GodSpeak for the Week of June 17
“’Get Out of Here, Baldy!’ – Elisha Is Jeered”
We continue this week with our new, recurring series – “Missed Links.” While we have this three-year, assigned reading schedule for worship (called the Lectionary), if we just followed that schedule we would miss important, insightful…even funny…parts of God’s Word. “Missed Link” Sundays will feature these passages of God’s Word overlooked by those who cobbled together the Lectionary.
This week features a passage Pastor Prin has wanted to consider in worship, since he was in seminary. Despite its brevity, it is a most troubling passage. If it’s true (and it is) that – as Paul says: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16) – then, what is THIS PASSAGE doing here? What can it teach us, correct in us?
Day 1…Read 2 Kings 2:23-25
- Consider this – Elisha has just recently taken over the mantle of prophecy from Elijah (who was taken up in heaven in a fiery chariot).
- Answer this – as you read this brief passage, how do you find yourself reacting? What are you thinking? What opinions do you have about the boys, Elisha and God?
Day 2…Read 1 Kings 12:25-32
- Consider this – in this passage, we run across the namesake for our congregation – Bethel.
- Consider this – at this point in Israel’s history, a man named Jeroboam is the leader of God’s people in that part of the Holy Land. He has broken off the northern part of the Holy Land from the southern part. And, as a way to avoid competition with Jerusalem (in the south) for peoples’ worship, he sets up temples in the cities of BETHEL and Dan.
- Answer this – but, WHAT KIND of temples does Jeroboam set up?
- What does Jeroboam even SAY to the people, once these temples are set up (look at v. 28).
- Does what Jeroboam says sound at all like what was said in Exodus 32:4?
Day 3…Read 2 Kings 2:23-25 (focus on the first part of v. 23)
- Consider this – so, right away in this passage, we find Elisha going to Bethel.
- Consider this – in Hebrew, Bethel means “house of God.”
- Answer this – but, what had Jeroboam turned Bethel into?
- Answer this – so, by that reasoning, WHY would Elisha have been going to Bethel in the first place?
Day 4…Read 2 Kings 2:23-25 (focus on the latter part of v. 23 and the latter part of v. 24)
- Consider this – in Hebrew, the word for “boys” can refer to any male child between the ages of birth and 20.
- Consider this – the number of “boys” who mocked Elisha was AT LEAST 42 ! That’s not a FEW boys; that’s a MOB!
- Answer this – it seems reasonable that these boys were from the Bethel area.
- Therefore, what would they have probably been taught to believe…what object would they have been taught to put their faith in?
- Answer this – Elisha is presumably going up to Bethel for what purpose?
- Therefore, what was presumably the purpose of this MOB of boys coming out and mocking him?
Day 5…Read 2 Kings 2:23-25 (focus especially the latter part of v. 23)
- Consider this – the boys mock Elisha by saying: “Get out of here, baldy!”
- Back in the old days, baldness was considered a disgrace and was often used as a putdown among folks in the Greek and Roman worlds.
- Answer this – how does Elisha react?
- What does this say about Elisha’s faith and sense of God’s call?
Day 6…Read 2 Kings 2:23-25 (focus especially on v. 24)
- Consider this – Elisha calls down a CURSE on the boys.
- Answer this – but, what does Elisha CALL DOWN from God – and, as importantly – what DOESN’T Elisha call down?
- Where is the LIMIT of Elisha’s call to God – and, where does GOD take Elisha’s call?
- Answer this – so, at the end of all of this, what does this passage TEACH US about: God, His mission and will, His Law and Gospel?