Friday, November 13, 2015

The Bald Prophet and The Angry Bears

I want to look at an interesting passage today and tie it into where we seem to be in our country and world. The passage is one that isn’t preached or discussed too often about Elisha, some young men and a could of sow (female) bears.  Let’s look at the passage.

He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord . And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.
2 Kings 2:23-24 ESV

From a quick reading it appears we have some kids making fun of a bald guy who gets mad and God sends out a couple of bears to maul the kids.  Doesn’t seem right,  does it.  After all, shouldn’t we turn the other cheek? Let’s unpack more, and remember our context. This is Israel,  God’s chosen nation and He has given them the law of how to respect Him and His prophets.  These kids were probably more young men,  late teens or early 20s. Since from the story there are 42 mauled,  it seems this was a pretty large group.

They were not so much teasing Elisha for being bald,  but they were rejecting him,  his office and his messages. Telling him to go up was probably referring to the situation his mentor,  Elijah had when he was taken up by the chariot of fire.  These weren’t kids teasing an old bald man,  these were the young men of Israel rejecting a Prophet and ultimately God.
They scorn God’s commands that once came from the prophets and now comes from the scripture. They rejected the truth and didn’t want to listen to anything Elisha said. We sound like that in our culture, rejecting what is being taught in the Bible and embracing whatever winds of change we want. When I say we, please understand who I’m talking about. I am not talking about our country, but our churches. Those people who God has called,  just like He set Israel apart,  the church is those who have been called out by God.

The church has thrown out God’s word in lots of places. We run the church by group vote instead of God’s word. We give seats of honor to the wealthy, we abuse those who aren’t as affluent. We condemn some sin while turning a blind eye to other sin. We play church on Sunday but show no change during the rest of the week. It’s true we struggle with sin,  but that’s not the issue as much as we ignore the sin,  justify the sin and even celebrate the sin. We ignore the parts of the scripture we don’t like,  can’t really get excited about and don’t want to tell people. We ignore things in the community because we are afraid of the backlash, so we just ignore that part of the scripture.

I’m not calling out anyone or any church in particular,  just sharing something I know is even true in my life. Enjoying the things I know I should reject and pretending like it’s ok.  In the end,  I am rejecting God and His Word. It’s only by His mercy that a bear hasn’t shown up at my front door.

1 comment:

  1. Good word! I think a lot of this stems from pastors who preach what they like or their opinions. Nothing wrong with opinions per se, but challenge yourself and others with alternate views or applications that might equally be orthodox.

    In any case, don't spend a lifetime avoiding the difficult or deep passages for the easy ones because of fear of rejection if someone disagrees.