Sometimes I feel absolutely alone.
I feel like I just don't think, act, respond, or understand things like other people do.
It's what makes life difficult, work difficult, and most especially it makes church difficult. Because church is my one huge connection to a world that I want to be a part of.
And yet they all seem to school together like a bunch of well trained fish, while I Nemo myself away from the pack.
I assume that "they" are all right, because that's the whole point of having multiple opinions, is that it helps you get to the right one. Whereas, one opinion all by itself has nothing else to go on. No iron to sharpen it's iron per se.
Despite how wrong some of the above ideas and feelings might be, they are the number one reason why today, when I listened to 1 Kings that, while a lot of it stood out as really interesting, the one thing that really hit me was the number 7000.
You see, when Elijah is standing along at the entrance to his cave and was complaining about how much he loved God and served him and no one else seemed to care, and that what they did seem to care about was finding him and killing him. God said "Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."
God has me numbered. I'm numbered into a group to which I'll one day actually fit in to. Elijah didn't see his group. All he knew was that he felt alone. He knew he felt desperate because Jezebel was trying to kill him. He knew his situation was - not - good.
But the gentleness of God in these verses make me love the Lord all the more, and give me hope that He really still loves me despite my inability to fit into a crowd.
So watch what God does:
He feeds Elijah.
Elijah quite literally runs for his life. Jezebel says "I'm going to kill you" and Elijah takes off running. He goes a days journey If you google it, the general idea is that he walked 20-25 miles. And finally:
"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again." 1 Kings 19:2-6
So Elijah slept, got woke up to eat, and slept again.
What does God do?
He feeds Elijah again.
And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee". And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 1 Kings 19:7,8
Then, once Elijah has made it where he's going:
He lets him vent.
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 1 Kings 19:9,10
You know God knew what Elijah was doing there. God knew he was running for his life. The Almighty wasn't unaware of Jezebel's threat. But he asks Elijah; giving him the opportunity to say what he needs to say.
He shows him that He is powerful enough.
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11,12
He gives him a chance to change his words.
And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 1 Kings 19:13,14
I don't get it. I know I don't. I wish I understood the full magnitude of why God asks Elijah a second time, but I don't. But here's what it means to me. Elijah was serious and 100% dead on about what his problem was. If you ask me twice what my problem is, rarely will I give you the exact same answer. Sometimes, I might give you so completely different an answer it doesn't make sense how I jumped from one problem to another. But I believe Elijah knew his problem to his very core. I believe he was absolutely upset that his heart was so jealous for God yet the precious children of Israel had so utterly forsaken Him, and he now felt utterly alone and his life was in jeopardy.
I'm glad God asked a second time.
He gives Elijah a comforter.
And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.
Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him. 1 Kings 19:15-21
Elijah needed an Elisha.
Sometimes we might need an Elisha.
Sometimes we need to be an Elisha for someone else.
One last impression God leaves us with in these verses, besides the sweetness of Elisha's sudden yet complete devotion.
God is in control.
It doesn't seem like it when the situation is awful, but did you notice Gods wording? "Yet I have left Me seven thousand."
It's not, "I've got seven thousand left." or "They have left me". No. Despite how bad the situation, despite how God-less the situation seems to feel - God is still in control. When the prophets were being slaughtered - God was in control and they didn't kill one more than what He was ok with.
It doesn't sound so pleasant for the prophets that were killed that God was willing to lose them, or count them as "spares" that could be lost - in the game of chess, there are pawns for a reason - but when death means Heaven, it's only something that the people left behind would complain about (aka Elijah) rather than the prophets themselves.
When we run for our lives - sometimes that just looks like moving, and job hunting, and foreclosure, and divorce, and dropping out of school - and tell God "I'm the only one of my kind" ... that's a good time to remember who is in control.
I think I really like this chapter.
13 was really interesting too.