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The Trials of Great Bible Characters (7 of 15)
The Trial of Elijah
Clarence E. Macartney
1 Kings 19:9
Elijah, like John the Baptist, is one of the greatest
men of the Bible, and one of the loneliest. Except for
a brief period at the end of his life when Elisha was
with him, we never see Elijah in the company of other
men. He had no companions, no fellow worker, none to
cheer or encourage him. Only twice in his history do
we behold him in any close human relationship - once
with the widow of Zarephath who entertained him, and
once with Elisha. Like the great prophet who was to
come, Elijah trod the wine press alone.
Elijah comes upon the stage of Israel's history like a
flash of lightning. Great men are the inspired text of
the book we call history. Elijah illustrates the power
of a great personality. Strong personalities are
mighty, either for good or for evil. World War II
illustrated that fact. It was folly to dismiss Hitler,
who inspired and unified a depressed, broken, and
defeated nation and made that nation a curse, a menace
to the whole world, and a fountain of measureless woe,
as a "paper hanger." No "paper hanger" could have done
that! But thank God, great personalities are mighty
also on the side of good. Lone-handed, save for the
word of the Lord, Elijah worked a national revolution
and turned a whole nation back to God.
Jesus said that no man greater than John the Baptist
had been born. The measurement for John was Elijah,
for Jesus said that John did his work in the spirit
and power of Elijah. The highest tribute paid to
Elijah is that when Christ appeared on earth and spoke
His parables and sermons and judgments and did his
healing works, therewere those who took him to be
Elijah. In the wilderness of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus
asked His disciples, "Whom do men say that I, the Son
of man, am?" And they said, "Some say that thou art
John the Baptist; some, Elias [that is, Elijah] ...
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