Although this book is not a new one, it was new for me. I have been familiar with many of the teachings of Dr. Charles R, Swindoll, but this was my first voyage into the literary pages of this theologian. As his fifth book in the Great Lives Series, I found myself particularly drawn to the life of Elijah and had a great desire to see the depths to which this scholar would go to peel back the layers on the life of this prophet of God.
In Elijah: A Man of Heroism and Humility, Dr. Swindoll begins his commentary with the analogy of the unusual nature of a man in relation to heroism and humility, pointing out how Elijah appears much like Confederate General Robert E. Lee. He noted that he is the type of biblical character, for all of his greatness, somehow is overlooked when it comes to certain aspects of his personage. One way in which he illustrates this is found in the book of Hebrews, where the writer of Hebrews acknowledges the heroes of faith, yet Elijah is not mentioned by name among those that are there; yet Dr. Swindoll concludes that Hebrews 11:35 seems to be a subtle reference to the prophet, given that he was a prophet through who a woman received her dead son back unto herself alive after placing him in the hands of the prophet.
Interestingly enough, it is in that recounting of Elijah’s encounter with that woman that Dr. Swindoll demonstrates both Elijah’s heroism and his humility. The humility to be able to deal with her at the very point where she seemingly blames him for the death of her son, as well as his heroism in saving his life and his earlier encounter where she and her son were saved from the famine.
Dr. Swindoll truly gives great and valuable insight into the life of Elijah as a person who showed great heroism and humility in the midst of great turmoil, tragedy, and danger to his life. His ability to show how Elijah was a man who faced a crucible to become the person that God could use makes me appreciate him even more. Although I’ve never had the privilege to serve in the military, I cannot help but feel the intensity of what it must have been for Elijah to face all he faced in his life when Dr. Swindoll references things such as the advanced training he received of God at Zerephath.
While overall I enjoyed this particular book, I did however find that much of it seemed to be disjointed in some of the early chapters. Yet, the further you get into the book, it seems to gel together nicely and you begin to see that some of the earlier parts that seemed to not fit help to make what comes later make more sense.
I’d say that this book is for the avid scholar who is looking for a more in depth study of this prophet. It’s would also be great for anyone who would like to have a different look into the life of someone with unique leadership qualities, and an character that enabled him to face very challenging times. If you’re someone who has found understanding the why’s of the things that Elijah did in his life, this book will give you a distinct aspect for your consideration. I’d recommend this as one that you’d find worth your time, and worth sharing or incorporating into your book club or bible study.
QUESTION: Have you considered Elijah as a man of heroism or humility? In what areas did you see it and how has it challenged you as a person?
- Elijah and the Still, Small Voice (algemeiner.com)
- Encounter with a Prophetic Word (witnessrunner.wordpress.com)
- The Lord Wins (nineyearbible.wordpress.com)