Summary: Part 2 of a series of sermons inspired by the book "Bad Kids of the Bible and What They Can Teach Us" by Thomas J. Craughwell.
BAD KIDS OF THE BIBLE: SHELOMITH’S SON
Text: Leviticus 24:10 – 23
Although I don’t really want to do it, I feel led to share something about myself that I am completely ashamed of. Back several years ago, when I taught eighth grade at McKell Middle School, I had a class of boys that were every teacher’s nightmare. If I remember correctly, there were 19 boys in the class, and 18 of them were troublemakers. One boy had been taken from Wurtland Middle School and placed in my class because he had assaulted his teacher. One student had been in several juvenile detention facilities before coming to my class. There were too many of them to separate them, and they all knew how to press my buttons. That class of boys is the reason I quit my job at McKell.
I can’t remember exactly how it all came about, but one day I caught one of the students trying to do something that he shouldn’t. The student started to argue with me, and I was at the end of my rope. He TOLD me that he was going to leave my classroom, and in a fit of anger, I said, “I don’t care if God Himself tells me to let you out of here, I am not letting you go!” As soon as I said that, my heart sank. I was convicted immediately. Later when I cooled off, I asked God to forgive me for what I had said, and I believe that He did, but I think about that incident often.
Maybe you have said something like that, and regret what you’ve done. The young man in today’s Scripture said something that was so offensive that he was put to death for it. His story actually begins way back in the book of Genesis, over 400 years earlier.
If you will remember, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous of him, and told their father that he had been killed by a wild animal. Years went by, and Joseph went through a series of ups and downs, eventually ending up in prison. While he was there, he made friends with Pharaoh’s butler, who was also a prisoner. One day, the butler was released and restored to his position in Pharaoh’s court.
We don’t know how much time passes, but one night, Pharaoh has a couple of dreams that disturb him. He tries to get someone to interpret the dreams, but no one seems able. The butler remembers that Joseph had this ability, so he tells Pharaoh, and Pharaoh has him released from prison. God gives Joseph the ability to interpret the dreams, and he tells Pharaoh that there will be seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh promotes Joseph to be second in command in Egypt, and he oversees the gathering of food in preparation for the famine.
Seven years later, the famine begins. Back in Israel, Jacob and his sons are starting to get hungry. Jacob hears that there is food in Egypt so he sends his sons there to bring back something for them to live on. They go and do as their father requests.
You know the story. Joseph recognizes his brothers, and eventually the entire family moves to Egypt so that they can survive during the famine. That’s where the book of Exodus begins.
Exodus 1:6 – 14 says, “ And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.  And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.  Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.  And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:  Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.  Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.  But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.  And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:  And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.” Because this new Pharaoh feared that the Israelites would fight against them if war broke out, they made them into slaves, and treated them cruelly.