Be quiet | Mark’s Remarks

I was reading in 2 Kings from the Bible this summer about Elijah and Elisha. 

Confusing names? People mispronounce them and often get them mixed up.  But their story, their friendship, is good reading.

Elijah was a respected prophet, who is famous in the Bible because he was caught up in a whirlwind and taken to heaven. Elisha carried on the ministry of Elijah, performing miracles and gaining the respect of people around him. 

There are still more stories about Elisha, and one of them will be covered next week.

But let’s go back to when Elijah was still on earth and hadn’t yet been caught up to heaven. It was common knowledge among the other prophets that Elijah would one day be “assumed into heaven,” and most of them knew it was soon.

Elisha must have been in quite a predicament. He was used to working closely with Elijah and was not accustomed to not being near him. They were close friends and had a father-son, teacher-pupil relationship. It’s probably safe to say Elisha felt he wasn’t ready to take over the ministry, nor was he ready for a time when his beloved friend would not be near him on earth.  

During one particular trip, when both men were on their way from Gilgal near Jericho, a group of prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha during the trip. You can almost see the group of guys bustling out, tense body language perhaps, with all types of expressions on their faces.

“You know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today, don’t you?” They asked Elisha something he probably already knew.

“Yes, I know,” replied Elisha, “so be quiet.”

When I first read this, I laughed out loud, deciding Elisha was basically saying “I already know.  Shut your mouth.”

Another company of prophets from Jericho went up to Elisha at another point in his journey. Same thing.  

“Yep. Again, I know all about it. So be quiet,” Elisha basically answered.

After this, Elijah told Elisha to stay put while he went on to Jordan. Elisha answered that he wouldn’t leave his friend, so they continued on their journey.

The other prophets must have known what Elisha was going through and how he felt. Yet they seemed to think they still needed to say things like “Hey, do you know that your friend and teacher isn’t going to be around much longer?”  

It’s something we all deal with.

For some reason, there are types of people who are around us in tough times, or even just daily challenges, and they feel they must remind us of  what we are going through. Those types of people seem to almost pride themselves on that type of talk, and they also seem to worry if you aren’t stressed out too or running around wringing your hands. Indeed, I know people who seem to think you have to be all upset and in a frenzy in order to prove that you care about a situation.

Sometimes just being calm is the answer. Being quiet and trying to access the situation. Keeping your mouth shut so things can be figured out.  

And as I said, those folks who like to remind us of trials hate such behavior.

Maybe it was like this for Elisha. Maybe he was fed up with the “just so you know” people and, really, wanted them to shut up.  

Elisha didn’t try to avoid the inevitable. He didn’t stress out. But he did choose to stop and think.

So, he told everyone to be quiet.

How often have you wished you could just look someone in the eye and say, tactfully, “I need to think this through. Would you be quiet for a minute?”

Or have you just wished you had the gall to say “Could you shut up?”

Being quiet when life is challenging. What a novel idea.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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