THE UNNAMED 7,000
“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18 NKJV)
Do you ever look around you at what is going on in our culture and get a bit overwhelmed and (dare I say it?) depressed? If so, you are in pretty good company. The great prophet Elijah did as well. Although he had just faced-off against 450 prophets of Baal and 400 of Jezebel’s priests – despite the reality that he had presided over an awesome, fiery display of God’s power and judgment, he was depressed.
He was so lonely, downhearted, and discouraged that he asked God to take his life. “Just kill me, Yahweh!” The source of this depression is found in verse 10 of 1 Kings 19. “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.” (emphasis mine)
Elijah now finds himself sitting in a mountain cave thinking, “If a miraculous display of fire from heaven cannot bring revival, what am I doing here?” I can relate. I sometimes feel as if my ministry is ineffective and think, “What’s it going to take for people to wake up?” When I observe the endless river of blood from the slaughter of the unborn, and when I become mindful of the tsunami of pornography that washes over our homes, our businesses, and (yes) even our churches, I sometimes experience an Elijah-like funk.
But the question, “What are you doing here?” is significant because that is exactly what God asked Elijah – a rhetorical question to be sure. Then comes the BIG REVEAL! Not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire, but in a still small voice, God informs Elijah that he is not the Lone Ranger of God – not even close. The LORD said, “I have reserved seven thousand in Israel whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
What is interesting to me about the 7,000 is that they are unnamed. None of them have a radio program or TV slot. None of them are pastors of mega-churches or own a business jet. None of them has a book deal with a multi-million-dollar advance (forgive the intentional
anachronism). My point is that there is an unnamed, unnumbered “cloud of witnesses” that God has reserved for Himself in every age – even this one! If Elijah thought it was his prayers alone that brought that fire down from heaven, he was sorely mistaken.
It seems that the point of this for us in the twenty-first century is that there is a host of humble, unknown servants of Jesus Christ that has refused to bow to the god of this age. So, the next time you (or I) are sitting in your cave, thinking, “What’s it going to take?” Fear not. Keep the faith. God’s got this.