In his post "Bad Boy Bible Study meets Ship of Fools
" the indefatigable Lingamish
throws a challenge at several of his friends. Since he is doing a series on Bad Boy Bible Study (which incidentally I have tagged to read when I get the chance as it looks like something I might want to point people to for good advice) I guess we are the ship of fools ;)
Before naming his band of fools (a fine role in the mythical medieval court) he wrote about one of the nastiest stories in Scripture 2 Kings 2:23-24. For those of you too lazy to mouseover
the link reftagger
should have made this is where Elisha curses a crowd of teasing boys and some bears maul 42 of them. David
then commands us:
- You’ve been asked to teach or preach on this passage.
- What would you say?
Granted that this week I'm flat out with a busy semester, 40 assignments to mark and more on the way, and the usual busyness of someone trying to buy a home (in Tauranga
not here in Auckland), the first thing I'd say is "I am sorry, I did not have time to prepare properly for this sermon
." Actually I wouldn't as you never
apologise like that in advance, but I'd think it, and David asked for our reactions ;) And in this blogging context it is relevant, you need to remember this is a knee-jerk response not my considered thoughts.
First I'd retell the story, or more likely read it from a good simple DE translation like the CEV
. Then I'd point out that Bible
stories almost never intend us to take their characters as examples. Think 2 Sam 11.
- act like David, forcibly (or at least through abuse of power) take any young woman you fancy
- act like Bathsheba, don't say a word even when such crimes are committed against you
- act like Uriah, be an unreasonable prig
Neither does our story contain examples to follow.
We expect life to be fair - it is not. If there was proportionality in this story, Elisha the "good" prophet would control his temper, the bad boys would be good, and carry Elisha's pack for the poor old baldie
, and above all a good God would not allow bears to attack mischievous but otherwise harmless kids. But life is not fair, get over it! AND (and here is where I would begin really to bring other Scripture into consideration of this passage) pray for the coming of the Day of the LORD
when every sort of wrong and injustice will be put right.
Learn to live in a world "out of joint" (it is that way because of human sin, in which we hold shares) while looking for the coming of a new creation.