“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 19:10
“Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” — 1 Kings 19:18
Under the Juniper bush, Elijah discovered during his struggle with the feelings of isolation and rejection that he was not alone. God had 7,000 among the millions of apostate Israelites that had not compromised. It was a small percentage, but if they were nearby it would have been a comfort to Elijah. He was trained to face loneliness by the Brook Cherith. He was practically alone at the widow’s house. He was alone when he fought the battle with demonic prophets on Mount Carmel. So why did he feel depressingly alone afterward?
There are at least two reasons that the desperate loneliness gripped his mind. First, as anyone knows that has confronted demons or ministered to numerous spiritually needy people after preaching, one’s spirit can be drained of energy. The virtue (GK. dynamis, power) that goes out of them (Luke 6:19) must be restored by praying and seeking intimacy with God (Acts 1:8; GK. dynamis, power). An enormous drain on Elijah’s spirit occurred in his epic battle. He needed to be replenished—renewed. I have repeatedly experienced that condition and personally know and have ministered to friends that have experienced it.
Second, there did not appear to be a reward at the end of the battle. It seemed as if he had fought in vain. God sent fire upon the water-drenched altar and instead of being accepted as God’s prophet, Elijah was rejected and his life was in jeopardy. On a lesser scale, many Believer has poured out their lives and been harshly treated and betrayed by the very ones they helped the most. In a time of apostasy the absence of gratitude for sacrificial efforts will be scarce. In Psalm 73, Asaph lamented the disparity between the ungodly who appear to enjoy life while the faithful ones often suffer.
Sometimes we are drained by so many trials and suffering in our attempting to serve God faithfully, that we don’t realize other Believers are experiencing worse or equally harsh struggles. Many Believers feel alone and are struggling to make some sense out of the great apostasy that is occurring all around them. Numerous ones are also fight great battles with their health, lack of income, children that have rejected God, and are in despair. If we don’t recognize that probability, we may develop “Juniperitis” and believe that we are the only ones truly serving God. That is not true. We are not individually THAT unique. Although they are few, God has a remnant of people “whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” Continue reading