Thought for the Week - 14th FebruaryPastor Gareth Watkins
2 Kings 2: 12-25
Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.
Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”
“No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.”
But they persisted until he was too embarrassed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”
The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.”
“Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.
Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.
From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.
This passage is part of one of the most famous and incredible verses in the bible; one of the scriptures that you find in the art galleries. As a background, Elisha is taking over from the prophet Elijah. Prior to these verses, he sees Elijah going up in the chariot of fire and asks for a double portion of what Elijah got.
“From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. ‘Get out of here, baldy!’ they said. ‘Get out of here, baldy!’ He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.”
The part I want to draw in on is why God allowed those bears to come out and maul those youths. They were mocking Elisha and God judged them.
That judgement of God is something that happens in both the Old and New Testament. There’s a seriousness if you start to mock the anointed person of God, or start to mock the action of God. In the story of Ananias and Sapphira, we see them stealing from God and lying to the Holy Spirit. They both died because God judged them. These people, in both the Old and the New Testament, did not respect the things of God.
Are we respecting the things of God?
It’s not just respecting the things of God, it’s respecting the actions and movements of God too. Do we respect what gives us and people in our church? Be careful if you struggle with respect, because God is not mocked. In Galatians 6: 7 it says “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” If we start to disrespect God, if we do not respect the man or woman of God, or the action of God or the thing that God has given to us, there is a consequence.
Oftentimes, the church in general has lost its respect. People think they can speak to a minister as they want. They’re overfamiliar with leaders to a point of disrespect. They’re flippant with what God is doing, and are flippant about what God has given to them in their lives. Sometimes people think they can click their fingers and God will come down to do the same again and again. But God is a God who will not be mocked. We are the created being needing to be respectful of God, his ministers, and his things.
Be mindful… are we respectful of the people of God, the things of God and the actions of God?
In this verse, this gang of youths gathered against Elisha, a freshly anointed and appointed man of God who had call of God that was twice the portion that Elijah had. This gang were mocking. It wasn’t necessarily Elisha the problem was with – the problem was with Elisha being God’s man and God’s prophet on this earth. He carried a double portion of what Elisha carried! These people decided to mock the way Elijah went up to heaven. They turned this scenario of the good blessing and outworking of God into a time of mocking and belittling the things of God. They were sarcastically taunting the Lord’s prophet!
Therefore when he called out to God, God brought judgement. It wasn’t necessarily to do with the man being called bald… it’s to do with the fact that they lost their respect and were totally disrespectful to the things of God. And thereby, God judged them. God demonstrated His judgement and He brought these bears.
Does that sort of judgement end there or carry on today? What about us in 2016? Is it okay to mock the things of God? No, we have to be very careful to this day. Disrespect for the things of God, the things we see, and the actions of God in our own heart, carries an effect to this very day. So we have to be very careful. We have to be very careful of what we see, what God gives to unto us, and what we do with it afterwards.
We need to respect the man and the woman of God, the anointing of God, and the things that we see. In some churches they teach about the standards we are supposed to engage in when looking after the man of God. We are called to have respect for the things of God and the things God brings to us week by week.
Be respectful and notice your level of respect.
We need to reflect on what we get from God every week. We need to respect our men and women of God. I’ve seen ministers cry before. Why? Because the weight of the ministry is incredible, the feeling of failing God is incredible, the lack of response from people, the hopelessness, and the weight of a soul. That is the reality of the call of the preacher. These people need our respect and our prayers.
If we don’t respect, then we may end up at the next stage where we end up mocking. Do we see God acting in our own lives, touching our emotions, softening our hearts, and dealing with our upsets? We do! But sometimes, people turn and are flippant as they’re walking through the door. That is disrespectful about what God has given us. We are all accountable for our own disrespectful thoughts and actions.
I see people prosper under God and quietly flourish. God removes the chains that bind. We shouldn’t be disrespectful thinking “things are okay now – I don’t need God now”. Do we still respect God in all aspects of life? Do we turn the wonderful things we hear and see into a watered down version that removes the glory of God from it? Because if you disrespect the things of God, the judgement will come.
Respect has to be worked at times, because the devil will fight you on that ground. The seriousness of is that whilst we have God with us, let’s not spoil things. Let’s do the little things that matter, that the Glory of God might continue with us.