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TRUST JESUS TODAY
I intend to send this for a women's magazine. Please let me know in detail what are the changes to be made. Let me know if the editor's note is reflected in the body of this article.
“Mom! Did you read the highlights on today’s newspaper?” Cindy’s voice sounded as if it were sent through a megaphone. Her mother reciprocated in the same frequency. “Anything striking?” “Two bears mauled youngsters.” Her voice faded. She settled down on the sofa to read the news in detail. Her mom joined directly from the kitchen with a cup of steaming spiced tea. “Poor kids. How did it happen?” Putting their heads together they read. “Two bears charged out of the underbrush and knocked the youngsters, ripping them limb from limb – forty two in all!”
A saintly man was on his way to Bethel* and some youths (little kids perhaps in their late teens) came out from the same town and taunted him. ‘What’s up, old baldhead! Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead! Out of our way, skinhead!’ The man of God, took one look at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of God whom he served very diligently. Immediately two female bears came out of the woods and mauled them about, ripping them limb from limb – forty two children in all!
“I can’t understand this.” Retorted Cindy. “How can a saintly man pronounce such a curse?” “There must be something more to this. May be it’s not reported. Look at the place where this incident occurred. I think there is a footnote.” Mom suggested. Cindy searched for the information. Mother sipped the tea. “Here it is. Bethel is a city that is well known for idol worship. The inhabitants worshipped the idols of Baals and Asherah. Witchcraft and sorcery were widely practiced in that city. About four hundred people of Baals and four hundred and fifty idol worshippers of Asherah, who also performed magic, witchcraft and sorcery were patronized by Jezebel the queen of that land so much so that these people ate at her table. (For more information go to page No. 14).
Cindy rummaged through the newspaper and found the exact page.
History of Bethel.
There lived a man called Elijah who walked with God. He was the horseman and chariot of the people of Israel. A great struggle prevailed between the idol worshippers and those of the living God in the land of Bethel in those days. About four hundred prophets who served the living God were ruthlessly murdered. Elijah alone escaped the wrath of the king and queen. There lived another man who also feared God from his youth named Obadiah a trusted servant of the king Ahab. He secretly hid about a hundred prophets fifty in each cave and fed them with bread and water. The prophets were thoroughly shaken. They lived in fear holding their breath in their hands.
Obadiah suddenly met Elijah while on an errand along with the king Ahab. He fell on his face, and said, "Is that you, my lord Elijah?" "It is I. Go, tell Ahab – the king, your master Elijah is here." Obadiah politely told him many things. “I risked my life for saving a few. There is also danger in presenting yourself before the king.’ Then Elijah promised. "As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today." Finally Obadiah obeyed. He met Ahab, and told him about Elijah. Ahab went to meet Elijah.
When king Ahab saw Elijah, with authority he uttered these words. "Is that you, O troubler of Israel?" Elijah responded rather bravely. "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.
Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table. So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. Elijah directly addressed the people. "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. "Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. "Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God."
So all the people answered and said, "It is well spoken." Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it." So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us!" But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention. Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name." Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, "Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood." Then he said, "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time; and he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. "Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again." Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!"
And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!" So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.
Queen Jezebel threatened Elijah who challenged and proved that the Lord God of Israel alone is the living God. However, God did not give up on Elijah and he did not see death. Elijah climbed the gates of heaven in a whirlwind and his servant Elisha saw him ascend. Perhaps the sons of the prophets of Baals and those of Asherah also witnessed this.
The forty two children perhaps were the children of prophets of Baal and Asherah who were murdered by Elijah in the brook of Kishon. They were throwing statements at Elisha his servant. “Go up baldhead!” In truth, they meant, ‘Go up Elisha! Just like your master Elijah who went to heaven. Go up you baldhead.” Elisha was facing a mob – the children of the prophets of Baal who were known for their wickedness. Elisha probably wanted to prove the power of the living God and therefore had pronounced a curse on them. It is the Lord’s doing that brought two female bears from the woods and mauled forty-two children who mocked His servant.
“Mom! Now I understand why this man of God pronounced such a curse. There always ought to be a difference between those who serve the living God and those who do not.” “Through this incident, God created fear in the hearts of those idol worshippers and perhaps drew them into his fold.”
Editor’s note: Parents cultivate the habit of respecting all elders in your children even from their childhood days. Do not encourage them criticize the power of God’s Spirit found in the servants of God even in their innocence or ignorance. The wrath of God may fall upon them. Beware!
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