Elijah had an established reputation as a prophet of the Lord. He was known to be God’s mouthpiece. Elijah had gone and the prophetic mantle had fallen on his servant Elisha. These kings needed prophetic counsel.
The Bible says,
“But Jehoshaphat asked, `Is there no prophet of the Lord here, that we may enquire of the Lord through him?’ An officer of the king of Israel answered, `Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah’ (that is, he was Elijah’s personal servant). Jehoshaphat said, `The word of the Lord is with him.’ So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him. Elisha said to the king of Israel…” (2 Kings 3:11-13).
How were they to know who God’s prophet of the hour was? To them it was simple. The personal servant of Elijah would be the person they wanted. When they identified him, they found that he was Elisha. He was the “successor” and he was the prophet, and he prophesied for them! Their thinking that the personal servant of Elijah should be God’s prophet was correct. They were saying, “There is a spiritual succession from master to servant,” and so on.
It was, therefore, understandable that the servant of Elisha should receive training through service and become the next prophet.
GEHAZI: ELISHA’S SERVANT – AN AUSPICIOUS START
The Bible says, “One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, `I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.’ One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, `Call the Shunammite.’ So he called her, and she stood before him. Elisha said to him, `Tell her, ”You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army”?’ She replied, `I have a home among my own people.’ `What can be done for her?’ Elisha asked. Gehazi said, `Well, she has no son and her husband is old.’ Then Elisha
said, `Call her.’ So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. `About this time next year,’ Elisha said, `you will hold a son in your arms.’ `No, my lord,’ she objected. `Don’t mislead your servant, O man of God!’ But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her” (2 Kings 4:8-17).
This was the beginning of Gehazi’s career. He had been chosen to become the servant of Elisha. It was a great appointment. If everything went well, some day, Gehazi would become the prophet!
Elisha took him to heart. He sent him on errands. He consulted him. For example, when he asked, “What can be done for her?” He wanted the contribution of Gehazi to their joint ministry! The servant was being invited into the master’s intimacy.
Gehazi did well. He saw where her need was. He said, `Well, she has no son and her husband is old.’ The prophet took this seriously and moved God to meet this need. It was a great beginning. He was contributing spiritually.