Don’t Feed the Bears
Text: II Kings 2:23-25
Can you imagine reading this story from II Kings in the newspaper? How tragic it must have been for those families, friends, and neighbors to hear about 42 children being torn apart by 2 bears! That community was never the same after what took place on the road from Jericho to Bethel. This calamity was no coincidence. Instead, it was God’s judgment upon these children who chose to ridicule the man of God.
In the past 10 years, there have been fewer than 30 fatal bear attacks in North America. Some bear attacks are completely random and unexpected. Others, however, could have been avoided. Such is the case of a couple in Pennsylvania who tried to keep a black bear as a pet in their backyard. One day while cleaning the cage (with the bear in the cage), the woman was killed by her pet black bear. A woman in Colorado had been feeding black bears from her back porch for ten years. Eventually, one of the bears ripped through the screened-in porch, dragged this woman away, and killed her. Bears have been responsible for the deaths of campers, hunters, fishermen, joggers, hikers, etc. These victims have ranged in age from 5 months to 93 years old.
“Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly” (Proverbs 17:12). As terrible as it would seem to face a wild bear, that is not as destructive as the sin and wickedness that the devil puts in our paths.
In the Christian life, we are seeing many casualties. The devil is using many “bears” to attempt to destroy God’s people. Here are a few bears that will eat you if you insist on feeding them.
4.) Worldly friends
5.) Critical spirit
7.) Misuse of cell phone
8.) Ungodly music
9.) Wicked television programs & DVDs
10.) Misuse of internet
We must be on guard against these bears. We must be “sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).
In our text, there are many lessons that we can learn, but these four lessons below are vital to the success of a Christian young person.
1) No restraint for the children
Have you ever wondered why 42 children were allowed to roam freely? According to the Bible, it appears that these children were outside of the city and away from supervision. These children had no restraints placed upon them. “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). The Bible tells us that Eli’s sons were out of control because he “restrained them not” (I Samuel 3:13).
If you have parents, teachers, and authorities who place restraints on your life, you ought to thank the Lord every day. Those restraints are for your protection. You may not enjoy wearing your seatbelt, but when you are in an accident, you will be so thankful that the seatbelt restrained you from going through the windshield!
2) No respect for the man of God.
Where did these children get this attitude of disrespect? Perhaps they picked up this attitude from their parents. Maybe they got it from their friends. In today’s society, an attitude of disrespect and disregard for authority is prevalent in music, television, and internet. If you don’t want to be eaten by these bears, don’t feed the flesh with a disrespectful attitude towards authority.
Young people ought to love, honor, and respect their parents, pastor, youth pastor, teachers, etc. Don’t become a statistic. These 42 children had no idea that this attitude would eventually destroy their lives.
3) No return to the parents
Unfortunately, these children never had an opportunity to see their parents again. They never again got to say, “I love you” or “thank you” to Mom and Dad. The Prodigal Son came back and made things right with his father, but there is no guarantee that your story will have a happy ending. If you don’t get things right with the Lord and with your parents, your story could end with suicide, prison, divorce, or some other awful tragedy.
4) No reason for us to do the same
When we see the consequences that others have faced, there is no reason for us to do the same. There is no reason for us to feed the bears when we see what the bears have done to others.
A young man by the name of Timothy came from a middle class family in Long Island, New York. After high school, he got messed up in drugs. He moved to the Katmai Coast of Alaska where he lived among the grizzly bears for 13 years. He claimed that he had found his true purpose in life. It was reported that Timothy would sing to the bears. He would crawl on all fours with the bears, and on at least one occasion, he kissed a bear’s nose. For 85 years, no one had been seriously mauled or killed by a bear in this particular area. Treadwell did not carry a gun and was determined that he would not use repellant on these creatures. It was a tragic day on October 6, 2003, when Timothy Treadwell and a friend were killed by a bear. When rescue personnel arrived at the scene, they discovered that the last six minutes of Timothy Treadwell’s life had been captured on an audio recording. This recording is a sobering lesson of the dangers associated with feeding the bears.
When we look around and see those who have fallen into sin, those who have ruined their testimonies, and those who live with regrets, we would be foolish to follow in their footsteps. On the other hand, we would be wise to learn from their example and not make the same mistakes.
As a young shepherd boy, David was able to overcome the bear and the lion that attacked him and his flock. As we strive to please the Lord, may we defeat rather than feed the bears in our lives that are seeking to devour us.