contending with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and proving to the
people the power of God, Elijah was forced to flee from the wrath of
Jezebel. He then spoke to the Lord at Horeb about what was troubling
he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the
Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’
He said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for
the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars
and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they
seek my life, to take it away’”
(1 Kings 19:9-10).
had just been a part of a decisive victory for the Lord over Baal on
Mount Carmel. But despite this, he was in such a depressed state that he
wished the Lord would take his life
(1 Kings 19:4).
He was focusing on the challenges, hardships, and persecution before
him, while being convinced that there was no one else who was of
like-mind, striving to serve the Lord.
Christians, we may also feel isolated from others and, as a result, face
what seems to be a daunting task of enduring the hardships that will
come for servants of God
(2 Timothy 3:12)
without aid, comfort, or encouragement from others. We may feel
as though we are alone in standing for the truth while everyone around
us seems to be compromising, apostatizing, or wholly apathetic about
contending for the faith. During such times, it is important to remember
a few points.
with us – Elijah knew that God was with him, from the answer by fire on
Mount Carmel (1
Kings 18:36-38) to the food and water that was miraculously
provided him while he fled from Jezebel
(1 Kings 19:5-6).
We can be encouraged knowing that the Lord is with us as well and will
not forsake us
(Hebrews 13:5-6). Even if God is the only one with us, we do not
need to despair. Paul said, “If God is for us, who is against us?”
become more of a target – Being alone (or appearing to be alone) made
Elijah an obvious target as his enemies sought his life. We know that
“all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”
(2 Timothy 3:12).
But one who is (or appears to be) alone makes an especially attractive
target for the enemies of Christ. The wise man spoke of the strength of
numbers and, by implication, the vulnerability of isolation: “And if one
can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three
strands is not quickly torn apart”
are others who are faithful – The Lord told Elijah that there were
“7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal”
(1 Kings 19:18).
The fact that Elijah was unaware of such faithful individuals did not
mean they did not exist. Just because we may not be aware of such
faithful brethren, that does not mean that there are not others who are
striving to serve the Lord, live holy lives, contend for the faith, and
follow the pattern found in the New Testament.
(and must) remain faithful – Elijah was faithful when he was alone
against the prophets of Baal
(1 Kings 18:22).
He was still “zealous for the Lord”
(1 Kings 19:9),
even though he was isolated from other like-minded brethren. Isolation
may make our lives more difficult, but it does not make our service to
God impossible. God’s commandments for us are “not burdensome”
(1 John 5:3).
He expects us to remain faithful to Him, despite difficult circumstances
we have plenty of like-minded brethren around to provide encouragement,
or we are (or feel like we are) alone to face the challenges before us,
we are able to handle whatever might come. Remember what Paul wrote:
temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is
faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you
will be able to endure it”
that God is faithful. Therefore, we know that we can handle every
challenge, difficulty, or temptation that might otherwise lead us give
up our faith in God. Rather than falling in the face of life’s trials,
we can (and must) endure and become complete
Do not lose heart! Continue to serve God in faith and you will be
rewarded by Him in the end (Revelation
2:10; 2 Timothy 4:7-8).
The Booing Spectators
The Consequence of Confusion
Seven Faces of Failure