So I’m going to start this off by saying I had a little bit of an epiphany tonight involving 1 John 4, 1 John 3 (in that order), and Isaiah 58 (with a side rabbit trail into James 2). I won’t go into them because that would distract from our current study – but it’s really encouraging and comforting to me.
I love how God does that – just when I hit my lowest point and am crying out to Him for help and am wondering – not if He’s with me, because He is, but if He’s let me go – suddenly, epiphany! It’s a reminder from Him that He’s not let me go – that He’s still talking to me.
Kind of like Elijah a few days ago (or was it a week now?) when he was discouraged and wanted to die. Kind of like Elijah in the entirety of chapter 19.
Did I mention this is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible? Because it really truly is.
(NIV1984) 1 Kings 19:15-18 – “The LORD said to him, ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.'”
God is sending Elijah back into Israel, out of Judah, and at first it seems like this is His only response to Elijah’s mistaken heart cry — this “Go back the way you came”. But there’s more to God’s reply than that: Elijah is to anoint the next generation – start the next war. And, looking closely at God’s response, this is a way Elijah won’t be involved in. Either he’ll be retired or dead (or (SPOILER ALERT) take a third option (END SPOILERS)), but either way, he is not one of the ones going around killing people anymore. There’s peace in that.
He just has to endure.
Furthermore, he gets to anoint his successor. Finally he won’t be alone anymore! He’ll have a friend, a companion, a fellow prophet to encourage and remind him how God provides and how not alone he is.
But this is not all – there are seven thousand whom God has reserved – seven thousand in Israel! – who do not and have not ever worshipped Baal. Now Elijah hears it from God Himself that he is not alone and, no, not all of the Israelites are horrible and turned against God. Seven thousand are still reserved.
In this, God proves Elijah wrong, but not in a malicious way. He answers every one of Elijah’s complaints and addresses his concerns. He is faithful.
But is Elijah?
Stay tuned and find out in our next installment! Have a great day, everybody!