From Genesis to Revelation the unseen power of God is manifested in a divine person, the Holy Spirit. The pristine power of God is Spirit. We read in Genesis 1:2, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Please note that Spirit is capitalized.
This is the first formal introduction of the person of the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity. The Holy Bible reveals one God but three perfect and distinct personalities.
It has always been difficult for carnal man to understand the ministry and the mighty personal power of the Holy Spirit. Selfish man understands might and power only too well when natural elements are visibly and tangibly unleashed. But God’s Word consistently cries out, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts” (Zech. 4:6).
It seems that Elijah had few earthly friends, but one heavenly companion whose friendship he would not trade for anything that the world had to offer. If Elijah had lived in present-day society, I am sure he would have been considered an eccentric and a recluse.
But Elijah had a secret. He knew the person and power of the Holy Spirit as few living mortals have ever known Him. Elijah knew great eternal truth hundreds of years before it was recorded in the canon of Holy Scriptures—namely, that the friendship of the world is enmity against God.
The established world order of that day looked upon Elijah as an enemy, but he knew the friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Elijah served as a mighty prophet of God for about 10 years during the reign of Ahab, king of Israel. Now, Ahab was a very wicked king who introduced Baal worship into Israel and is subsequently known as the king that made Israel to sin.
One day, Elijah appeared suddenly upon this idolatrous scene and had his first meeting with Ahab (1 Kings 17:1). Elijah delivered his brief message, that for several years there would be neither rain nor dew upon the land except by his prophecy, and as suddenly as Elijah had appeared, he was gone.
The Holy Spirit not only kept Elijah hidden from the king for three years but also miraculously provided for Elijah’s needs during the terrible drought and famine.
To the world, Elijah must have seemed like a vagabond. To King Ahab, he must have seemed like a religious old fanatic.
At their first encounter, Ahab probably paid little attention to the prophet’s words, but when they met for the second time, about three years later, I believe the king must have trembled at the sight of that rugged, hairy old prophet.
This time Ahab didn’t regard Elijah’s words lightly nor try to argue the case, but immediately, he carried out his orders to the letter.
Elijah’s encounter with the prophets of Baal is well known (1 Kings 18:25), and, of course, resulted in a mighty revival in Israel.
Not only was Elijah a mighty man of God, who when he prayed, God answered by fire (1 Kings 18:37–38), but he was also an uncanny prophet.
It had not rained in Israel for three and one-half years. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and yet Elijah advised Ahab to go eat his dinner in a hurry and make his journey back to the palace at once, or else be caught in a cloud-burst (1 Kings 18:41–46).
Elijah gave Ahab a head start and still arrived in Jezreel before him. Ahab was riding in his chariot pulled by his swiftest horses. Elijah was on foot. But the hand (or Spirit) of the Lord was upon him, and he outran the horses.
Do you need any more proof that Elijah was God’s man and knew the Holy Spirit intimately as friend? Did an angel ever cook breakfast for you? One did for Elijah! An angel not only cooked breakfast for Elijah, but dinner, too (1 Kings 19:5–7).
The reason is evident in verse 8, “And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meal forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.”
The Holy Spirit must have dictated the recipe. As one of Christ’s precursors, Elijah’s marathon reminds us of the temptation of Jesus when He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil 40 days and 40 nights (Luke 4:2).
When Elijah’s ministry was finished, God sent a fiery chariot, with horses of fire, to carry him bodily into heaven; and I do not believe Elijah was frightened at this awe-inspiring sight, for doubtless the Holy Spirit was driving that chariot.
From all the evidence, we must conclude that Elijah knew the Spirit of God intimately and personally. And yet, any born-again believer can know a closer walk with the Holy Spirit than did Elijah.
You say, how can this be? Since Jesus died on the cross and rose triumphant from the grave, the redeemed in Christ have a more perfect standing before God and a special relationship to the Holy Ghost. After the perfect atonement of Christ for sin was wrought on Calvary’s tree, and He had ascended back to the right hand of God Almighty, God sent the Holy Comforter in answer to the prayer of God the Son, to indwell every believer (John 14:16–-17).
Before Calvary the Holy Spirit came upon certain individuals for prophecy and mighty miracles, but He never came to abide until Pentecost.