SERMON: Why Do They Blame Elisha For Cursing The Children?
After Prophet Elijah was taken to the heavens in a windstorm, Elisha, his servant, inherited his garments ripped into two pieces, which is symbolic of a double portion of Elijah's power.
Being finally tired of that, he turned around and cursed them in the name of the Lord (2 Kings 2: 23-24).
As a result, Elisha performed fourteen miracles, and Elijah seven. (Here there is an important symbol, which I will explain later in this Sermon). Elisha's first miracle was to heal Jericho's water, for it was in very bad condition.
But unfortunately, as he left Jericho and headed for Bethel, a bunch of small boys came out from the city and started to mock him, saying to him: "Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!"
David wrote an interesting passage regarding such individuals: "Happy is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked ones,/ And in the way of sinners has not stood,/ and in the seats of ridiculers has not sat"
Then two female bears came out from the woods and tore to pieces as many as forty-two of them. No wonder that the whole city of Bethel was in great pain that day, especially the parents, relatives, and friends of those kids.
But the fact and matter is, you must not mess with divine matters. "He who plays with fire," according to the popular saying, "will finally get burned." Those children, should they have known what they were playing with, they would never have "protested" against Elisha's presence in their city.
To begin with, insulting a prophet of God is insulting God. Consequently, those kids were insulting God without realizing it that way, probably. The Bible says that Jehovah does not tolerate people who mock Him.
Psalmist David, in fact, wrote an interesting passage regarding such individuals: "Happy is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked ones,/And in the way of sinners has not stood,/and in the seats of ridiculers has not sat" (Psalms 1: 1).
Secondly, the Bible says that the bears slaughtered forty-two of them. Based on this account, we can logically conclude that there were other children involved. Therefore, Prophet Elisha was under a real attack, as many theologians argue that those kids were likely teenagers. The prophet's curse may have been an act of self-defense, as obviously he had no other way to defend himself at the moment.
Further, after he had healed the water of Jericho, maybe the inhabitants of Bethel were not happy about it. Bethel, as a neighboring city, may have been selling water to the people of Jericho. Thus, if that was the case, that miracle may have stopped short their business. Therefore, it is hard to know the real motive behind that protest which could have better explained its nature.
Thirdly, Elisha is one of the most powerful prophets, if not the most powerful one, of the Old Testament. According to most theologians, he symbolizes the New Testament and therefore the Redemption Plan or the New Alliance, while Elijah symbolizes the Old Testament.
As I stated in the beginning of the article, he performed twice as many miracles as Elijah (14 vs. 7). That symbolizes the superiority of the New Testament, where the Lord Jesus Christ is the central figure, as Apostle Paul put it so beautifully: "You have been built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Christ being the cornerstone."
Thus, when those children were chanting: "Go up, you baldhead," in essence what they were saying was: "Stay in Heaven, You Jesus Christ. We do not need you on Earth. Let us perish in our sins, far away from the face of God." Had they been aware of it that way? Probably not. But that's what their "strike" against Prophet Elisha meant, at least from a divine perspective.
Fourthly, the phrase "you baldhead" is not wise at all on the part of those youngsters to use in order to mock an older person, especially a prophet of the Almighty. Also, it shows the perversion of a culture that fails to value spiritual things and experience. (By the way, paying respect to an elder, not only is it written in the Law of Moses, but is a principle known throughout the whole world and throughout ages and civilizations).
I don't believe that those children were fully aware of what they were doing by protesting Prophet Elisha's presence in their city. But one thing is certain, divine matters are very serious matters, and no one should play with them.
All of us, children, women and men, should take heed.
Adapted from a sermon by Jean Elie Paraison as submitted to www.thecoolgroup.org
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