2 Kings 2:23-24 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you baldhead!” they said. “Go on up, you baldhead!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD.
I find myself concerned about what the Japanese members of this church are going to think in reading this passage, because the Japanese translation specifies “little children,” rather than “youths.” I’ve been interested in this passage for some time, and though I’m no Hebrew scholar, what I’ve read indicates that for once, the NIV is more accurate. With the “youths” translation, the image comes to mind of the “knockout gangs” that are a problem in several US cities right now, where several young men will arbitrarily pick on someone to beat them up, sometimes to death. With that image, Elisha’s response seems quite understandable. You could say that it was the equivalent of pulling out a large-caliber concealed weapon! The point is, the Name of the Lord was indeed his protection, and in this case, the best defense was a good offense. I doubt Elisha felt any personal animosity toward these people, however old they were, but this was a strong lesson in “Don’t mess with the prophet of the Lord.” That said, it would seem that Jesus’ methods were somewhat different, as when He simply walked through the mob that was ready to throw him off a cliff in Luke 4.
I’ve not been in a situation of physical danger from others, for my faith or really for any other reason, so I don’t have much emotional connection to this story. However, believers in many countries are not so blessed. At the moment Egypt comes to mind, but there are several other countries as well where some people seem to think it’s open season on Christians. I am to pray for such believers, and for a spirit of enlightenment and repentance to fall on those who are persecuting them. Above all, I am not to shut my ears and my heart to their cries, particularly when the Internet makes it possible to know of their suffering. If I fail to pray, I have no excuse.
Father, there is so much I could pray about that frankly I get burned out. Forgive me. That’s evidence that I’m praying from merely human motivation. Help me be fully open to Your Spirit to pray through me, especially for my brothers and sisters undergoing persecution. Doing that will certainly put my own difficulties into perspective! May I be the instrument You desire, to accomplish Your will in Your way, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!