Have you ever felt alone, or nearly so, as one of God’s chosen people? Not “chosen” as in having been perfected, but chosen as opposed to not yet having been called? It is not at all unusual to feel alone, the farther and farther the way of this world veers away from God’s righteous path.
We realize that as the knowledge and fear of God decreases, the more ludicrous “the way” will look to those who no longer choose to retain God in their knowledge. That understanding carries with it the reality that keepers of the way will become more and more ridiculed and persecuted as time goes on. Christ said, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20). Such an atmosphere could, if we allowed it, cause us to fear men rather than God and thereby feel alone.
Elijah went through this feeling of aloneness. Interestingly, it was immediately after God had performed mighty miracles through him. 450 prophets of Baal were slaughtered at Mount Carmel after God sent fire down to consume the sacrifice that Elijah had prepared before the people. But when word of this reached Jezebel and she issued her dire threat to him, Elijah ran for his life. He was, after all, in his own eyes the lone remaining God-fearer in Israel.
Elijah did, in fact, live in a very spiritually perverse society in Israel during Ahab and Jezebel’s time. In his mind, his work was done. It seemed pointless to go on when no one seemed to respond to God’s authority and law. And yet, upon reaching Mount Horeb after a 40 day journey, God said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It was a very kind admonition from God, as if to tell him that his work was to go on despite what he, Elijah, could see.
Living in our present culture, where godlessness is loudly and often violently proclaimed, it is not at all difficult to see how those who still believe in God might choose to remain silent in their beliefs. We can find ourselves feeling very much like Elijah did. God, however, had more for Elijah to do. “Then the Lord said to him: ‘Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. 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 19:15-18).
God, likewise, has more for us to do both individually and collectively. Like Elijah, we cannot limit our thinking to ourselves simply because we don’t see the fullness that God sees. And like Elijah, we dare not forget that God has promised to never leave us or forsake us. Our individual work of living an example and the Church’s work of preaching the truth will be ongoing until Christ’s return, because there are many whom we don’t necessarily see that still believe in God.
We are not alone!