2 Kings 2:19-25 (Part 2) – Mockers, Elisha & Bears … Oh My!

Posted: April 9, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 2:19-25 (Part 2 of 2)

Elisha’s First Miracles

One of the things that has been resonating in my heart lately is how much God loves those who are far from Him. God desires that no one must spend eternity separated from Him in hell. From Scripture, we know that Jesus Christ, after having been beaten mercilessly to within an inch of his life BEFORE his crucifixion, is hanging and suffering mightily on the cross, one of the most cruel forms of capital punishment ever invented by man. It is from this venue of pain on His already pain-wracked body, Jesus utters the most incredulous words, “Father, forgive them! For they know not what they do!” The Creator of the Universe allowing the created to kill His human body and while suffering excruciating fleshly pain says to the Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Amazing isn’t it! While they stand below mocking Him for not taking Himself down from the cross, He asks the Father to forgive them. While they jeer at Him, He asks the Father to forgive them. Could you or I do that? Ask God to forgive those who mock us, jeer us, make fun of us and those who marginalize us as Christians. What if we were living in a country where being a Christian can cost you your freedom or even your life? Could you say to your captors or killers, Father forgive them for they know not what they do? Could you? Could I?

After reading today’s passage with a particular eye toward those who were mocking Elisha and then what happened to them, it made me think about this whole concept of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, asking the Father to forgive those who had Him arrested, beaten, turned over to the Romans, beaten to within an inch of His human life, and then hung on a cross to die a slow, painful death. That idea got me to thinking about how we now live in a country where people are far from God, a country where we are now being marginalized to the sidelines of the public forum and our beliefs are mocked as antiquated and out of step with this higher evolution of man that we think we have become.

That’s where the thought of Jesus on the cross comes in. He loved those who were mocking Him and those who had put Him on the cross. The love that Jesus had for them was not because of what they were doing but rather what He knew their hearts and minds were going to cost them. That’s the thing. He knew their hearts were hard and proud and that they could not see the Messiah before them. He knew that their own pride would sentence them to eternity without Him. He loved them so much that it broke His heart to see them thumbing their nose up at the Creator on the cross. Isn’t that where we are at now in our country? People who are far from God think God does not exist. They think that Christianity is some fiction that was made up to control people. We would rather be independent, free thinkers who pursue what our hearts desire. We pride ourselves in our evolution beyond Christianity now. We are the same as the Jewish religious elite who put Jesus on the cross. They thought they had a corner on the market of what was right and true. That’s the America we live in today. We have decided for ourselves that we know better than some God that we made up thousands of years ago. We have evolved. We are our own gods now.

However, the sadness is that just because we as a nation have decided that God no longer exists DOES NOT make Him not exist. Just because you believe that God never existed does not mean that God has not always existed. The sadness is that those who are far from God do not even fathom the consequences that they are up against when it comes to the end of their lives. The sadness is what we are to do about it. Let’s read the passage now with an eye toward the mockers of Elisha:

19 One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. “We have a problem, my lord,” they told him. “This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive.”

20 Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, “This is what the Lord says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility.[a]” 22 And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said.

23 Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of boys from the town began mocking and making fun of him. “Go away, baldy!” they chanted. “Go away, baldy!” 24 Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them. 25 From there Elisha went to Mount Carmel and finally returned to Samaria.

In this passage, we see that there are consequences to the mocking of God’s prophet, Elisha. They are devoured by bears. Some might see it as coincidental. But to mean their death is symbolic of what happens to people when they never repent of their unbelief in God. God may be standing in front of them through His people but they ignore Him, make fun of Him, behave as if He is a figment of overzealous imaginations. They pride themselves in their evolution beyond the God of the universe.

Yet, Jesus shouts from the cross that He loves them. He asks the Father to forgive them for they know not what they do. That’s the thing this morning for me. We, as Christ followers who have been saved by grace, know the consequences that awaited us in the absence of God’s grace and mercy. We have stared at the pits of hell from the cliff and know that it was where we deserved to go. We know that hell is real and not some figment of our imagination. However, our mockers do not know their own fate in the absence of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Should we get in shouting matches with those who disagree with us about our faith? Or should we be heartbroken as Jesus hanging on the cross asking the Father to forgive them for their ignorance and pride! Should we write people off who mock us? Or should we cry for their souls? Should we disassociate ourselves from the world that is heading headlong to hell and doesn’t even realize it or should be shed tears for them and try to help them open their eyes? Shouldn’t we be a people who seeks to show love to those are unrepentant in their sins because we know their fate in hell and they do not?

Their sins are eventually going to maul them like the bears did the mockers in this passage. Their sins will maul them in the absence of Jesus. How much do you have to hate someone not to get upset at the thought of them being separated from God for eternity in hell and sentenced there because no one cut throw their pride to reveal the true gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot write off those who mock us because Jesus never did? Jesus never gave up on us and we should never give up on them. We should always shed tears for those who are far from God and mock us to our faces? It sounds hard and it is. But we owe no less to our Savior who did the same for us!

Amen and Amen.

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