Just finished Chuck Swindoll’s book on Elijah. This is book number five in his series “Great Lives from God’s Word”. I’m kind of a Swindoll fan as his radio program was a key part of forming my faith and beliefs in the early years of my Christian walk. Combine that with Elijah being a “kick butt, call fire down from heaven, Ultimate Fighter” kind of prophet and I was really looking forward to this one.
This particular book chronicles Elijah’s life from a slightly different perspective though. We may know about his strength through the Mt. Carmel Incident, we may know about his weakness from the Gentle Breeze Episode. However, what Swindoll does so well in this book is to take those episodes and the whole of Elijah’s life and look not at the heroism of Elijah, nor at his “human weakness”, but at the genuine humility of Elijah. He presents him in such a way that we see how easy it would be to get puffed up and full of pride at the mighty way God was using him – and the way others reacted to his very presence, and contrasts that to the way Elijah really responded. All the while tying in life applications.
From Elijah’s early years hiding out by a brook, waiting for God to provide him food via “crow delivery” as a boot camp in trusting God, to the very end when he was taken up in a fiery whirlwind, the process was a constant building and shaping. Each subsequent victory building on the faithfulness of the past. Many of the things that God called Elijah to do had less to do with the task at hand (rebuking pagan worshipping leaders for example) and more to do with forming the relationship between Lord and prophet. Which at the end of the day, is still the way it is now. God doesn’t “need” us to get something done. He uses us – if we are willing and obedient – and in that process shapes us to be who He really intends.
The book ends with a great summary of Elijah’s life and how, even though it was centuries ago, his responses and subsequent actions can be imitated today. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time to come.
Next stop: Max Lucado’s Fearless.