This is the story of Elijah’s last days on earth. He’s one of the great prophets of the Lord. Along with Moses, Elijah can be seen on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13), speaking with and encouraging Jesus in His last days. Two great Old Testament characters, side-by-side with God’s Messiah!
In 2 Kings 2 we’re with Elijah, and his successor Elisha, travelling from Gilgal, a small town in Israel where big things happen. In Joshua 5, we read that it’s at Gilgal that Israel renews its covenant promises with the Lord; and where Samuel anoints Saul as the first King of Israel (1 Samuel 11).
Elijah, on his way to Bethel, tells Elisha to stay behind in Gilgal. Elisha knows, he’s been told many times, that Elijah is living on borrowed time, soon to leave this earth.
Elisha is heartbroken, anticipating the death of his great friend and mentor. Elijah has been like a father to him. The group called ‘the company of the prophets’ keeps repeating what Elisha does not want to hear–‘…do you not know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?’ (v.3).
Elisha shouts back, hoping to shut them up–‘Yes, I know, but do not speak of it’ (v.3). I wonder if Elisha is feeling that if this group would only keep quiet, maybe it won’t happen? Nothing will come of it if he buries his head in the sand.
What does Elijah do next for Elisha? Sensitively, he lets him go along with him for as long as possible, allowing him to say whatever is on his mind and heart. Doesn’t scold or belittle him for some lack of faith. No. He lets him be. Allows him to work it through. Stays with him until…
Elijah trusts that the Lord will do for Elisha what he himself can’t. He steps aside. Trusting God.
Is there someone in your life that you need to simply be with, allowing them to work through with the Lord what needs His attention? Being a friend who keeps his mouth shut? Not all the time, but probably more than I’ve done in my life.
How many times have others stood by me, trusting God to work in my life? Keeping their ‘good’ advice to themselves? Not many, sad to say. Hardly anyone. On one hand… not counting all the fingers either. Most could care less about anyone else… but themselves.
But maybe I could be a good friend to someone today? You too? Can’t leave you out! Let’s do it!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the example of Elijah. May I know when to speak up and when to keep quiet. In Jesus’ name. Amen.