The Man of God Whose Words Changed History

Date: May 7, 2024

Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.” 1 Kings 17:24


Charles Spurgeon called him “The Iron Prophet!” Ahab, the king of Israel, called him “the troubler of Israel” (1 Kings 18:17). His contemporaries called him things even a great deal less complimentary. His name, Elijah, meant “Yahweh is God,” or “Jehovah is God,” and certainly his life demonstrated that he believed that with no wavering.

Like a hero who appears out of nowhere to rescue a damsel in a burning building, Elijah appears in Scripture with the suddenness of a thunderstorm on a spring day.  But unlike a rain storm that brings relief to a parched land, Elijah’s sudden appearance in the courtyard of the palace brought panic and terror, as he announced that, as the Lord God lived, there would be no dew or rain except at his command.

Then he disappeared and could not be found! But the prophecies of this strange man were a hundred percent accurate. The few brief chapters covering the story of this great man are found in the first and second books of Kings, and they are punctuated with the miraculous, including the remarkable story of Elijah’s being swept into heaven by a chariot of fire at the end of his life’s work, a fitting exodus for a man who was no stranger to the supernatural.

There is a common misconception today that the Old Testament record is filled with marvelous events we would term supernatural, but the fact is that the supernatural events of the Old Testament were remarkable but uncommon occurrences, often separated by many, many years when God was demonstrating the weakness of pagan religions and calling His people, Israel, to repentance and faith. One Bible expositor speaking of Elijah says, “One measure of his stature is found in the fact that he was the man raised up by God at the time that Baal worship threatened the very existence of the worship of Yahweh [God] in Israel. His place in the New Testament also underscores his importance.”

Elijah was to the prophets what Moses was to the giving of the law. Henry Halley offers this tribute to the man, saying, “Elijah’s ‘rare, sudden and brief appearances, his undaunted courage and fiery zeal, the brilliance of his triumphs, the pathos of his despondency, the glory of his departure, and the calm beauty of his reappearance on the Mount of Transfiguration, make him one of the grandest and most romantic characters Israel every produced.”

From these grand words we might assume that Elijah was no less than the iron man Spurgeon alluded to.  Yet the fact is, what made this man so great is that he was human as we are, filled with the same emotions of fear and love, hatred and compassion, and yet had a heart after God that separated him not only from his contemporaries but from the generations of history as well.

Here’s the perspective of James, the half brother of Jesus: “Elijah was a man just like us….” Stop! Just like us? Exactly! Read the story of his life in 1 Kings 17 through 2 Kings 2, and see the highs and lows of a man who experienced the gamut of human emotions. Read how he pled with God to just let him die and fade from the scene. But James continues, “He prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

Elijah is the champion of the common man. He tells me that God will hear my heart cry and will honor the desire of my heart to seek and to serve my heavenly Father with all my faults and failures. Thank God for Elijah, friend, and take heart. The God of Elijah is not dead, nor does He sleep. The God of Elijah is the Everlasting Father who will meet you today. Don’t forget it, not even for a moment.

Resource reading: 1 Kings 17.