Gail Whelan

Biblical Storytelling at Its Best

  • Elijah was a man with passions like ours.” – James 5:17

David Parks, Greenville College-educated author, in his recently published book, The Boy Who Closed the Sky, imagines himself as Elijah, the Prophet, whose story unfolds in the Bible in Kings 1 and 11. Parks makes his prose sparkle and the dialogue crackle as he establishes that Elijah was just a regular guy with close family and a girlfriend.

In 866 BC, when Elijah is 12 years old, he tries to rescue a slave girl. A few years later, he becomes incensed when he sees babies being burned. He is told by God to go to King Ahab. He obeys, not knowing what he is to say or how to escape the guards. The Biblical phrase, “Neither dew nor rain until I say so,” comes out of his mouth when he arrives before the King. He escapes, and there is no rain for 3 years. Elijah’s obedience and faith is enormous and he continues to be the feet and voice of God for the rest of his life. . Parks continual reference to the birds and badgers, the special trees and the ewes bring the story to life. The particular scene where the two ewes, their jaws slowing chewing up and down, while eyeing Elijah and his brother Nathan having an argument is comical. Parks’ sense of humor shines throughout his book.

Knowledge and inspiration to write about the Holy Land came to Parks through study and trips to the Holy Land. At Greenville College, a class in the Geography of the Holy Land and a 3-week trip following college, further inspired him. Years later, he and his beloved wife, Delphine, now deceased, worked at the archaeological dig in Oboth, the Rift Valley oasis where Moses headquartered in 1293 BC (Numbers 21:10). They led tourists around Israel, introduced them to Biblical sites and personally took trips to Lebanon and Jordan. Parks furthered his education at Michigan State, achieving his Masters in Art, as well as a Doctorate in Philosophy. In the 80’s he served in an administorat Jordan College in Cedar Springs, Michigan, as well as teaching creative writing.

Parks and his second wife, Vickie, taught at universities in China for eight years before retiring to the Alabama coast. He has kept in touch with his old friends, co-workers and students in Cedar Springs, including the recently retired Library Director, Donna Clark, and students, Russ and Carolee Cole. By zoom, Parks participates in the writers’ group of the Cedar Springs Library.

He remarked that In retirement, his experiences hovered like a happy bright cloud as he sat on his porch stroking the neighbor’s cat. As he imagined and prayed for the right words, this book slowly, sometimes agonizingly, materialized. He says, “I thought I knew a lot about Elijah. I had looked around his neighborhood in Gilead and climbed Mt. Carmel, coast of Sidon. I had gazed at Mt. Hermon like he did. And for 2 years I drank from a spring where he may have quenched his thirst.” He said, “My impetuous behavior as a boy, and my father’s calming hand, reminded me of Elijah’s home life.” Parks also remarked that he had no illusions of being an accomplished writer at 79 years. This novel disproves his concern. Age seems to have enhanced his effort.

Parks credits the early Free Methodists ministers in Spring Arbor, Michigan, for sparking his young imagination and discovery of the Bible as the living word. The Forward in this first book in a series called Chariot Tales, is by Dr. DeWayne Coxon, who writes “Here is fiction which follows the Biblical narrative of Hebrew history… Jewish, Christian, and Moslem readers – youth and adult – will identify with these scenes.”

Coxon is former President of Jordan College and now President of BlossomingRose, official curator of 55-acre Biblical Tamar Park in Israel, also a non-profit in Cedar Springs, Michigan, offering tours. There are three more scheduled this year along with one in February, 2023 and Hebrew is being taught by Ken Osterman. Email:

The Boy Who Closed the Sky may be ordered from Amazon.

Gail Whelan


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