The Consequences of Evil - II Kings 2:23-25
March 22, 2024, 9:01 AM

23. 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!" 24. 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. 25. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.

Sin has its consequences. It alludes to the spread of evil among the young, the message of judgment, and consequences for sin.

Elisha was God's prophet walking to the town of Bethel. That city was headquarters of idolatry in Samaria. On first glance this can appear to be a story that some naughty boys were calling him names. We might conclude that Elisha’s reaction was an over-reaction by calling a curse upon them and the bears appear and forty-two youths are mauled.

Having read some commentaries, the background leaves a different impression. It appears they are reciting the sentiment of people still choosing Baal over Jehovah. They might be likened to a mob/gang of youth ready to do harm.

The Hebrew word in this passage is more appropriately translated young men, not young children. It is believed they are around 14-20 years old. We would call them a teenaged gang today. Many violent crimes today are committed by young people 14-21 years. We are also seeing many crimes committed by younger children each and every year.

Also consider ‘God's anointed’ meant something. When people ridicule and attack God’s anointed there will be consequences. The city did not want the Word of the Lord. If we will not receive the God’s gracious blessing to cleanse and renew our lives, then instead of love and mercy freely offered, it will be the opposite and will bring judgment and damnation upon us instead of blessing.

Notice the consequence! Elisha called down a curse. The curse is honored by the Lord and some bears come out of the woods and mauled the group. This speaks to us of judgment for sinful actions. These boys were responsible for their actions.

We live in a day when people do not own up to their own responsibilities. We say to ourselves things like "I'm only human." "Everybody does it. When you tell yourself those things then it is time for confession of sin.

Know this that God will never tolerate sin, but He will forgive it. We are under the curse unless we are under His offer of grace. We feel the effects of sin - that is the curse. We are offered the cure for sin - that is forgiveness. If we reject it, we will experience the consequences of our sin and that is the judgment of God.

I look forward to the day when the curse will be removed from the world. For now, Jesus removed it at the cross and makes justification available to all who repent and trust Him.

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness that frees us from the curse of sin.  Thank You for Your Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth, that we might not be deceived or make lightly of Your precepts