi rate on the honesty
      and integrity scale?

    3. Read 2 Kings 5:26-27. Does this seem a just punishment
      for a little lying and “shop-lifting?”

      1. What is the primary issue in Gehazi’s sin? (Just as
        Elisha succeeded Elijah, so Gehazi might have been
        the next prophet. What disqualified him was self-seeking. Sherry helped Elisha without concern for
        herself. In the healing of Naaman, the power of God
        was center stage, not the importance of Naaman or
        Elisha. Gehazi did not care about God’s plan, he
        cared how things turned out for him. That
        disqualified him from being God’s prophet.)

    4. Friend, how about you? Is your primary goal to do good
      and advance the Kingdom of God? Or, is your primary goal
      to advance your own self interests without regard to what
      is right? Will you commit today to be diligent in doing
      good and advancing God’s Kingdom?

  1. Next week: Baruch: Building a Legacy in a Crumbling World.