2 Ki.2:23-24 "And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. (24) And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." Today's meditation will be somewhat different (longer, too). It is intended to be more of an editorial, a sounding-off. It was occasioned by an incident in the supermarket this week which both stirred my anger and wounded my heart. While on a vital "hunter-gatherer" expedition, I was wilily exploring the produce section at the local Kroger's Supermarket with delight, in awe at the abundance of the fruit of the ground there for man's health. My primitive instincts had apparently led me to the headwaters of the river of life in the Garden of Eatin', where the closest thing to thistles or thorns was a small eruption of disgusting parsnips and some chocolate bunnies. I had successfully harvested a few bushels of this bounty when my cornucopian ecstasy was disrupted by a fellow hunter-gatherer of the female variety. She had apparently just come from the post-Flood portion of the store (Gen.9:3-4), since she had in her cart a captured pair of squirming six-year olds (presumably, like lobster, they must be kept alive until cooked). They were "certain food fellows of the baser sort" (with apologies to Acts 17:5). With nary a consideration to competing traffic, she plowed her cart into the tomato section with a savageness that would make a wolverine wither and proceeded to test the composition of the Heirlooms and Better Boys. It was at this point when her captives opened their mouths and it was as this point when any good mother bird should have recognized this as a chick's plea for food and subsequently stuffed potatos in their gaping maws. That would have prevented what followed: the chicks, their airways unimpeded by Russets, broke forth into song and this is where the lighter side of my jaundiced meditation ends. The children in that cart (for reasons I can only attribute to reprobation and/or ill-breeding) in unison started calling on the name of the LORD with an irreverence that was frightening. Three times (and with ascending volume) they screamed, "JESUS CHRIST," punctuating their blasphemy with snickering and facial contortions. After the second heinous huzzah, I glared intensely at the woman (whether guardian or mother I know not) who then made a feeble attempt to stifle them. They only paused long enough to take a deeper breath and then let out with the loudest "praise" of all, but cut it short as they realized that I was approaching them with my eyes fixed on theirs. I realize that in the age of sensitivity and political correctness (and where children are almost worshipped), what I then did might invite trouble. But if the name of the Lord Jesus Christ before Whom every knee shall bow (Phil 2:9-11) has not an honor worth defending, then I might as well become a heathen or a rabbi. Without getting so close as to put anyone in fear of bodily harm, I sternly told the children that if they were mine I would have washed their filthy mouths out with soap (an instructive sanitary procedure my mother taught me). I suppose that something along the lines of a compassionate critique or an invigorating sermonette might have been in order, but I defaulted instead to my spiritual gift: meanness. The mouths of these unruly talkers were nonetheless stopped (c/w Tit.1:10-11) and their captor dumbfounded, who then proceeded to the checkout briskly. Children are an heritage of the LORD and the fruit of the womb is His reward (Psa.127:3); the home that has them not is missing great joy, great blessing. The Lord Jesus Christ made a special point of including them in His blessings and ministry, even using a little child as an example of humble, trusting receptivity unto conversion (Mat.18:1-5; Mar.10:13-16). Little children who believe in Christ have their own special angels and dire consequences await the person who offends them (Mat.18:6-10). But children come into this world with a sin nature (Psa.51:5). They go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies (Psa.58:3) and, if not given liberal doses of Vitamins R (Religion), N ("No!") and B (Beatings, Pro.23:13-14) with nurturing love, they are liable to also speak blasphemies. "Foolishness is bound in the heart of the child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him" (Pro.22:15). A child's first driving lesson should be with a hot rod. Godly fear and reverence should be instilled in children: reverence for parents (Eph.6:1-3) and for the God Who gave them life and with Whom they have to do (Heb.4:13). In our featured text (which speaks of the prophet Elisha), the wrath of God fell on certain "precious little ones" who had obviously not been trained up in the way in which they should go, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Pro.22:6; Eph.6:4). Bethel was a place of idolatry (1 Ki.12:28-29) and where false gods are worshipped, false principles of conduct flow and the messenger of God is unwelcome. Hence, the scornful derision. The chances are strong that the Kroger Kreatures learned by example to blaspheme. A home whose gods are Self, Secularism and Sin is not a place where Jesus Christ, the holy "Messenger of the covenant" (Mal.3:1) is welcome and His name is likely to be made light of or evil spoken of by the parents. Woe unto them! And, it may not go well for the children, either. How many parents have seen the godless upbringing of their children come back to haunt them in the form of rebellion, violence, sexually-transmitted diseases or an untimely death from drugs? A pair of she-bears would be more merciful. I reckon, though, that "the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Luk.9:56 c/w Mat.18:11) and I would welcome the opportunity to address those youngsters again. I could tell them that the name they were mocking was that of the Wonderful Creator Who made all things, Who owns all things and Whom they shall certainly meet face to face. I could tell them that He loved sinners so much that He suffered and died on their behalf, and that there is "none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That is a name not to be blasphemed but blessed, not ridiculed but revered and He is ever ready to show mercy even unto blasphemers who did so ignorantly in unbelief (1 Ti.1:12-13).