Study from God’s Word… 2nd Kings 2: 1 – 25; 2nd Kings 4: 1 – 44; 2nd Kings 8: 1-2; 2nd Kings 6: 1-7 … Passage for Reflection: 2nd Kings 2: 23 – 14 … NIV 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.
My Journal for Today: Today’s highlighted Old Testament story is an interesting – and curious one; and as Dr. Smith, the editor, who BTW is bald, says feels right for all those times when bald people hear those “bald jokes” and have no way of getting back at those who have jeered those, as Dr. Smith refers to, as “follicly challenged.” But it does seem a bit excessive that Elisha would call down God’s wrath upon a bunch of bullies who were jeering him and calling him a “baldhead.” But Dr. Smith is right. When you read the context of this passage, we see that the young men were actually jeering Elisha as a servant of Elijah, who was missing in action, having just been taken up to heaven in a chariot in a whirlwind. And Elisha was simply showing the people, through these misdirected boys, that God was not to be mocked and that he, Elisha, had been given a double portion of God’s power as promised by Elijah.
But it’s still a good idea to remember that it’s not wise to make fun of anyone’s weakness, such as baldness. And if you go to the web and see a picture of F. LaGard Smith, you’ll see why he felt that way.
[For those who follow this old warrior by reading here, see the enclosed picture of Dr. Smith to show why he’d feel vindicated by the “baldhead” reference in today’s devotional entry.]
Personally I’ve been taken by the devotion which Elisha, the mentee, had for his mentor, Elijah; and how after Elijah was carried away into heaven, leaving Elisha alone to carry the torch of prophesy from God, Elisha experienced an increase of spiritual power over that Elijah had exhibited on earth. Dr. Smith pointed out that Elisha was chronicled to have performed more than twice the number of miracles as did Elijah in the Old Testament. To me this shows the power of mentoring in the life of men of God, aspiring to become Godly men.
I bring this up to reinforce what I just said about the power and effectiveness of Godly mentoring. In my life and discipleship as a Christian, I was blessed to have been mentored by a mighty, yet humble, man of God who was willing to mentor me for about a dozen years. I met with him weekly for about 8 years, which became biweekly for the last 4 years of our relationship. And this man of God did all he could to help me become a Godly man, helping me to find the path God lays out for all Christians in/through the Bible; and “Dr. Bob,” a retired physician, was like a drill instructor for me as he took me through a Christian bootcamp and then trained me to be a swordsman for God’s army. And finally he helped lead me into leadership in my church, grooming me to become an Elder, which is a reality now, and truly a “God story,” when you realize where I came from as an atheist and angry sinner some 25+ years ago.
My friends, stories like the Elijah – Elisha story in the Old Testament and the Paul – Timothy story in the NT, resonate with me; because I’ve seen how the power of a mentor can be passed to the mentee and God can be glorified when this process is activated. My mentor, “Dr. Bob,” took me from a dark past into the light so that I could find God’s path; and he led and shepherded me as a lamb of God to become a stronger lead sheep in God’s flock. And I can only hope that any reader of what I’m saying today has either had a Godly, strong mentor or is in the process of praying for and finding such a Godly shepherd.
Maybe God imparted to you His strength and clear direction individually without a mentor, as God certainly is capable of doing. But I maintain that cases like Joseph in the OT or the Apostle Paul in the NT are rare, having been anointed with God’s power as leaders, without the need of a mentor. Most of us, however, require someone to lead us through the minefields of life because we just need to learn from someone else how to negotiate life’s mines by following first before we learn how to lead others.
That is what the story of Elisha and Elijah tells me; and I declare here my thanks to God for being an Elisha who was led to my own Elijah; and I have now been privileged to become the “Elijah” for several “Elishas” along the way in the last few years.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that You have been glorified as I attempt to be an Elijah for some Elishas, or a Paul for some Timothys, as I traverse through the minefields of life, doing my best to show these men the way … Your way, which was shown to me by a mentor in my past. And I thank you for providing me with a mentor in my discipleship past to give me this ability. Amen