As I continue trudging through Kings and Chronicles in my chronological daily Bible reading, it is sometimes hard to focus. This weekend I was in 2 Kings 2 when I came across this verse: “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.’ (v23) I laughed out loud. And then, of course, I had to check it out in other translations. The Hebrew means “bald”. That’s the only word the translations use. I wondered how different our culture would be if that were the worst insult hurled.
It bears saying that Elisha did not “turn the other cheek”. He called down a curse on them and two bears appeared out of nowhere and “mauled” 42 children. Yikes! It seems a bit extreme for someone calling you “bald” especially if you are.
So, I dug a little deeper. The commentaries agree that these were children of Baal worshipers. Children who had been taught disdain for God. Further, they didn’t run into Elisha by accident, nor in a little group. At least 42 kids got together and followed Elisha through town calling him names. They knew who he was and saw him as an enemy to their lifestyle. It wasn’t their insult to his lack of hair, it was the underlying sin that caused Elisha to curse them and God to follow the curse with judgement. Their hearts were wicked.
Always, always, the behavior is secondary to the condition of the heart. Looking around me at the behavior of police officers, mobs in the street, church congregations, politicians and the news media; I wonder at the state of the heart. What do my words and my actions reveal about the condition of my heart?
Thinkin’ about my behavior today and wonderin’ what it said about my heart.