“Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths” (2 Kings 2:23-24).
Elisha was a prophet of peace. His work was to bring life and gladness to the people of Israel. As he was starting God’s important mission, a number of youth came out of the city of Bethel to make fun of him.
The ascension of Elijah had been a sobering event. God had taken His faithful servant to Himself without permitting him to taste of death. The youth at Bethel did not seem to be humbled by the work and ministry of Elijah. And they set out to dishonor Elisha. The young men were moved by Satan, who was seeking to do what he could to lessen the spiritual effect of Elijah’s ministry.
If the mockery of these young men had been permitted to pass unnoticed, the work that God intended to do through Elisha would have been greatly thwarted, and a victory would have been won for the cause of evil. Therefore, the event needed quick and disciplinary action.
Elisha was by nature a man of kindness. But the honor of God’s name must be upheld, and His deeds must not be made the subject of mockery by the impolite and evil youth. A prophet of God must be held in respect and his authority must be maintained. Elisha, under the inspiration of Heaven, pronounced upon them the curse of God.
This judgment came from God. The severity of the punishment was in relation to the seriousness of the offence. God’s messengers are representatives of God, and in showing dishonor to them, men show dishonor to God.
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In His service,
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