the power of words

I finished reading and praying through James this morning and ran into on of those verses that I find hard to believe. I didn't say I didn't believe it, just that I found it harder than some of the others. :)

James 5:17 Elijah was a man just like us.

Sure. Just like us. Stopped rain. Called down fire. I do all these things, most days before 10am. I'm surprised people don't mistake me for Elijah all the time.

OK, seriously, I do none of these things. I'd love to, but I don't. I flipped back to 1 Kings to read over the story of Elijah again to see if there were any similarities that I could find to hang some hope on.

It turns out I am like Elijah...but in a way neither of us are crazy about. In chapter 18, he runs into Obadiah, who works for Ahab as some sort of undercover charismatic prayer crazy. Obadiah tells Elijah that even as Ahab has been killing the prophets, he (Obadiah) has pulled an Oscar Schindler and hidden a hundred of them in a cave somewhere.

Ten verses later, Elijah is calling out the prophets of Baal in the great Burning Man chapter...and as he does it, he says "I am the only one of the Lord's prophets left....". Wait a minute....he knew that wasn't true. Even as he is operating under the power of God for real, he overstates his role. Whaaat?

Of course, the prophets of Baal fail, Elijah calls down fire (and it comes) and then he calls a rain storm (and it comes). Suddenly his life is threatened by Jezebel and Elijah makes like the Bandit to go hide. He enters into a time of horrible despair and begins to believe his own overstatement. He says in 1 Kings 19:10 "I'm the only one left....". Remember, this isn't remotely true.

God reminds him "No, I have 7,000 others just like you, Elijah - they're hidden away but they are there, and you are not alone."

How embarrassing must that have been? To believe your own boasts - even in a moment of victory - always comes back to haunt you.

Maybe Elijah was a man just like me.

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