Thursday, October 4, 2007

How NOT To Use the Word of God

I am reading the books of 1 and 2 Kings, and there are a few moments in the books that strike me as humorous.

The first comes at 2 Kings, chapter 1. A brief synopsis - yet another worthless king of Israel (Ahaziah of the Northern Kingdom) is coming to his end (he had fallen and couldn't get up, evidently), and he decides to send out some men to enquire of the god Baal-Zebub if he is going to recover. God sends Elijah to meet the men and tell them what the REAL God has to say, and it ain't good. Paraphrase -"Why are you worshipping false gods when you can worship the real God? In any case, you know how sick you are? Well, you're going to die without leaving the bed you're in." How's THAT to cheer up the worthless king, eh? So the men go back and tell him what Elijah said - and the king gets suspicious. "Who told you that - what did he look like?" After they describe the John the Baptist type attire - hair clothes and a leather belt - he says, probably with dread and irritation, "That's Elijah the Tishbite". But, deep down inside he knows Elijah is on the real wavelength, so he sends 50 men and a captain after Elijah to ask him more. When the captain and the men get there, Elijah is sitting on a hill. The captain yells up to Elijah, "Hey! If you're the man of God, come down here - the king wants you."

And now for the fun part - the part I fantasize about (well, kinda, but not really - I'd not want to REALLY hurt anyone, just make them realize they shouldn't mess with me).....

Elijah is sitting on the hill, just gazing off into the distance. Maybe he's praying, maybe he's just vegging. Whatever. He looks over at the captain and the 50 men and he says, ""If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!" Which it promptly does. I imagine Elijah calmly going back to serenely sitting in peace on the hill.

The king, meanwhile, back in bed, gets the report - and sends off another 50 men and a captain, who act just as arrogant and also get consumed by fire.

Finally, the king sends out a third captain and 50 men. This captain is smart - he's heard what happened to the other two, so he shows respect for Elijah, and hence, for God - and asks to be protected, but could Elijah come with them to the king. Elijah goes - and pretty much repeats the same thing he said the first time - "you're toast, buddy. Adios." And this time, the king dies. He had to travel all that way just to repeat what he said the first time. Oh well - the king was probably hoping for something, but I'm not sure what.

I'd LOVE to look at someone who has persecuted me unfairly and, without actually hurting them, put the "fear of God" in them. You know - when I walk by, they shake in their shoes and fall all over themselves trying NOT to insult me because they know my Daddy will get them if they do. I KNOW it doesn't work that way, but I can fantasize, can't I?

The other incident I love is in 2 Kings 2. Elijah has just been translated by chariot into Heaven, witnessed by Elisha. The men who are there (a company of prophets from Jericho) evidently haven't seen what happened - only Elisha, because that was his deal with Elijah. ("Can I have a double portion of your Spirit?" Elijah says if Elisha sees him when he goes up into heaven, then his request has been granted. So Elisha sees something that, evidently, others don't so that he'll know he has been granted a double portion of Elijah's Spirit.)

So after the dust settles, Elisha picks up the cloak that Elijah left behind and uses it to part the Jordan so he can cross over dry. As he approaches the prophet group, they suggest that perhaps they should go and look for Elijah - maybe God picked him up and set him down somewhere in the vicinity. Elisha says no.

Here's the part I like - they keep bugging him and insisting that they should look for Elijah. Elisha gets annoyed and tells them to go ahead. When they report back that they can't find him, Elisha says, "Didn't I tell you not to go?" Sheesh. That made me laugh out loud.

And here's the best one. The one that reflects what life is like today. Elisha is walking along (in 2 Kings 2:23) toward Bethel when a bunch of "youths" - read teenage hooligans - are walking along toward him, making fun of him. They call him , "baldhead". They say, "go on up, baldhead". You can translate that into any number of jeers that you would hear today instead. What does Elisha do? Does he cower in fear? Does he whip out his cell phone to call police? Does he wish he had a gun with him? Does he wish he had a large pit bull? Nope. Here's the quote from the Bible - "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 youths. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria."

That'll teach THEM - 42 of the youths got mauled by bears. If there is one thing I have learned here - Elijah and Elisha didn't mess around. Too cool.

That's my fun Bible stuff for today.


Anonymous said...

How's your dad?

Susan Humeston said...

He's kind of in limbo. He's not very aware, but sometimes he is. He eats and sometimes he doesn't. We're waiting for a review of his "case" to see what the next steps might be....

Susan Humeston said...

And by the way - thanks so much for asking. That means a lot.

Anonymous said...

Praying for you and for him.