This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.
Quiet is used in the Bible in various ways: silent, not talkative, calm and peaceable. It is used as a noun and as a verb. A search produced more than 50 results for quiet, including quieted, quietness, quietly and quiets. Quiet is required for people to be able to hear important messages. Plans may be thwarted if people do not keep quiet. The sea may be stormy or quiet.
David recognises his limitations and has quieted his soul. Psalm 131:1-2
Elijah and Elisha
Child: If Elijah and Elisha were two of the most important prophets, why are their names not on any of the books in the Bible?
Teacher: Elijah and Elisha were two of the most important prophets. In fact Elijah represents all the prophets and was present at Jesus’ transfiguration. The stories of Elijah and Elisha are told in the history books of the Bible, because their actions affected what happened in the time of the kings of Israel. Not many of their words have been written down.
Be quiet and I’ll tell you a story about Elijah and Elisha.
Elijah was easily recognised because of the clothes he wore. His garment was of hair and he tied a belt around his waist. His cloak was a sign of his power as a prophet.
God told Elijah to anoint Elisha as a prophet to follow him. Elijah found Elisha ploughing a field. There were no tractors in those days. The only sort of power available for work in the fields was manpower and the power of animals. Elisha had twelve ploughs pulled by cattle (oxen, they were called) yoked together in pairs. There were eleven other people working with him and Elisha was driving the twelfth pair.
When Elijah saw Elisha in the field he went to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha went to say goodbye to his parents. Then he returned to the field where Elijah was waiting for him. Elisha killed his pair of oxen, chopped up the yoke and made a fire with it cooking the oxen. The people ate with him, before he set off with Elijah to be his helper. He had made a complete break with his previous way of life.
There are other stories about Elijah before and after Elisha joined him, but the one that is perhaps best known about Elijah and Elisha together is from much later. At the time Elijah anointed Elisha by throwing his cloak around him, the King of Israel was Ahab. Before the well-known story Ahab had died and there had been two other kings, first Ahaziah and then Joram.
Elijah was a prophet, who often knew what God was going to do. He knew that God was going to take him up into heaven in a whirlwind. Other prophets also knew this. Elijah and Elisha had left Gilgal. God had told Elijah to go to Bethel. Elisha argued with Elijah, when Elijah told him to stay where he was. He did not want to be parted from him. Elijah allowed him to accompany him to Bethel.
At Bethel there were a number of prophets. They asked Elisha, ‘Do you know the Lord is going to take Elijah from you today?’
‘I know; be quiet!’
Then Elijah told Elisha to stay there as the Lord was sending him to Jericho. Again Elisha refused to obey Elijah. There were prophets at Jericho. They asked Elisha, ‘Do you know the Lord is going to take Elijah from you today?’
‘I know; be quiet!’
Then Elijah said, ‘Stay here. The Lord has sent me to Jordan.’
Again Elisha refused to obey Elijah. They walked on together.
Fifty of the prophets went and stood at a distance looking towards the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped by the river Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided on each side of them and they walked across the river on dry ground.
When they had crossed the Jordan, Elijah asked Elisha, ‘What can I do for you before I am taken from you?’
Elisha replied, ‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit’.
‘You have asked a difficult thing. If you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours, but not otherwise’.
They were walking along and talking to each other, when suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated them. Elijah went up into heaven in a whirlwind.
Elisha saw this and cried out, ‘My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!’
Then he could no longer see Elijah. He tore his clothes, which was the custom for grieving people and picked up Elijah’s cloak, which had fallen to the ground. He went back and stood on the bank of the river Jordan.
He rolled up Elijah’s cloak and called out, ‘Where is the God of Elijah now?’
He struck the water with the cloak and the waters parted just as they had done before.
He crossed back over to the fifty prophets, who had been watching. They acknowledged that the spirit of Elijah was resting on Elisha. They were not convinced that Elijah had really left.
They offered to go looking for him. Elisha told them not to go, but they went anyway. When they returned to Elisha to say that they hadn’t found Elijah, Elisha’s reply could be translated into modern English as, ‘I told you so!’
Child: So Elisha told the other prophets to shut up at first and, ‘I told you so’ later! I’d be disciplined if I spoke like that!